The Support

We, the people of the South Okanagan-Similkameen, have been loud and clear. We support the creation of a national park reserve.

First Nation Support: In February 2013, the Okanagan Nation Alliance announced its support in moving forward to the next stage of creating a national park reserve. The ONA represents all of the bands in the area – the Osoyoos Indian Band, Lower Similkameen Indian Band, Upper Similkameen Indian Band and Penticton Indian Band. Having conducted a two-year extensive feasibility assessment to determine if the national park is feasible from a First Nation perspective, they concluded that the national park would benefit their communities and their traditional territory.  The Okanagan Nation Alliance has asserted that any national park reserve must respect their rights and title, be compatible with traditional cultural activities, and deliver economic benefits for their communities.

Read the Okanagan Nation Alliance’s feasibility report here.

Further Community Support: Local public support for a national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen is extensive and growing. A group of over 21,000 citizens have joined together to sign a petition in support of the park, with 9000 being local voices.  They see the value in preserving nature, the opportunities that a national park will provide, and the legacy the park will create.  This sentiment is shared by local wineries, farmers, ranchers, and tourist operators.  Local governments are listening to what their community members are saying; both the regional district and town councils have expressed their support for the national park reserve.

Three independent polls have now shown that over 2/3 of locals support the creation of a national park. View the most recent poll results from Spring 2015 here.

See full list of supporters here.

Provincial Government Position: In 2010, the Premier Christy Clark stated the following:“While the feasibility study determined a national park reserve was feasible, it also recognized there was a large contingent of people opposed to the initiative.  As with other national protected area initiatives involving Crown lands, the Province considers local and regional government, First Nations, stakeholder and public support as critical towards supporting the transfer of lands and eventual designation for federal protected area purposes.”In 2012, the Minister of Environment, Terry Lake, stated that there was still “a large contingent of people opposed to the initiative”. In 2015, in a significant turn of events, the B.C. Ministry of Environment announced a new proposed protected areas framework for the South Okanagan that included two areas of interest being considered for national park status, and one area being considered for provincial conservancy status. On January 2017, the Provincial government committed to re-engaging with Parks Canada and the Okanagan Nation Alliance on the creation of a National Park Reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen.

Parks Canada/Federal Government Position: Because of the conclusions drawn by the BC government in 2012, Parks Canada announced that: “It respects the position of the Government of British Columbia regarding the creation of a national park reserve in the South Okanagan – Lower Similkameen Valley and recognizes that it cannot proceed without the support of the Government of British Columbia. If the province changes its position and indicates it is prepared to proceed, Parks Canada would resume its work in this area. In order to respect the province’s perspective, Parks Canada will not publicly engage stakeholders on the proposal at this time.

History of the Park: Learn more about the history of the South Okanagan-Similkameen National Park proposal here.

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