New Accessible Trail Expands Access in Mission creek regional park
Construction of a new accessible trail is anticipated to begin next week (June 10th) in Mission Creek Regional Park.
The trail is possible thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund which helps thousands of Canadians to eliminate barriers and gain better access to facilities in their communities.
The new 600-meter paved trail will improve access to the park for visitors with mobility or age-related challenges from the Kelowna Regional Transit stops and parking areas within the park. The $130,000 project will see new thermoplastic cross walks installed from the Durnin Road transit stop allowing visually impaired visitors improved access to the park. As well, new crib stairs will improve access to the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan. Three new accessible picnic tables will be installed at locations along the smooth asphalt trail.
The Regional District is contributing $80,000 towards the improvements to the park and the trail project which should be complete by the end of July.
Construction of the trail and other amenities will take place in stages resulting in closure of the area in which crews are working and leaving other areas of the park and parking lot open for use. For their safety and that of workers during construction, visitors are asked to stay out of any closed area.
Mission Creek Regional Park is one of 30 regional and 20 community parks protecting over 2,100 hectares for the enjoyment of all Central Okanagan residents. For more information visit regionaldistrict.com/parks.
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New Summer-fall parks guide
It’s that time of year again to get outside and enjoy all that our local parks have to offer. Before you go, make sure to check out the new ‘Your Guide to Regional Parks’. There’s something for everyone from children to seniors to ensure a season full of fun.
The guide is filled with programs and activities in your regional parks from now through the end of the year. It can be found online at and is also available for pick up at the Regional District office (1450 K.L.O Road), the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park (Springfield and Durnin Roads), local government offices, recreation centers and tourist and information offices in the Central Okanagan.
This year the youth summer camps have been revamped and Regional Parks is partnering with PacificSport Okanagan. They’re offering two weeks of full day camps at Mission Creek Regional Park in July. Registration is underway at the EECO
‘PLay Skills in the Park’ is for ages 6 through 9 will run July 2nd- 5th. This week long camp is designed to develop movement. ‘XploreSportz in the Park’ is designed for nine to 12 year olds and runs from July 8th- 12th. With a focus on developing movement and skills it’s sure to be an active and exciting week.
Information in the camps as well as registration and pricing can be found in the Summer-Fall parks guide, online at online to regionaldistrict.com/parksevents or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.
As well, the guide has information about our returning programs and events such as the weekly free drop in Summer Story Time in the Park, and our Geocaching at the EECO program taking place every Saturday during June, July and August. Check our Calendar Of Events page for any information on the programs being offered this summer and all year round in the regional parks.
For more information about any Regional Parks programming and our detailed section for Regional Parks, visit regionaldistrict.com/parks.
During 2018 Regional Parks Visitor Services staff reached approximately 60,000 people with interpretive programs, nature camps and special events.
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Popular Regional Park is Open Again
It’s been slightly more than two years since raging flood waters and debris forced the closure of Hardy Falls Regional Park.
The six hectare park along Deep Creek in the south end of Peachland is once again open and welcoming visitors.
The record 2017 flooding and creek water levels severely destroyed two of the eight bridges in the park. The accesses for many of the other creek crossings were damaged and much of the creek side trail was also washed out.
In the time since, RDCO Parks Services staff developed recovery and repair plans and successfully received over $48,000 from the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program to repair the destruction. The total restoration project cost $175,000 and saw the installation of two new bridges, removal of hazard trees and vegetation and rebuilding and resurfacing the trail to the viewing and information platform looking out to the falls.
Regional Board Chair Gail Given says “We appreciate the patience that everyone has shown in the time it’s taken to get Hardy Falls open again. And we certainly thank the Province for its cooperation and Disaster Assistance Program funding to help us restore the park for visitors.”
The park is extremely popular. In 2016 prior to being closed by flood damage, approximately 34,000 people walked the creekside trail. On average, that’s over 90 people a day who visited the regional park.
Hardy Falls is one of 30 regional and 20 community parks protecting over 2,100 hectares for the enjoyment of all Central Okanagan residents.
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Check out the 'Pollinators'
Our new exhibit is open for you to check out at the EECO. ‘Pollinators – Bats, Butterflies and Bees' explains how you can become a pollinator scientist, recognizing common pollinator species and how you can create a friendly habitat in your backyard. The exhibit runs until July.
The Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan is located in Mission Creek Regional Park and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
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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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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Tracks Walking Clubs Underway
Our free spring ‘Tracks Walking Clubs’ are underway. This 10-week beginner graduated walking program offers a choice of location on either side of Okanagan Lake:
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.
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 email@example.com or phone 250-469-6140.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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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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