Russ Turner, highly-respected mountain guide in B.C. and beyond, knows well what we will be preserving in creating a national park in the South Okanagan.
His larger view of a park extending from Snowy Mountain Wilderness (west of Highway 3, near the border) to, dare we hope, Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park, is even larger than my submission to the provincial government’s call for responses to it’s intentions paper, which response called for continuity from northern Washington State to Okanagan Falls.
He, and I, feel that the area north of Richter Pass and Mt. Kobau should be federal park territory. The feds have far more funds and expertise than the provincial government. We should settle for nothing less than the highest degree of protection for the many endangered and threatened species in this area, their natural environment and for as much of their habitat as possible as their numbers increase and climate change nudges them northward.
Russ correctly cautions that the park concept lands will, if not preserved by a park, see the steady encroachment of human settlement and so-called development (I paraphrase).
I can add nothing to his compelling argument of the undoubted economic benefits from tourism consequent to the realization of a national park in the South Okanagan.
If you, dear reader, have so far not visited these areas in the detail they deserve, please plan to do so. You can Google the Penticton Outdoors Club, or the Penticton Naturalists Club, among others, for direction and suggestions.
Oh yes, there is the www.yesnationalpark.com — check it out.
Frederick Van Seters