This B.C. park in the Similkameen Valley is interesting for what's not in it | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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This B.C. park in the Similkameen Valley is interesting for what's not in it

Visitors to the Similkameen Valley's Keremeos Columns Provincial Park won't be able to get this close to the Keremeos columns because they're on private property outside the park boundaries.
Image Credit: WIKIMAPIA

Keremeos Columns Provincial Park in the Similkameen Valley was created because of a locally well-known geological oddity and hiking destination since pioneer times in the area, known as the Keremeos Columns.

What’s not known to many, however, is Keremeos Columns Park doesn’t include the Keremeos columns.

The 20-hectare park was created in 1931 and was supposed to have included the high, columnar basalt formations.

Ministry of Parks spokesperson David Karn says a survey completed after the park was established revealed the columns were outside the park boundaries.

“The columns are located on a private parcel (DL2963) located immediately south of the park boundary,” Karn said in an email.

The B.C. Parks website for Keremeos Columns Provincial Park cautions hikers making the trip, which is accessed off Highway 3A, to take plenty of water as the trek “is an adventure that requires fortitude” as hikers make their way through sagebrush country that “concludes with a steep climb.”

It says the geologic formation shares a similar status to such landmarks as the Aberdeen columns near Lumby and the more famous Giant Causeway in Northern Ireland and the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.

Hikers making the trip to the columns may be disappointed to learn public access to the column features is not permitted at this time.

“Visitors can view them from vantage points in the park that do not involve encroachment onto private land,” Karn says.

So why bother having a Keremeos Columns park if the columns aren’t an actual part of the park?

Karn says the park protects important grassland habitat and species at risk as well as acting as a natural buffer to the columns.

“These things happen. Hole in the Wall (near Tumbler Ridge) park has the same issue,” Karn says.

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