National park needed in South Okanagan
We need a national park. It appears that the national park proposal and plan has died on the vine for now.
Renewed lobbying and petitioning of federal and provincial governments would be a prerequisite to rekindle the formulation of a realistic project for the South Okanagan.
Barriers of opposition would have to be resolved. For instance, Federal regulations would have to be modified to allow the local helicopter training company to continue to operate in the park area. The writer resides in the area of training activity. There is no evidence or observation of disturbance to wildlife as the ATV’s would create.
The Heli-training is a vital corporate citizen in the Penticton area. Turning an opponent into a supporter would be a victory for all.
A difficult issue would be ranchers and the open range policy. The elimination of range cattle from sensitive areas and creeks would encourage the return of wildlife — wildflowers etc. instead of manure pollution and the spread of noxious weeds.
The creation of a park would place Penticton on the global network as “Destination British Columbia” to complement our “Napa North” jingle.
Peaches and beaches alone just ain’t gonna cut it in the future if we want to compete with other destinations for the tourist dollar. In the past (at meetings) opponents to the park were very vocal in their views. Estimate about 10 per cent making 100 per cent more noise than our silent majority of supporters of the park.
In respect to the hunters on this issue the park boundaries were never suitable for hunting.
Most of the popular hunting grounds are out of the plan areas. If we delay in the drafting of the national park plan, there will be little left for the future as Nature Trust is slowly assimilating vast tracts of essential areas.