November 25, 2014 - 10:56 AM
OKANAGAN FALLS - Vaseux-Bighorn National Wildlife Area, located south of Penticton, was selected to receive funding for improvements through a federal government initiative.
The wildlife area is one of ten selected across Canada to receive a portion of $8 million over five years with an additional $725,000 pledged on an ongoing basis to improve, increase and maintain public access.
Vaseux-Bighorn spans 812 hectares and is located 25 km south of Penticton between Oliver and Okanagan Falls. According to Environment Canada, there are 30 at-risk species in the area with 28 listed under schedule I such as the White-headed Woodpecker, Pallid Bat, Behr's Hairstreak and the Paregrine Falcon. As well, there are also rare plant communities to be found. These include Red Osier, Bluebunch Wheatgrass and Antelope Brush. Of course, with a name like Bighorn, it can be expected there'll be plenty of California Bighorn Sheep as well. The sheep use the territory as a winter range.
The area was reserved because the National Conservancy of Canada anticipated population growth, recreation pressures and invasive plant species could place the area under a high level of threat in the future. It's kept in its natural state, with a network of boardwalks installed along designated trails for public access.
The new funding will continue the focus of connecting the public with nature allowing stewards to improve the infrastructure of the reserve. New trails and viewing platforms can be built and on-site programs can be delivered through collaborative partnerships. Low impact public uses such as hiking, canoeing, skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking, wildlife observation and photography can also be expanded.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014