Parks News

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December '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 two hours, is suitable for all ages and range from easy to moderate.  Participants should dress for the conditions, wear appropriate sturdy footwear and consider poles and traction devices.

  • Saturday, December 7th at 10:00 am and Wednesday, December 11th at 1:00 pm learn about some of the forested features in Mission Creek Regional Park.  Meet at the parking area along Hall Road.  Poles and traction devices may be helpful.

To save a spot on these free ‘Wild Walks’ outings, please email eeco@rdco.com or phone 250-469-6140.

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 rdco.com/parksevents or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.

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Stair Replacement Closes section of mission creek Greenway

Starting tomorrow, (Tuesday, October 8th) a short section of the Mission Creek Greenway will be closed each weekday until approximately late November.

Crews will be replacing five sets of aging crib stairs along a steep, half-kilometre section of the recreational trail upstream from the Smoothing Stones Bridge to make it safer for use.  This requires the section to be closed each Monday morning through Friday afternoon, including evenings.

While the stairs are being replaced, this section of the Greenway will be open for visitors from late Friday afternoon through each weekend including the Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day holidays.

Other areas of the 16.5 kilometre Greenway trail are not affected and remain open for use.  And residents are encouraged to explore any of the 30 regional parks that protect over 2,100 hectares of land across the Central Okanagan.

For information visit: rdco.com/pickapark.

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Story time at the eECO

Bring your 3-5 year olds to the EECO for nature based stories, songs, and crafts!

The ‘Story Time at the EECO’ runs every Tuesday at 10:30 am from October 1st until December 17th at the EECO in Mission Creek Regional Park (Springfield and Durnin Roads).  While the EECO is closed for renovations, the program will be held in the lower area of the facility.

This program is free and no registration is required. It’s a great way for parents and care givers to have a fun interaction with their youngsters and for the little ones to cultivate an early enthusiasm for our natural world!

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

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Nature Power hour at the EECO

Bring your 3-5 year olds to the EECO for nature based stories, songs, and crafts!

The ‘Story Time at the EECO’ runs every Tuesday at 10:30 am from October 1st until December 17th at the EECO in Mission Creek Regional Park (Springfield and Durnin Roads).  The program will continue to be held during renovations at the EECO.

This program is free and no registration is required. It’s a great way for parents and care givers to have a fun interaction with their youngsters and for the little ones to cultivate an early enthusiasm for our natural world!

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

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EECO Closing for Renovations

Wednesday, September 25th is your last chance to see the ‘Fins and Fur’ exhibit inside the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park.

On September 26th, the EECO will be closed until early in 2020 for a major renovation.

During that time, the main floor of the building will not be accessible.  Parks Visitor Services staff will be available by phone or email.  In addition, while construction is underway, no public group bookings will be accepted for the EECO. 

Our Parks Services staff will continue to offer programs previously scheduled at the EECO including ‘Nature Power Hour’ outside the EECO’ on Saturday mornings and Tuesday morning ‘Story Time at the EECO’ in the downstairs meeting area of the facility.

It’s anticipated the EECO will reopen early in the New Year.  When it does, there will be a new smaller space for exhibits showcasing our Regional Parks and programs.  As well, our Visitor Services and interpretive programming staff will be located in offices at the facility and able to provide more centralized services.

The Regional Board has identified in its Strategic Priorities, an environmental goal of providing residents with more opportunities to connect with nature.  Over the past year, our interpretive programs have encouraged residents to get outdoors and spend time in a wider variety of our parks.  We hope with the renovated Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan to provide even more inspiration for outdoor exploration in our amazing regional park system.  We’ll continue offering fun and engaging activities, programs and learning opportunities for all residents and visitors to the Central Okanagan.

Learn more about the Regional District’s 30 regional and 20 community parks protecting over 2,100 hectares for the enjoyment of all Central Okanagan residents by visiting rdco.com/pickapark.

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Goats Peak Regional Park Open

The gates are now open for visitors to enjoy the beauty of nature and outstanding views in another Central Okanagan regional park. 

The 52-hectare Goats Peak Regional Park is located along Seclusion Bay Road, off Highway 97 in West Kelowna.

