Parks News

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Fire Hazard Debris Controlled Burning

The Regional District of Central Okanagan advises that with good air quality and venting conditions today (Wednesday, March 29th) a controlled burn is underway in a portion of Black Mountain / sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park (sinch-KEEL-en-tin).  Open burning is allowed today for those eligible Central Okanagan property owners with permits from their local fire authority.

Fire hazard debris collected as part of a five-hectare fuel modification project in the park is being burned when weather conditions are favourable.  The park located on the east slopes just outside Kelowna is closed to the public.  The fuel management work is part of the ongoing effort to prepare it for future access.

Today’s burning has been authorized with appropriate permits for fire fuel hazard reduction.  All local fire departments and local media have been advised of today’s activity in the park and will be notified when further burning takes place.

For more information visit the Regional District Parks Services webpage regionaldistrict.com/parks, email parks@cord.bc.ca or call 250-469-6232.

 

Roll and Stroll

Join our free weekly walking club for moms and caregivers with babies and little ones.

‘Roll and Stroll’ is a great opportunity to meet other parents and spend time casually exploring Mission Creek Regional Park (Springfield and Durnin Roads) during the winter months. 

Starting Thursday, April 6th and continuing weekly until May 25th, participants meet at 9:30 am the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan (EECO). Enjoy a leisurely 45 minute walk through the park, before returning to the EECO for refreshments.   Participants are encouraged to use strollers and baby carriers that are suitable for rough terrain.

The program is free, but registration is required by calling the EECO at 250-469-6139 or email eeco@cord.bc.ca. 

For more information about this or other Regional Park programs please visit the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/parksevents or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.

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Spring's Sprung - Time to get 'active okanagan'

With the arrival of the spring season, everyone in the Central Okanagan is encouraged to get outside and explore our fantastic Regional Park system.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “We’ve got trails suitable for people of any age, fitness and mobility.   And in support of our region’s aging demographic, we’ve created a new booklet:  ‘Active Okanagan – Be outside; be involved; be engaged’.”

The 40-page, full colour publication fits easily into a backpack and highlights outdoor parks and trails for people of any age.

Smith says, “The user-friendly ‘Active Okanagan’ booklet showcases 15 regional parks in every area of the Central Okanagan.  Each offers easily accessible amenities, activities and opportunities for seniors and people with reduced mobility to get out and enjoy the outdoors.  It also has information about our Visitor Services program and the non-profit Community Recreational Initiatives Society or CRIS, whose volunteers provide inclusive, accessible recreational opportunities for many of our Regional Park programs.”

He adds, “This newly created age-friendly program compliments efforts undertaken in many Regional Parks over the past few years to improve accessibility and trail conditions; the addition of wayfinding trail signage and clearly marked trail elevation and difficulty ratings.”

The ‘Active Okanagan’ guide is available online at www.regionaldistrict.com/parks or you can pick up a copy at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan (EECO) in Mission Creek Regional Park (Springfield and Durnin Roads), the RDCO office (1450 KLO Road) and visitor information centres.

The publication was made possible by a $20,000 grant from the Union of BC Municipalities for an Age-friendly Community Planning and Projects program through the Seniors Housing and Supportive Initiative.  This assists local governments to prepare for an aging population and create age-friendly communities.

For more information about Regional Parks programs including our new park tour maps, visit regionaldistrict.com/parks or call the EECO at 250-469-6140.

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'Families in parks'

Get the whole family active and celebrating the outdoors! 

Join Regional Parks staff as they provide some free activities at our ‘Families in Parks’ events.  Activities take place between 10:00 am and 11:30 am and require pre-registration.

  • Sunday, April 23rd we learn about the world of ‘Reptiles and Amphibians’ at Mission Creek Regional Park.  We’ll set off from the area around the Hall Road fishing pond.   

To register your family for these free events, or other ‘Families in Parks’ events, please drop in to the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park  at Springfield and Durnin Roads or email eeco@cord.bc.ca or phone 250-469-6139.

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'Story Time at the eECO'

Children aged three to five and their caregivers love ‘Story Time at the EECO’.  

The free weekly one-hour drop-in program features nature-themed stories and songs followed by an art or craft project. The program is an excellent way for younger children to interact with others while learning more about the natural world. 

‘Story Time’  is not being held during Spring Break but resumes each Tuesday morning at 10:00  from April 4th to June27th.

The EECO or Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan is located in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads. For more information please visit www.regionaldistrict.com/parks, drop-in or call the EECO at 250-469-6140.

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'Wild Walks'

Join in on ‘Wild Walks’ and learn some secrets and natural features of various Regional Parks.  

Our Park interpreter will turn an ordinary walk in the park into something extraordinary! 

