Slack line provides thrills and views at Skaha Bluffs Park in the South Okanagan. (Penticton Western News)

Slack line provides thrills and views at Skaha Bluffs Park in the South Okanagan. (Penticton Western News)

Province adds 168 hectares to park and protected land in Okanagan Similkameen

Skaha Bluffs Park, Cathedral Park and Okanagan Mountain Park all expanded in 2020

The province of B.C. added 168.2 hectares to its holdings of park and protected land in the South Okanagan Similkameen.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy announced the acquisitions as part of the 650 total hectares acquired from 2019 to 2020.

Skaha Bluffs Park south in Penticton added 65 ha of land, worth $1,035,000, which will continue to support outdoors activities and serve as protected habitats for bighorn sheep, myotis, night snake and Western screech owl populations.

“Our parks and protected areas are among the natural treasures of our province and play an important role in our overall health and well-being, especially during COVID-19,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “These areas also provide critical habitat to a number of species. Acquiring additional land means more species and ecosystems will be protected and the land will be here for generations to come.”

READ MORE: Okanagan sees highest January snowpack levels in eight years

In exchange for $1, Okanagan College transferred 82 hectares south of Keremeos as part of Cathedral Park, which comprises an expanse of jagged mountain peaks, azure lakes and alpine meadows.

Across from Peachland, the province acquired 21.2 hectares for Okanagan Mountain Park, worth over $1 million that was donated as part of a rezoning and subdivision process to provide a buffer between the park and residential area.

British Columbia has 1,035 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas covering more than 14 million hectares, or approximately 14.4% of the provincial land base. During the last three years, 883 hectares of land have been acquired for parks and protected areas.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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