This morning Regional Board Chair Gail Given was joined by Westbank First Nation Chief Roxanne Lindley and West Kelowna Mayor and RDCO Board Vice Chair Gord Milsom in officially opening the park.

Given says “Opening Goats Peak fulfills one of the important environmental areas identified by the Regional Board in our Strategic Priorities for this term.  The main park access and Summit trails allow residents to learn about and connect with nature while increasing the number of hectares of regional parks now available for use.  It’s an exciting opportunity to expand our interpretation program and raise even more awareness about the importance of the animals and plants that live on these lands to the Okanagan People.”

“Goat’s Peak is a significant area to the syilx Okanagan people. It’s a place of deep spirituality, ceremony and celebration; rich with animals, plants and medicines to support our people,” says Chief Roxanne Lindley. “WFN worked closely with RDCO to ensure the focus was as much on protection as it was on becoming a public space. Opening it up means we all take responsibility to ensure its health remains in-tact for future generations.”

The Regional District purchased the Goats Peak property in September 2014 for $5-million from the Regional Park and Legacy and Park Land Reserve funds.  In the time since a Management Plan was developed for the park and in the past year, the first two trails and interpretive amenities and signage were designed and constructed.

Goats Peak Regional Park fills a significant gap in the Okanagan Trail 2000 vision for a continuous recreational trail between the Bennett Bridge and Peachland and protects a sizable portion of ecologically significant lands close to existing and potential residential areas. The 1.3-kilometre Big Sagebrush (qʷl̓qʷlmniɬp) trail is the main access to the park and links to a viewpoint while the 1.2-kilometre Mountain Goat (sx̌ʷƛ̓iʔ) trail climbs over 200 metres to a summit vista.

Learn more about the Regional District’s 30 regional and 20 community parks protecting over 2,100 hectares for the enjoyment of all Central Okanagan residents by visiting rdco.com/pickapark.

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Keep the 'Wild' in Wildlife

It’s not unusual for visitors to many of our Central Okanagan Regional Parks to come across animals in their natural home. 

With ripening fruit in valley orchards and Kokanee salmon soon swimming up creeks to spawn, you can expect more bears frequenting regional parks, especially those connected to the higher elevations.

Evidence that bears are around is already occurring at Hardy Falls, Scenic Canyon and Glen Canyon regional parks.   Each year, evidence of their presence is also often found in other more natural regional parks like Mission Creek, Mission Creek Greenway, Bertram Creek, Johns Family Nature Conservancy, Kalamoir and Rose Valley.

“This time of year, our field staff and visitors start seeing more signs that bears are around.  As sightings increase, we post signs advising that the animals may be active in the area” says Communications Officer Bruce Smith.

“To reduce your chance of an encounter” he says, “if possible, travel in a group, make noise or carry something that makes noise so that you make your presence known.  During the fall Kokanee salmon spawning season in local creeks and rivers visitors may encounter bears bulking up on this food source.  Bears fishing for food may not hear you over the noise of the creek water.   If you see a bear, give it plenty of space and stay well away from it.”

People should respect all bears and anticipate and avoid encounters with them whenever possible.  Bears can be aggressive, especially when defending their food or their cubs.  They also have excellent senses of smell and hearing and better sight than you might believe.  Dog owners are reminded unless otherwise designated their pets must be leashed and kept on trails at all times.  It’s not only the law, but will help avoid any potentially serious wildlife encounter.

Residents also have a role to play in preventing animal confrontations on their property by keeping any garbage securely stored and wheeling their garbage cart out only on the morning of their regular curbside collection.  That helps to reduce the potential temptation for bears or other wildlife.

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Trail Sections Closed in Mission creek regional park

Short sections of three trails in Mission Creek Regional Park are closed after a slope slide.

For safety of visitors, Regional Parks staff has closed the area of the park at the Cottonwoods Bridge and three trails on the south side of the creek near the spawning channel up into the Sutherland Hills portion of the park. 

Brad Ackerman, Parks Services Operations Manager says “Until slope stability can be assessed, the Regional District urges park users to respect the barricades and trail closed signs.” 

