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The South Okanagan – Similkameen region contains some of the most biologically diverse and rare ecosystems in Canada and has sustained Syilx/Okanagan communities for thousands of years. Nature inspires Canadians to take pride in their natural and cultural heritage, from coast to coast to coast, and the South Okanagan – Similkameen region is no exception.
A new national park reserve will not only renew a nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples, but it will contribute to a network of protected and conserved areas. These protected areas help safeguard Canada’s biodiversity and provide unprecedented opportunities for Canadians to experience the outdoors and learn about our environment, and contribute to sustainable economic development.
The South Okanagan – Similkameen is where the northern edge of the Great Basin reaches into British Columbia, in the extreme south of the Interior Dry Plateau natural region.
This is one of 39 regions identified by Parks Canada’s national parks system plan as a distinctive component of the national landscape, but is not yet represented by a national park reserve. From both national and provincial perspectives, this is an area of high conservation value and an excellent candidate area for Parks Canada to represent this region.
The goals of establishing a national park reserve are to:
Protect the diversity of vegetation and landscape features of representative ecosystems;
Maintain the ecological integrity of wildlife habitat and plant species; and
Provide opportunities for quality visitor experiences, such as recreational activities and the presentation of natural and cultural heritage.