New Goats Peak regional park doesn't quite connect to West Kelowna - InfoNews

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New Goats Peak regional park doesn't quite connect to West Kelowna

This is the view over Okanagan Lake from Mountain Goat Trail in the newly opened Goats Peak Regional Park in West Kelowna.
September 18, 2019 - 4:11 PM

KELOWNA - At the official opening of the Central Okanagan’s newest regional park today there was praise for the cooperation between Westbank First Nation and the regional district in creating the 52-hectare park overlooking Okanagan Lake.

Goats Peak Regional Park rises steeply above Seclusion Bay, where West Kelowna meets with Peachland, all the way to the rocky outcrop overlooking the junction with Highway 97 and the Okanagan Connector.

“This park, like many other parks in the regional district’s area of responsibility, are in sacred areas, sensitive areas,” Jordon Coble, cultural and operations administrator for Snc?wips Heritage Museum, said at the opening ceremonies today, Sept. 18. “There are many cultural practices, many traditions, many markers in and around this park that are very important to us – most of which have been damaged beyond repair. Our work, going forward, is to share that responsibility (with the regional district) to ensure that this park’s naturalness is maintained and these markers are maintained."

A small sign that reads "Park Boundary" on a wooden fence blocks a trail down to Westbank and Gellately Bay because the City of West Kelowna has not been able to negotiate either an easement or the purchase of the private land below.

This fence blocks off access to West Kelowna from Goats Peak Regional Park because the trail behind it is on private land.
This fence blocks off access to West Kelowna from Goats Peak Regional Park because the trail behind it is on private land.

West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom, who called the park a “magical place,” actually walked that trail several years ago and told iNFOnews.ca that it was “quite manageable.” He said the land is owned by Bylands and there had been discussions in the past.

“It’s just a matter of renewing those discussions,” he said.

When asked how high such negotiations will be on the city’s priority list, Milsom said he would want to see it done “sooner rather than later but negotiations have to take place but to access the park from that side would be wonderful.”

Right now, hikers from north of the park have to drive down Seclusion Bay Road, at the top of Drought Hill leading down to Peachland, then in to a parking lot and walk 1.3 km along a road that traverses the steep hillside overlooking Okanagan Lake to reach the fence on the northern boundary – almost in sight of Gellatly Bay.

The road used to end about halfway along and served a private property on the lake. Part of the park development was to extend the road almost to the northern border.

From there, Mountain Goat Trail zig zags another 1.3 km up the steep hill to Goats Peak. It’s rated difficult and, currently, is fairly rough with loose rocks on some of the steeper sections. It’s not quite finished so it will be smoothed out more.


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