North Okanagan takes step closer to creation of new park | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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North Okanagan takes step closer to creation of new park

The view from the northern end of the proposed Coldstream Ranchlands Park.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Regional District of North Okanagan
January 05, 2021 - 7:30 AM

The Regional District of North Okanagan is one step closer to turning the Coldstream Ranchlands Park into an official park.

Essential environment and archaeological studies have recently been completed which allows the Regional District to move forward with more public engagement for proposals for the use of the 334-acre site. The land sits north of Buchanan Road, roughly five kilometres from downtown Vernon.

The Regional District purchased the Coldstream Ranchlands Park in 2009, but the site had little public use until this year.

Regional District community services manager Mike Fox said when provincial parks were closed due to the pandemic that all changed.

"It pushed everybody to local government's (land)," Fox said.

Fox said the Coldstream Ranchlands saw a considerable uptick in usage during the period when the provincial parks were closed.

Currently, a rough trail exists on the Ranchlands and is popular with birdwatchers and hikers. There is no official parking at the site which is open to the public.

Fox said there is interest from the North Okanagan Cycling Association to create access from the Ranchlands to trails the organization currently maintains on land north of the site.

An environmental study took place in the summer of 2020 and showed the area is home to a diverse ecosystem consisting of grasslands, conifer and deciduous forest, and wetlands. The report says the area is home to rattlesnakes, as well as three other native snake species. The area is also home to a variety of mammals and the report says the American badger may also use the habitat for foraging.

Fox said the environmental report will allow planners to keep trails away from sensitive areas.

A recently completed archeological study identified no archaeological resources at the site and that the potential for the presence of archaeological discoveries on the land is low.

The completion of the reports now means Coldstream Ranchlands Park will now become part of a draft parks masterplan due to be presented to the public in the next couple of months.

The draft masterplan will allow the public and stakeholders further input into the development of the park. Once the politicians have approved the masterplan it will go back to the table for the politicians to approve the money to make it happen.

A map of the proposed Coldstream Ranchlands Park.
A map of the proposed Coldstream Ranchlands Park.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Regional District of North Okanagan

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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