PENTICTON - A provincial land conservation organization has begun a campaign to buy a key piece of South Okanagan property.
Nature Trust of British Columbia Communications Manager Robin Rivers says the trust has begun fundraising efforts to acquire a 32.2 hectare (80 acre) piece of land in the White Lake basin, known as the Park Rill property.
“We’re really at the launch phase of acquisition, so over the next six months we’ll be fundraising, anticipating a closing date of September 2018,” Rivers says.
The Park Rill property features sagebrush steppe, grassland, broadleaf woodlands, wetlands and rocky outcrops, in addition to containing Park Rill Creek which runs through the property.
Rivers says plans are for the property to become an infill for the White Lake Basin Biodiversity Ranch. She said although there have been different boundaries and areas proposed for inclusion in the South Okanagan National Park reserve proposal over the years, there are no plans to include these lands within the park, to her knowledge.
“The White Lake Basin is one of the gems in The Nature Trust of B.C.’s conservation land portfolio,” said Nick Burdock, Okanagan Conservation Land Coordinator, in a press release.
“The Park Rill Creek property is one of the finest examples of mixed riparian habitat along the Park Rill corridor. You really get the sense that this piece of land has been cared for in a way that protected its conservation values," he added.
The Park Rill property currently provides habitat for the endangered half-moon hairstreak butterfly, the Brewer’s sparrow, Lewis’s woodpecker, painted turtle and blotched tiger salamander.
The trust acquired its first property in the area in 1983, along Vaseux Lake, and have continued to purchase ecologically significant properties in the area, with a focus on expanding existing complexes.
The trust hopes to raise $1.15 million, which includes acquisition, legal, start up and land management costs.
The Nature Trust of British Columbia currently owns 11,207 acres in the Thompson, Okanagan and Similkameen valleys.
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