Why you can only look at Okanagan Lake from a new regional park | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Why you can only look at Okanagan Lake from a new regional park

This is the beach in the new Goats Peak Regional Park that you won't be able to walk to for a few more years.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Regional District of Central Okanagan
September 25, 2019 - 5:30 PM

WEST KELOWNA - It’s one thing to plan a park on paper but when it comes to actually building the trails, there can be a different reality on the ground.

That’s the case with new Goats Peak Regional Park. The land was purchased in 2014 for $5 million and the park opened last week with a steep trail to the peak but lacking the planned trail to the one accessible waterfront beach in the park.

“Our priority was getting the main trail along the foreshore from Seclusion Bay all the way to the end,” Central Okanagan Regional District parks manager Wayne Darlington told iNFOnews.ca. “The other thing we needed to do was get that trail to the summit done. Some of the most spectacular parts of the park is taking a walk up to the high point and then getting that 270-degree panoramic view of our valley.”

Another important factor in the change in priorities was the environmental sensitivity of parts of the park.

“Internally, here, we felt that summit trail was important, otherwise that untouched landscape that’s on the face of Goats Peak Mountain could, potentially, just be trampled in a random way,” he said. “One thing we don’t want to happen, especially in Goats Peak, is informal trails just showing up all over the place. Then we have to go back and try to correct some of that.”

The park master plan was adopted in 2016 and did call for the main path – actually a narrow road called Big Sage - to be completed first, along with the Ogopogo Trail down to the beach.

The reality on the ground, however, was that there were no informal human-made trails to the beach but there were others going up the hillside.

The plan, therefore, switched to building a designated switchback trail up the hill that avoided some environmentally sensitive areas.

“There is some ecological sensitivity in the area as well, so we have to define the trail in those locations where it’s the best alignment - where it meets the physical abilities of people but also to avoid those areas with some higher sensitivities," Darlington said.

There are also some concerns about the environmental sensitivity of the beach area which is a “red zone” for shore spawning kokanee – meaning it has high habitat value.

Currently, Darlington and his staff are reviewing their spending priorities over the next five years. Those will be presented to the Regional District of Central Okanagan board before the end of the year to be put into the budget for next year.

He expects that the Ogopogo Trail down to Okanagan Lake won’t be funded for at least a couple of years.

Another key element of the Goats Peak master plan is to extend the trail down to Whitworth Road in West Kelowna, which would connect through roads and Kalamoir Park to Kelowna.

There is an existing trail through private lands. Access could be negotiated or purchased either by the City of West Kelowna or the regional district, but neither have much money available to buy more parkland right now.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 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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News from © iNFOnews, 2019
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