Parks News

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Updated Regional Park Closures

As Central Okanagan lakes continue rising, Regional District parks crews are busy stacking sandbags to proactively protect many waterfront parks.

Among those Regional Parks now armed with sandbags:  Kalamoir (Lakefront trail); Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour; Bertram Creek (pumphouse, east beach); Kaloya (pumphouse) and the Gellatly Nut Farm (buildings, waterfront).

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “Staff identified areas and amenities within these and other regional parks that need to be protected from potential flood damage.  They’ll continue installing protective works in high risk areas.  While these parks remain open, we ask that visitors not touch any sandbags and other flood protection.”

The small boat launch located at Fintry Community Park Access #1 at the end of Fintry Delta Road and the main launch at Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour Regional Park on Okanagan Centre Road West are still open but may be subject to closure on short notice for safety reasons due to changing lake levels and weather conditions.

Smith adds, “The threat of flooding continues and there could be unexpected increases in water levels along area creeks and streams.  Visitors and leashed pets should stay back from creek banks, which can be slippery and subject to erosion.”

The following Regional Parks remain closed:

While these parks are closed, the Regional District encourages residents to visit many other regional parks that are not affected by flooding and rising waters.   You can view them at www.regionaldistrict.com/pickapark

Regional Parks staff is monitoring creek levels in all these areas and when safe will be assessing the condition of bridges, trails and other amenities in these parks.  Parks may be closed on short notice should conditions change.

(updated May 18, 2017)

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'Go Fish' underway

Here’s your chance to introduce the young members of your family to the sport of fishing!  The ‘Go Fish’ program runs each weekend through Father's Day, June 18th from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm at the Hall Road pond in Mission Creek Regional Park in Kelowna and the special netting fishing area in Shannon Lake Regional Park in West Kelowna. 

Each Saturday staff from the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC and volunteer organizations will be on site while RDCO Parks Services staff and volunteers will be on hand each Sunday.

The program offers youth age 15 and under, a chance to catch one rainbow trout each day without a fishing license.  A limited number of rods, reels and bait will be available each weekend for youngsters to use and try their luck!

‘Go Fish’ is possible thanks to the generous support of the Peachland Sportsmen’s AssociationKelowna and District Fish and Game Club along with the Ministry of EnvironmentFreshwater Fisheries Society of BC and the Summerland Trout Hatchery.

For more information about this or other Regional Park programs please visit the Regional Districtwebsite regionaldistrict.com/parks or contact 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 and range from easy to moderate.  Participants should dress for the conditions and wear appropriate sturdy footwear.   There’s no cost to take part but please pre-register for ‘Wild Walks’ on the following dates and locations:

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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EECO After School

Students of all ages are welcome to join in at ‘EECO After School’.

This is a perfect activity for students to have fun after classes are done for the day.  Join us Thursday, May 25th, Tuesday, June 13th and Thursday, June 22nd for free, hands-on learning activities that explore the ‘wild’ in our parks.

The one hour program begins at 3:00 pm in the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan located in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.  Parents of school aged children can enjoy a child-free hour in the park by dropping of their child for the program. Registration is required for drop off.  Please pre-register by dropping into the EECO, email eeco@cord.bc.ca or phone 250-469-6139.

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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EECO Hosts Alien Travelers Exhibit

The Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan welcomes the Royal BC Museum’s travelling exhibition ‘Aliens Among Us’.

The EECO located in Mission Creek Regional Park (Springfield and Durnin Roads) features this exhibition highlighting BC’s invasive species until July 22nd.

“There are more than 4,000 alien species in the province and that number grows each year” says Dr. Gavin Hanke, Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at the Royal BC Museum.  “Some of these aliens are invasive – they spread quickly, threaten native wildlife and are hard to control.”

American Bullfrogs, Burdock, Smallmouth Bass and Purple Loosestrife are just a few of the species featured in ‘Aliens Among Us’.  The exhibition tells the stories of how the invasive species arrived in the province, what individuals can do to protect their communities and how these aliens fit in – or don't fit in – with their environments.

This exhibit fits right in with the ‘Alien Invaders - Nasty or Nice?’ theme underway at the EECO since last fall.  The Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. 

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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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. 

Each Thursday 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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'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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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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'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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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)