Land additions proposed for parks
Proposed amendments to the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act will expand B.C.’s parks and protected areas system, adding approximately 107 hectares of new land to six existing Class A parks, including two in the East Kootenay.
The proposed additions are the result of private land acquisitions and include:
- 17 ha to Kikomun Creek Provincial Park in the East Kootenay;
- Four ha to the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Provincial Park in the East and Central Kootenay;
- 35 ha to Syringa Provincial Park near Castlegar;
- 19 ha to Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park in the Okanagan;
- 29 ha to Bridge Lake Provincial Park in the Cariboo region;
- 2.5 ha to Harmony Islands Marine Provincial Park along the Sunshine Coast.
The additional land at Kikomun Creek Provincial Park addition (17 ha) features a wetland and small lake secures an inholding that was completely encompassed within the park boundaries and was identified as a priority shortly after the park’s establishment in 1972.
Located on Lake Koocanusa southeast of Cranbrook, Kikomun Creek Provincial Park protects a rare open forest and grassland, and is a popular area for camping, mountain biking, hiking and boating. The total area of this park will be 699 hectares.
The Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Park proposed addition is an undeveloped mountain landscape home to at least 90 species of birds and several animals, such as elk, goats, black bears and grizzly bears.
The total area of this park, which also borders the East Kootenay from north of Kimberley to near Invermere will be 198,120 hectares.
Syringa Provincial Park not only protects provincially significant interior Douglas fir forests, it also preserves one of the few remaining examples of grassland ecosystems in the Kootenays.
The addition to the park is within a rare ecosystem and provides important winter range for deer and bighorn sheep. Located in south central B.C. near the southeast end of Lower Arrow Lake, the park is a popular destination for camping, fishing and boating. The total area of this park will be 4,538 hectares.
The proposed amendments will also replace boundary descriptions with official plans for two ecological reserves (Gilnockie Creek, southwest of Cranbrook, and Trout Creek) and three Class A parks (Conkle Lake, Jewel Lake and Johnston Creek).
Official plans provide a clearer description of where the parks or protected area boundaries are located, leading to less chance of unintentional trespassing, a Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy media release outlined.
In addition, a minor administrative correction will be made to the boundary description of McDonald Creek Provincial Park and a new official plan has been prepared for Fintry Provincial Park to reflect a boundary modification completed in spring 2018.
One of the largest park systems in North America, British Columbia has 1,033 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. The majority (628) of provincial parks in the system are Class A – lands dedicated for the preservation of their natural environment and for public use and enjoyment.
Amendments to the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act are regularly required to add land to parks and conservancies, modify or correct boundaries and improve boundary descriptions.
BC Parks manages the third largest parks system in North America behind the United States’ National Park Service and Parks Canada.
B.C. has the highest percentage of its land base dedicated to protected areas of all provincial Canadian jurisdictions.
B.C.’s provincial parks receive more than 23 million visits each year.
Lead image Kikomun Creek Provincial Park. e-KNOW file photos