From: Heather Frank ( MacNaughton)
“Places said to have a strong “sense of place” have a strong identity that is deeply felt by inhabitants and visitors.” The South Okanagan is one of those places that is deeply loved by locals and visitors alike. The beautiful rolling brown hills, the smell of sage after a rainstorm and the sound of the first meadow lark in spring, moves us like nothing else can. We are blessed to be living in such a beautiful part of the world. It is one of the reasons that both “No Park and Yes Park” folks feel so passionate about this area.
As a local, born and raised in Oliver, I have seen many changes in the past 64 years. Change is inevitable and will continue to move and shape this area that we call home. Although I am a Yes Park person, I can appreciate the frustration of those whose concerns and questions have yet to be answered. That being said, discussions and negotiations between three levels of government and the local community are going to take time, perhaps longer than any of us would wish. In the end, I am hopeful that the discussions will help resolve many of the concerns that people have raised. I believe that the establishment of a National Park Reserve will do much to protect and sustain a section of this delicate ecosystem and its most vulnerable, threatened species of wildlife and vegetation, who also call this area home.
The objective of Parks Canada is to “protect for all time representative natural areas of Canadian significance in a system of national parks, to encourage public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of this natural heritage so as to leave it unimpaired for future generations.” To date there are still several natural regions of Canada that are not represented under the plan including our area. When the National Park Plan is eventually completed, it will cover about 3 percent of Canada. It is my hope that our area will eventually be included in that 3 percent. The protection and preservation of 3 percent of our land is the least we can do for future generations.