Mount Kobau in the South Okanagan Grasslands. Photo by Graham Osborne.

Mount Kobau in the South Okanagan Grasslands. Photo by Graham Osborne.

Consultations to play a critical role in shaping proposed national park reserve

Parks Canada welcomes all respectful comments on proposed South Okanagan-Similkameen National Park

As the proposed South-Okanagan Similkameen national park begins its public consultation phase, project organizers say those opposed to the park can also still provide feedback.

“Parks Canada is committed to undertaking meaningful consultations with partners, stakeholders, local residents, users of the land as well as the broader Canadian public,” said Kevin McNamee, director of the Protected Areas Establishment branch for Parks Canada.

“These consultations will play a critical role in helping to shape the national park reserve concept. So, we encourage any and all respectful comments with respect to the proposal.”

Related: Public invited to comment on South Okanagan-Similkameen national park

According to the No National Park coalition’s website, there are individuals and organizations who oppose the proposed park but have not been vocal. The page specifically mentions that farmers and ranchers who don’t want the area designated as a national park are “simply working hard at working” and that these people “aren’t known for grand-standing.”

“People can participate by simply indicating they are in support or not in support of a national park reserve, but it is extremely helpful to us and to the process to indicate why yes or why no,” said McNamee. “If we understand more clearly those concerns … we’re in a better position to shape the proposal.”

For ranchers and farmers in the area that are concerned the national park may impact their operations, such as cattle grazing, McNamee said “Parks Canada has been committed to working with the ranching community to ensure that ranching and grazing would continue.”

He noted the organization was aware they had “strong concerns” about the use of Crown land within the proposed park.

Related: Discussions continue on proposed South Okanagan-Similkameen national park

“The exact nature of how we would move forward to work with the ranching community with respect to regulations and legislation is yet to be worked out,” said McNamee. “So we will be meeting with the ranching community separately to go over more details. So no decisions have been made yet with respect to how we would legislate and regulate those activities.”

McNamee distinguished that “there are private ranch lands that would not be part of the national park, they would not be expropriated” and the future sales of these lands if the ranchers choose would be “on a willing seller, willing buyer basis.”

“Private lands would not be part of the park. Where we need to have discussions is in regard to their use and tenure to the existing provincial protected areas and the Crown land,” said McNamee.

McNamee said Parks Canada has also heard from other residents concerned that the national park reserve would impact how they currently use the land.

“We are aware of some of the concerns, so we are looking at activities such as all-terrain vehicle use and have indicated that the activity would continue on the roads that transect the national park reserve in accordance with provincial transportation regulations,” said McNamee.

For now, public consultation is being gathered via Parks Canada’s online survey. Sarah Boyle, project manager for the Protected Areas Establishment branch in South Okanagan-Similkameen, said she is currently organizing in-person consultations with larger groups and community members who have shown interest for January.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a feature article published April 10, 2021 in The Times of London, ‘headlined British Columbia has what it takes to rival Napa Valley,’ the valley is praised extensively for its natural beauty and wine. (File photo)
From the U.K. with love: Okanagan wine, scenery receives international praise

The Times of London newspaper recently featured the valley in a wine and travel piece

FILE — In this March 31, 2021 file photo, a nurse fills a syringe with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine at the Vaxmobile, at the Uniondale Hempstead Senior Center, in Uniondale, N.Y. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
72 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases in the region to 9,666 since the pandemic began

Fire rips through shop in small South Okanagan town

The building was destroyed despite community efforts to fight the fire

The Save Sickle Point Committee, a grassroots community group, has teamed up Penticton’s Tempest Theatre and Film Society to release short film on Sickle Point. (Contributed)
WATCH: Conservationists release short film on saving ‘precious’ Sickle Point

Sickle Point, the last intact wetland near Skaha Lake, is facing the prospect of development

The municipality of Summerland will develop a code of ethics for municipal staff. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland to develop code of ethics for staff

One-page values document will serve to guide municipal staff

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Marylou Jensen. (Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP searching for missing senior

Marylou Jensen left her Grenfell Road home on foot at 5 p.m.

A dumpster was on fire behind a residential complex in downtown Penticton Tuesday afternoon. (Brennan Phillips Western News)
Dumpster fire extinguished in downtown Penticton

There has been a string of dumpster fires lately

Skogie’s Express Tunnel Wash on Anderson Way in Vernon. (Submitted photo)
Lawsuit dismissed after vehicle damaged while inside Okanagan car wash

Civil Resolution Tribunal dismisses driver’s claim following a collision inside Skogie’s car wash in Vernon

The future of the Eagle Pass Lookout cabin is being discussed. (File photo)
Options presented for future of former Eagle Pass fire lookout in Shuswap

Stakeholders met in 2020 to discuss the restoration, or possible removal of the cabin

(Mayor Cindy Fortin - Peachland)
Peachland mayor declines early vaccination offer

Mayor Cindy Fortin said she wants seniors, immunocompromised individuals to get the shot first

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Conservation officers caught three men over fishing bull trout in Kinbasket Lake. (Facebook)
B.C. men fined $1.7K for overfishing near Revelstoke, Golden

The seized fish were donated to the Golden Food Bank

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Feb. 23, 2021. (Kamloops This Week photo)
Clothing that ‘detracts from learning process’ removed from SD73 student dress code

Policy change underway after student in knee-length dress, long-sleeve turtleneck sent home

Most Read