Discussion and debate around the creation of an official national park in the stunning landscape of the South Okanagan is nothing new. In fact, the story goes back at least as far as 2003.
The South Okanagan region is a sensitive region that is home to unique animal species.Back then, our Prime Minister at the time, Jean Chrétien, announced an understanding with the British Columbian Premier of the day, Gordon Campbell, to work on the development of an official national park in the area. Since then the idea has been dissected, debated and discussed many times over, before ultimately being shelved back in 2012.
The latest news is that the Mayor of Osoyoos, Stu Wells, recently put forth a motion at the 2014 Union of BC Municipalities to officially resume the discussion of a national park in the area. The resolution was approved, and so the story continues!
For our part, we fully support the creation of a national park in the South Okanagan and the reopening of the debate. Our area is home to 57 endangered species and national park status would help protect those species as well as the precious ecosystem and landscape that lives here in the South Okanagan.
In addition, the creation of a national park in the area will give a big boost to the local economy as there is a certain prestige in official national park status. This will no doubt bring more travellers to our area, including international travellers who are familiar with the world renowned National Parks across Canada.
Of course, there are those who are opposed to the creation of a national park in the South Okanagan, and we fully respect our neighbours who hold that opinion, but we are 100% behind the idea.
Indeed, our very own Ingrid Jarrett (Vice President of Business Development, Sales and Marketing here at Watermark Beach Resort) worked very closely with Parks Canada when she was chair of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) and she is very happy with the recent news.
Ingrid had the following to say: “I applaud Mayor Wells with his quest to do the right thing for the brittle environment, for the communities surrounding the lands earmarked for the national park and for the future potential for tourism operators who can provide meaningful experiences teaching people about this unique endangered desert environment. In a nutshell I wholly support getting back in dialogue with the provincial government, and additionally am fully in support of growing the economy in this way…”
While the South Okanagan region does not yet hold status as a National Park of Canada, the area is as wonderful to visit as those that do. Whether or not our majestic region receives national park status, it is an incredible place to explore and tour, and we would be happy to welcome for your family (pets included!) to Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos, BC.