Each ‘Wild Walks’ lasts approximately 90 minutes, is suitable for all ages including families with young children and range from easy to moderate.  Participants should dress for the conditions, and bring along some anti-slip/traction devices.   There’s no cost to take part but please pre-register for ‘Wild Walks’ on the following dates and locations:

  • Saturday, April 8th at 10:00 am and Thursday, April 13th at 1:00 pm we’ll explore the Mission Creek Greenway by bicycle, discovering some of the unique features of this creekside trail as we set out from the EECO at Springfield and Durnin Roads. If you do not have a bike please contact the EECO to arrange for one. 

To save a spot for your family on these free ‘Wild Walks’ outings, please drop in to the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan, email eeco@cord.bc.ca or phone 250-469-6139.

These free events are held in conjunction with the Community Recreational Initiatives Society (CRIS) to provide barrier free access to our regional parks.  To request the services of CRIS volunteers visit www.adaptiveadventures.ca

For more information about this or other Regional Park programs please visit the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/parks or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.

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Registration Underway for spring 'tracks walking clubs'

Register for the free spring ‘Tracks Walking Club’.  Our 12-week beginner graduated walking program offers your choice of location on either side of Okanagan Lake: 

  • April 4th through June 22nd, each Tuesday and Thursday morning at 9:00, join us as we travel around the Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Park off Whitworth Road in West Kelowna.

There’s no cost to sign up and members receive a walking journal, walking tips, seminars and motivational tips that keep you moving.  People at a beginner fitness level are encouraged to take part gradually increasing their health, stamina and walking duration to 60 minutes. 

‘Tracks’ is in partnership with the Canadian Diabetes Association Walk and Talk program.

To register, please drop in to the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park  at Springfield and Durnin Roads or email eeco@cord.bc.ca or phone 250-469-6139.

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New Regional Park Management Plan

The Regional Board has adopted a Management Plan for Woodhaven Nature Conservancy Regional Park

The 20 year plan will help guide development of the 29.8-hectare Regional Park properties has four unique ecological areas, several species at risk including the Western Screech Owl and the Eco Culture Centre in partnership with the UBC Okanagan Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies.  The plan was developed over the past year with extensive input from stakeholders and residents.  It’s designed to respect and protect the cultural, conservation and heritage values of the original 8.7-hectare park with outdoor education opportunities and future recreational connections to the Bellevue Creek Greenway and Canyon Falls Park.  

The management plan is consistent with the proposed 2017 – 2021 Financial Plan and any financial projects will be subject to Regional Board approval.

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Regional Parks fuel Modification Projects

Over the next several months, residents may notice two fuel modification projects underway in a couple of Regional Parks.

Contracted crews have started removing dead and hazardous trees, ladder fuels and are brushing vegetation and spacing trees on a five hectare portion of Black Mountain / sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park (sinch-KEEL-en-tin) (map).   This work is taking place in cooperation with the Westbank First Nation which is partnering with the Regional District in managing the 510-hectare regional park on the eastern slopes of Kelowna and the peak of Black Mountain.  The park is closed to the public and the fuel management project is part of the ongoing effort to prepare it for future access.

Collected debris for this project will be burned in accordance with Air Quality and Open Burning regulations when either open burning is allowed in the region or venting and air quality are favourable with a custom site venting forecast from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Once a decision is made to proceed with burning on a particular day, local fire authorities, media and neighbourhood organizations will be advised.  The information will also be available on the Regional District website and Facebook page.

As well, residents are also reminded that during the winter months, when open burning is allowed, the BC Wildfire Service may burn collected debris piles in a portion of Rose Valley Regional Park above Bear Creek Road off Bowes and Pettman Roads (map).  Its crews removed hazard trees and brushing last year as part of a larger, ten-hectare multi-year fuel modification project.  Please be aware that trails in this area may be temporarily closed while crews are working.

For more information visit the Regional District Parks Services webpage regionaldistrict.com/parks, email parks@cord.bc.ca or call 250-469-6232.

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Winter Ice Safety

A few Regional Parks have nearby lakes and ponds which may freeze during the winter months.  

While bodies of water in Regional Parks are not managed by Regional Parks Services, park patrons are encouraged to educate themselves on proper water and winter ice safety while in Regional Parks. 

Visitors to those parks may wish to consider visiting the BC and Yukon Lifesaving Society or Canadian Red Cross websites for safety information.

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Check Out the new regional parks guide

Find out what’s happening in our Regional Parks with the new Winter-Spring edition of ‘Your Guide to Regional Parks 2017’.

It’s available online at regionaldistrict.com/parksguide, or you can pick up a printed copy at the EECO in Mission Creek Regional Park; at the Regional District office (1450 KLO Road) in Kelowna or over the next few weeks at other local government offices and visitor information centres.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says “We’ve given the Parks Guide a new look but inside the 12-page colour foldout you’ll still find everything you need to know about all the activities, events and programs in our Regional Parks during the first five months of the year.  We’ve revamped our At a Glance program calendar and we have a map showing Regional Park locations along with short descriptions of their amenities.”

He says, “Our free ‘Wild Walks’ program offers a monthly Saturday morning and Thursday afternoon opportunity to join a park interpreter and learn about special features of the park that’s being visited.  These outings are available for everyone thanks to the volunteers from the Community Recreational Initiatives Society, who provide barrier-free access to our parks.  To discover more about or request CRIS services, check out adaptiveadventures.ca.”

