Updated - Connect with nature @regionalparks Instragram Live
The Regional District of Central Okanagan parks interpretive programs are adapting so that you and your family can connect with nature online.
During April, RDCO Parks Visitor Services staff is taking to Instagram Live to share their knowledge of our parks and natural surroundings.
Tuesday through Friday mornings, join them (using a mobile device) at 10:30 on the @regionalparks Instagram channel as they hold a variety of programs for all ages. On Saturdays the Instagram Live programming hits the channel for those with mobile devices at 1:00 pm.
While we’re unable to hold our normal public in-person programs, this is a great way to use technology to keep in touch and help keep families involved in our fantastic RDCO regional park system.
Here’s the schedule of programs through April 11:
- Thursday, April 2 – Okanagan Owls – join us as we discover the world of owls in the Okanagan.
- Friday, April 3 – Spring Wildflower Walk – learn what to look for this spring while keeping yourself and others at a safe social distance (at least two metres) when visiting in Central Okanagan regional parks.
- Saturday, April 4 – A Dip in the Pond – we’ll share an amazing pond ecosystem with you, catch some invertebrates and tell your family about some incredible adaptations of wild water critters.
- Tuesday, April 7 – Story Time – the youngsters in your family will love our stories and neat facts about Ducks.
- Wednesday, April 8 – we’ll share some spring-time information about our Kokanee salmon
- Thursday, April 9 – learn about our various Birds of Prey in the Okanagan.
- Friday, April 10 – No program today (Due to Good Friday holiday, previously scheduled program moved to Friday, April 17th).
- Saturday, April 11 – Walking Natures Way – we’ll take you on a seasonal trail walk to sharpen your natural senses.
- Friday, April 17 - join our virtual walk and learn to identify the characteristics of Evergreens.
An updated Instagram Live program schedule is available at rdco.com/parksevents.
All Regional Parks remain open during the current health challenge for visitors using social distancing practices. There are 63 kilometers of formal trails in 30 regional parks. Visit rdco.com/pickapark for more information. If you are not ill and visit our regional parks, please practice healthy hygiene and physical distancing by keeping at least two metres between you and other visitors.
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RDCO Suspends Play Structure Access
In order to help ‘flatten the curve’ and reduce the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus, the RDCO is suspending access to all play structures in its regional and community parks.
Closure signs are being posted and as available and appropriate, fencing will be installed around play equipment.
The action is not taken lightly, especially since many parents are looking for opportunities to have their children outside and active.
The Province’s Chief Medical Health Officer issued clear directives that playgrounds are not suitable environments for social distancing and make it difficult to curb the spread of the virus. In addition, play structures and equipment are very hard to sanitize and keep clean.
The Regional District and health officials do encourage people to get outside, exercise and get some fresh air using social distancing practices: keeping two metres of space between themselves and others.
The RDCO continues to provide regular maintenance and operations for its 30 regional and 20 community parks. Information is available anytime online at rdco.com/pickapark.
For updates on the RDCO Response to COVID-19 visit rdco.com/covid-19.
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Greenway Vegetation Maintenance
Visitors along a section of the Mission Creek Greenway should be aware of annual vegetation maintenance and pruning work.
Today, tomorrow and next Monday through Wednesday, a contracted crew for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development will be pruning trees and doing other vegetation maintenance along the recreational trail from south of Lakeshore Road upstream to the Casorso Road area.
This work will allow visual inspection of the dike during spring freshet in Mission Creek.
The Regional District asks that while the work is underway Greenway users obey any barricades, signs and flag people.
All Regional Parks remain open during the current health challenge for visitors using social distancing practices. There are 63 kilometers of formal trails in 30 regional parks. Visit rdco.com/pickapark for more information.
There is also interpretive information available in online maps for a dozen regional parks. You can access these at rdco.com/parktours
For information on the dike vegetation maintenance, please contact the Ministry at 250-490-2288.
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RDCO Makes changes to reduce spread of cOVID-19
Based on the latest recommendations of public health officials, effective 5:00 pm March 17 and until further notice the following RDCO facilities will be closed to the public:
- The Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan
- The Westside Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant
- Joe Rich Community Hall
- Ellison Heritage School Community Hall
All Regional Parks programs and events, as well as bookings in parks facilities are cancelled until further notice. This includes programs like the Spring Break Nature Detectives Camps, Tracks Walking Clubs, Take a Hike and Wild Walks. Programs and events with fees will have the full amount refunded.
