Regarding this ongoing National Park debate — I find it highly distressing that the obvious reasons for the park proposal have been largely overlooked and obscured with a lot of me-my-mine-we-us blather and self-serving arguments.
Parks Canada did not simply decide its location by throwing a dart at a map. It was identified as one of the top four most endangered ecosystems with the greatest diversity of ecosystems and most species at risk (over 250 ) of any national park in all of Canada.
To claim that our provincial government, with it’s diminished budget-cut resources and manpower, can adequately protect this area is, at best, laughable. And further to claim, as one writer did, that recreational users and clubs are the “natural caretakers of the land” is as far off the mark as was Dick Cheney’s gunsights.
Adequate proof (beyond bullet riddled signage) historically abounds. Stinky Lake (Oliver) — trashed; Spring Lake (Peachland) — trashed; Garnet Valley wetlands — trashed; the Aberdeen, Greystoke and Monashee areas (Okanagan Life article by Don Elzer) — trashed. The number of yearly forest fires caused by human negligence are huge, and more recently, the out-of-season killing of a pregnant doe (Penticton) and the killing of 16 eagles (Kootenay).
There are ample numbers of eco-morons out there that put a lie to provincial and recreational users claims. As an older outdoor enthusiast I could fill this page with abuses that I have witnessed or experienced.
A national park is the best and most viable option to protect and preserve this jewel of deserving lands period. Why else then are so many of our national parks internationally recognized as World Heritage sites?
Nor can it be said that Parks Canada cannot be fair and accommodating. It has a demonstrated record of respecting and accommodating native concerns (Gwaii Haanas N.P.), involving ranchers (Grasslands N.P.) and even allowing some commercial interests.
With the ever-increasing strains being placed on our life sustaining biosphere we can no longer afford this pervasive short-sighted “me-first” attitude. We owe this to both nature and to all those who will follow us.
Over 250 species at risk in an area unique within the entire breadth of Canada deserve our positive commitment and sacrifices.
There is a quote that I believe is most appropriate:
“One can complain that rosebushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn-bushes have roses.”