The affected portion of the trails will remain closed until further notice.

No debris has made its way into either the spawning channel or Mission Creek.

Visitors are encouraged to use any of the open trails within the 92-hectare regional park or visit www.regionaldistrict.com/pickapark for information about our 29 other regional parks.

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More Hours, More Access for Regional parks

Residents will be able to enjoy their regional parks in the Central Okanagan more this year.

That’s one of the benefits of the new Regional Parks Regulation Bylaw which provides additional hours of access and operation for regional parks.  Visitors will enjoy another hour of access each evening during the spring and fall months and two additional hours on summer nights.  Other updates see vaping added to the ban on all smoking within regional parks and a new opportunity to permit First Nations ceremonial, cultural and social purposes.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says “Regional Parks have become a popular destination for residents and visitors during the summer months. In order to ensure that park visitors continue to experience high quality services and park experiences, some new reservation regulations are in place designed to provide equal opportunities for everyone to enjoy the natural beauty and amenities in our Regional Parks.”

There are now three categories of reservations available:

  • Special Events a new application form ensures that parking and washroom facilities are provided for participants at events for up to 500 people.
  • Weddings permitted at Bertram Creek and Kopje Regional Parks during April, May, September and October for up to 75 guests over a 4-hour period.  With limited parking, wedding bookings are no longer available at Gellatly Nut Farm and Kaloya regional parks.
  • Picnic Shelter reservations are available at many of our Regional Parks for up to 25 guests over a two-hour period.

Along with these changes to Regional Parks reservations is a new table of fees including a new booking fee for school programs.  

Anyone considering a park/facility booking should contact Visitor Services at 250-469-6140 for specific details or visit www.regionaldistrict.com/parkbooking.

The Regional District has 30 Regional Parks and 20 community parks protecting over 2,100 hectares of land across the Central Okanagan.

For more information please visit our website at www.regionaldistrict.com/parks or email parks@cord.bc.ca or call Regional Parks Services at 250-469-6232.

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Regional parks Goes Quietly Green

There’s a new vehicle travelling around Central Okanagan regional parks.  What makes this news is that it is the first electric vehicle in the parks fleet.  Nicknamed ‘Casper’ for its ghost-like quietness don’t be surprised if it suddenly appears while you’re out enjoying nature in our regional parks.  The quietness and no exhaust features of the electric vehicle supports one of the goals of our Regional Parks Mission Statement to protect the environment.  The vehicle’s size was an important reason for purchasing it.  Its 53 inch narrow width means the truck is able to cross all our bridge structures along the Mission Creek Greenway and as well as in many of our other regional parks.

 

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Discovery Backpacks

Grab a backpack filled with equipment to discover the secrets of Mission Creek Regional Park.

For a suggested $2 donation, sign out a Discovery Backpack at the EECO. Choose your adventure from the themes Pond Exploration, Forest Walk, Mini Beasts and Kokanee and explore the park!

Check it out at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.  The EECO is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

For more information on this and other EECO programs, check out ‘Your Guide to Regional Parks’, visit the Regional District website (regionaldistrict.com/parksevents) or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.

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Washouts Close Section of the Mission creek Greenway

At least two washout slides have forced the closure of a section of the Mission Creek Greenway.  

The Pinnacle Trail loop past the KLO Creek Bridge, the Black Bear Trail along Mission Creek and the upper Greenway Trail leading to the Hydraulic Creek trail-end are closed until further notice while staff assesses damage, stability and possible repairs that will be required.  View Map

For safety reasons, the Regional District of Central Okanagan urges Greenway users to respect the barricades and trail closed signs posted at the KLO Creek Bridge (downstream from Field Road entrance).

Regional Parks staff is continuing to monitor creek levels along the entire length of the Mission Creek Greenway recreational corridor. With creeks expected to continue rising due to the recent weather and with spring runoff, people are reminded that water levels may rise unexpectedly and they, children and pets should stay safely back from creek banks, which may be slippery or subject to erosion from the spring runoff.

Boaters and those using Okanagan Lake boat launches are advised to watch for floating debris that may enter the lake as a result of the runoff.

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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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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@rdco.com
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Closed Holidays)