Public invited to comment on South Okanagan-Similkameen national park

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Penticton Western News

Public consultation on the proposed national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen has been launched.

Members of the public are invited to provide input on a number of important land management considerations within the proposed park area, as well as helping to identify the range of proposed land use.

“This is our opportunity to demonstrate leadership on a global scale by supporting strong, meaningful protection for this area, one of the most important conservation opportunities in Canada,” says Jessie Corey, terrestrial conservation manager for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s BC Chapter (CPAWS-BC). “We are quickly approaching the deadline for Canada’s 2020 biodiversity protection targets, and this will move us one step closer to meeting the target.”

The website https://letstalksouthokanagansimilkameen.ca/Okanagan, which includes documentation, maps and a 15-minute survey, is the official feedback component of the public consultation of the proposed national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen.

The working boundary for the proposal differs from past proposals by both the provincial and federal governments, and captures critical areas for habitat connectivity as well as biologically and culturally significant areas around Txasquin (Mt. Kobau) and Nkl’pula?xw (Kilpoola and Chopaka grasslands).

“The creation of this new national park reserve has been supported by local communities and people across the province for over a decade, so we’re thrilled to see the process moving on to this critical next step on the path towards park establishment,” said Corey. “This national park reserve will play a key role in connecting endangered grasslands between Canada and the United States, and will support species survival in an ever changing climate.”

The survey and feedback will be open until Feb. 28, 2019, at which time Parks Canada will consider the views emphasized in past consultations and new questions that arise. A final report is expected to be released in the summer of 2019 with the final outcomes of the consultation. According to information on the website, this may include a summary of all contributions collected as well as recommendations for future action.

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