Letters to the editor.

Letter: Reasons for a National Park are abundant

If we wish to teach our children the wonders of the natural world we must preserve unique areas.

Regarding Ms. Best’s letter (Penticton Western News, Feb. 10, Thoughts on having a national park) I’d like to respond with some points in favour of a national park.

Parks Canada did not randomly select this area of the South Okanagan. It has been identified as one of the four most endangered ecosystems with the greatest diversity of ecosystems and most species at risk (over 250) in the entire breadth of Canada.

Why, you may ask, are there so many species at risk and on endangered lists? Why has the worlds animal population decreased by 50 per cent (many even more) in much less than a century and why is the rate of species extinction rising exponentially? The reasons are obvious for those who care or who care to look.

Even local tracts of natural areas have been trashed and damaged largely by groups of “recreational” vehicle users. Stinky Lake, Spring Lake, Garnet Valley wetlands and areas in the Aberdeen, Greystoke and Monashee are examples. I refer to those individuals responsible as eco-morons. Sadly, some “hunters” fit in this category as well.

I’ve been chased down a mountain with bullets clipping through the trees from two “hunters.” A bullet wound above my knee is a result — and yes, they knew my friend and I were in the area. I’ve witnessed a pile of at least 20 birds shot and left to rot unprocessed outside a forest campsite. I’ve listened to a group of “hunters” laugh about how they blew a squirrel to pieces with bird-shot and how much booze they drank during a unsuccessful grouse hunt.

There are far too many examples of this type of behavior and reason enough for a national park.

Ignoring the obvious local economic benefits, it remains that a national park is the best and most viable option to preserve these deserving lands. Parks Canada have been internationally recognized as such for their efforts to preserve, protect and enhance. The recent reintroduction of buffalo to their historic areas of Banff National Park is a prime example. Provincial management simply cannot compare and in many cases is laughably inadequate. 250 species at risk deserve much better.

It’s increasingly apparent in our progressive society the urgent need to preserve our ever diminishing natural areas and it’s reliant species. Already 75 per cent of the worlds ice-free inhabitable lands have been altered in some fashion by human intervention. We are all a part of the living biosphere and the failure to recognize our reliance on a vibrant natural world will ultimately adversely affect us all.

I commend Ms. Best’s obvious concern for flora and fauna, but surely Ms. Best can appreciate that if we wish to teach our children the wonders of the natural world we must preserve especially unique areas as a classroom since it cannot be explained on a chalkboard — it must be experienced and felt in the heart.

For nature and our children’s sake we must foster selflessness to preserve what is left.

Jeff Bedard