Chopka grasslands, South Okanagan-Similkameen, British Columbia. Photo Graham Osborne, South Okanagan-Similkameen National Park Network (SOSNPN)

Chopka grasslands, South Okanagan-Similkameen, British Columbia. Photo Graham Osborne, South Okanagan-Similkameen National Park Network (SOSNPN)

In Cascadia, British Columbia’s South Okanagan region is an ecologically, socially, and culturally important place. As a result of discussions with stakeholders, community interests, and the Okanagan Nation, the provincial government has developed a proposed land protection framework for the South Okanagan that it hopes will address these interests both today and into the future.  Public comment is being sought on this proposal through October 12, 2015.

The South Okanagan region of British Columbia contains significant diversity and uniqueness of plants and animals, and is home to 30% of B.C.’s red-listed wildlife species and 46% of blue-listed species. Situated at the northernmost tip of the Great Basin Desert and representing a dry arid landscape that is not only unique to British Columbia, but to Canada, it is aptly named the “pocket desert.” This area is important to First Nations and contains sacred cultural and traditional use sites such as Spotted Lake and the White Lake basin and many other significant cultural, recreational and ecological sites. It is also an area that is facing intense development pressure and increasing population.

This region is included in an ongoing scientific and community stakeholders habitat connectivity collaboration between Washington and British Columbia, and has been identified as important in numerous discussions in the Cascadia Partner Forum as we consider our priority issues and contribution to the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative’s Science Plan.  Learn more and comment through October 12, 2015 on the Protected Areas Framework website for this proposal.

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