Five new agreements reached between South Okanagan's national park stakeholders | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Five new agreements reached between South Okanagan's national park stakeholders

A fall photo of the South Kilpoola area, which is within the boundaries of the proposed South Okanagan-Similkameen national park reserve
Image Credit: BC Parks
August 14, 2021 - 8:00 PM

Some progress was made among the stakeholders of the proposed national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen.

Parks Canada – after consulting with local and regional election officials, the Government of British Columbia and the Syilx/Okanagan Nation (as represented by the Lower Similkameen and Osoyoos Bands) – announced on Aug. 12 that five new measures have been agreed upon:

  • Private lands cannot be expropriation; acquisition of private property must happen on a willing seller-willing buyer basis
  • Provincial Crown lands within the park’s boundary (including the existing South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area) will remain under the jurisdiction of the Provincial government until the new reserve is established
  • No new mineral claims can be acquired on Crown lands within the boundary
  • Commercial timber harvesting has been suspended within the proposed boundary until a decision is made on park establishment
  • And that decisions relating to Land Act applications and renewals must be reviewed by the Tripartite Committee (the Government of B.C., Parks Canada, and the Syilx/Okanagan Nation)

Ongoing discussions do not currently include management decisions – such as camping sites, which activities are allowable, and fire and invasive species management, according to Parks Canada.

“(Management decisions) would be explored in detail though an extensive management planning process with First Nations, local government and the public, should the proposed national park reserve be established,” according to the release.

The next steps involves all three parties of the Tripartite Committee to approve and sign the final agreement in order to establish the national park reserve.

“The creation of a new national park reserve is a complex process and the Governments of Canada, British Columbia and the Syilx/Okanagan Nation will ensure that the appropriate consideration and time is taken.”

The idea for a national park reserve was first presented by Parks Canada in 2011. Meetings with stakeholders will continue when new information become available, Parks Canada said, which happens about three or four times per year.

READ MORE: Parks Canada to share feedback on controversial national park proposed for South Okanagan

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