Currently, all Regional and RDCO Community Parks remain open for visitors to enjoy our natural surroundings. For the safety of everyone using our outdoor park areas, please practice social distancing to help reduce any potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The Regional District continues to follow the direction of public health experts for the safety of its staff and residents to reduce the impact on our community and our health system. For updates on the RDCO Response to COVID-19 visit rdco.com/covid-19.
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CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER nOTICE - April 'Take A Hike' Outings
Our Regional Parks are home to a wide range of animals and plants. Learn more about these natural neighbours during our Take a Hike events.
Each month, we focus on a new natural theme during these free, guided, two to three hour outings in different regional parks.
- Spring Flowers: Thursday, April 9 at 10:00 am and Saturday, April 25 at 1:00 pm discover the colourful world of wildflowers blooming in Goats Peak Regional Park. Meet at the Seclusion Bay Road parking area off Highway 97 south.
To save a spot or for more information, please email email@example.com or phone 250-469-6140.
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cANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE - Register for Spring 'tracks'
Registration is now underway, for our free spring ‘Tracks Walking Clubs’. This beginner graduated walking program offers a choice of location on either side of Okanagan Lake:
People at a beginner fitness level are encouraged to take part and with each outing, gradually increase their health, stamina and walking duration. There’s no cost to sign up and members receive support and motivation to keep them moving in nature!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 250-469-6140.
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Your Regional Parks Await
The invitation’s always open: dress for the weather, get outside and experience your Central Okanagan regional parks.
Regional Parks staff has a great line up of activities, events and programs for every member of the family to enjoy. See what’s planned in the new Winter-Spring edition of Your Guide to Regional Parks.
A new digital version is already available for downloading and printing online. If you’d rather a printed copy, pick one up at the EECO in Mission Creek Regional Park and at the Regional District office (1450 KLO Road) in Kelowna. Copies are also on hand at other local government offices and visitor information centres.
Join in our free Take a Hike sessions as we explore a new nature theme each month in a different regional park. Or save a space for your family in our guided Wild Walks program and with the help of an interpreter see our regional parks through a new set of eyes!
Everything you need to know including our handy calendar of events and Pick a Park map can be found in the guide. While most of our programs are offered at no cost, people are encouraged to pre-register at 250-469-6140 or email email@example.com.
And it’s not too early for parents to start thinking about spring break for children age five to seven. Registration is underway for this year’s five day, morning Nature Detectives Camps. Indoor and outdoor activities will run from 9:00 am to 12 noon, March 16 to 20 and March 23 through 27.
During the winter months, please make sure you’re properly prepared for the conditions with appropriate clothing (layers), sturdy shoes, poles and traction or anti-slip devices. So don a toque, gloves and boots and celebrate the winter season in our regional parks!
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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cANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE - Wild Walks for April
Join a Wild Walk and see your favourite Regional Park through new eyes. During these free outings our Park Interpreter will share some secrets and point out special features of various Regional Parks.
Each Wild Walks lasts approximately two hours, is suitable for all ages and ranges from easy to moderate. Participants should dress for the conditions, wear appropriate sturdy footwear and consider poles and traction devices.
- Wednesday, April 15 at 1:00 pm and Saturday, April 18 at 10:00 am set out from the south Perimeter Way entrance in the Kettle Valley subdivision of Kelowna to explore the fantastic views and wildlife corridor of Lebanon Creek Greenway Regional Park
To save a spot, please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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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CANCELLED - FUNDS WILL BE REFUNDED - Spring Break Camps
Registration begins February 3 for this year’s Nature Detectives Spring Break Camps at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park (Springfield and Durnin Roads).
Indoor and outdoor activities for children age five to seven will run from 9:00 am to 12 noon, March 16 to 20 and again March 23 through 27.
Each morning our camp friends will explore nature through play, crafts, games and stories and will discover park trails and ponds that will bring out their inner naturalist.
The cost is $125 per youngster for each five morning camp session.
Learn more about the spring break camps at rdco.com/parksevents or register by contacting the EECO at 250-469-6140, email email@example.com or drop in at 2363A Springfield Road in Mission Creek Regional Park.
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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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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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