Smith adds, “While most of our programs are offered for free, we do encourage people to pre-register by contacting the staff at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan or EECO at 250-469-6139 or email eeco@cord.bc.ca.  During the winter months, please make sure you’re properly prepared for the conditions with appropriate clothing, sturdy shoes and traction or anti-slip devices.   Some participants find poles help with their balance and stability and provide an additional workout.”

Smith says, “The winter-spring guide also has details about the ‘Families in Parks’‘Roll and Stroll’ and ‘EECO After School’ programs as well as the spring ‘Tracks Walking Club’ program in Mission Creek and Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Parks. Parents will be interested in our ‘Nature Detectives Spring-Break Camps’ in March for youngsters age five to 10.  Pre-registration is required for each of these popular programs.”

For more information about any Regional Parks program and our detailed online section for Regional Parks including our new park tour maps, visit regionaldistrict.com/parks or call the EECO at 250-469-6140.

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'Eco-art at the eECO'

Let your creative juices flow during ‘Eco-Art at the EECO’.  

Each Saturday morning at 11, every member of your family may create a work of art using recycled and natural materials.

There’s no need to pre-register for this free program.  Just drop into the EECO a few minutes early.   All ages are welcome to take part!

The Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan is located in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.

For more information please visit www.regionaldistrict.com/parksevents, drop-in or call the EECO at 250-469-6140.

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'Alien Invaders - Nasty or Nice?'

Many plant and animal species have moved to the Okanagan. A few of these species have had negative impacts of the native species that are a part of the sensitive Okanagan ecosystem. Learn about the difference between non-native and invasive species, and a few things that you can do to help reduce the spread of invasive species.

‘Alien Invaders – Nasty or Nice?’ will be on display until spring 2017. The Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan or EECO is open from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm Tuesday through Sunday and is in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.

For more information visit the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/parks or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140, email eeco@cord.bc.ca or drop into the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.

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There's a Trail for Everyone!

The Regional District is making it easier for people to get out and enjoy trails through our Regional Parks.

Seven of the parks now have designated trails marked with names and rating signs so that visitors can see a degree of difficulty on a particular trail.  There are also trail profiles provided giving a visual snapshot of elevation changes and other features over the length of these designated trails.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “In our Guide to Regional Parks, we’ve always provided a simple rating system for many of our outings in the ‘Take a Hike’ and ‘Explore Your Parks’ programs.   But with a grant from the BC Community Recreation Program dedicated to improving trail signage and the visitor experience in our parks, we’ve been gradually rolling out a uniform trail naming/rating system along with trail profile information.  So a visitor can determine before starting their hike, whether the trail experience will match or perhaps challenge their ability.”

Green circles suggest a very easy/easy outing.  Blue squares provide a more moderate experience, while black diamonds indicate a more difficult or very difficult trail over steep, variable terrain with more obstacles and little maintenance.

Smith adds “Designated trails in Glen Canyon, Kalamoir, Rose Valley, Trepanier Creek Greenway, Johns Family Nature Conservancy, the Mission Creek Greenway and Mission Creek Regional Park all have trail name and rating signage in place.  The ratings are based mainly on slope and distance and provide visitors with a consistency across our park system.  The experience on one trail in one park should be the same with a similarly rated trail in another.”

Trail ratings and profile information is available at information kiosks in these parks as well as for individual park webpages online www.regionaldistrict.com/pickapark.  Smith says, “We’ve created some information pages to help explain our trail rating and profile system.  In addition, all our online park trail maps are GPS-enabled.  That means you can use your smartphone or tablet’s internal global positioning system to enhance your experience and navigate our parks and trails.”

Smith says “We’re also very excited about a unique relationship involving our Regional Parks staff and local First Nations.  Park visitors will notice recognition of the syilx/Okanagan culture with the new trail name signs.  We’ve been collaborating for some time now with cultural services staff at Westbank First Nation and Sncəwips Heritage Museum to develop and translate trail names in both English and the Okanagan nsyilxcǝn language.  We’re also starting to install interpretive panels in these areas to further explain the cultural and historical significance of the name in order to raise awareness and provide some context for this important aspect of life in the Central Okanagan.” 

For many years, the Regional District has promoted barrier-free access to its regional parks encouraging opportunities for everyone to get out and explore regional parks.  With the excellent volunteers of CRIS - the Community Recreational Initiatives Society – the Regional Parks system is open to people of all abilities. Contact CRIS www.adaptiveadventures.ca to join in on any Parks Services program.

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Regional Parks Video

Our parks are great to visit at anytime of year.  Check out this new video that shows why!

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Regional District of Central Okanagan | 1450 KLO Road | Kelowna, BC V1W 3Z4
Ph: 250-763-4918 | Fax: 250-763-0606 | Email: info@cord.bc.ca
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Closed Holidays)