Photo by Graham Osborne: East Chopaka-Kilpoola Grasslands, British Columbia
A newly launched public consultation process on Canada’s newest National Park Reserve, in the South Okanagan-Similkameen region of BC, is providing Canadians a long-awaited opportunity to help secure the future for Canada’s most at-risk grassland ecosystem and the wildlife that live there. The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s BC Chapter (CPAWS-BC) welcomes this announcement made by the federal, provincial, and Okanagan Nation governments.
“This is our opportunity to demonstrate leadership on a global scale by supporting strong, meaningful protection for this area, one of the most important conservation opportunities in Canada,” says Jessie Corey, Terrestrial Conservation Manager for CPAWS-BC. “We are quickly approaching the deadline for Canada’s 2020 biodiversity protection targets, and this will move us one step closer to meeting the target.”
Members of the public are invited to provide input on a number of important land management considerations within the proposed park area, as well as helping to identify the range of proposed land use. The working boundary for the proposal differs from past proposals by both the provincial and federal governments, and captures critical areas for habitat connectivity as well as biologically and culturally significant areas around Txasquin (Mt. Kobau) and Nkl’pula?xw (Kilpoola and Chopaka grasslands).
“The creation of this new National Park Reserve has been supported by local communities and people across the province for over a decade, so we’re thrilled to see the process moving on to this critical next step on the path towards park establishment,” adds Corey. “This National Park Reserve will play a key role in connecting endangered grasslands between Canada and the United States, and will support species survival in an ever changing climate.”
CPAWS-BC looks forward to engaging its members and partners across the country during the consultation to contribute expertise and support for this important biodiversity conservation initiative, which is open to public input until February 28, 2019.