Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson today announced that the Province is changing the designation on 313.75 hectares of Crown land to support the conservation aims of the neighbouring Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park and Okanagan Mountain Park.
Government has now designated the Crown land for public recreational use only, which limits the kind of development and activity that can take place. The change will help support the area's sensitive ecosystem and create a significant wildlife corridor on Kelowna's south slopes.
The Crown land designation was announced at a ceremony dedicating the new Johns family park, which incorporates land donated by the late siblings Alf and Nancy Johns with existing Cedar Mountain Regional Park.
The Johns bequeathed the 324-hectare property to the Central Okanagan Land Trust to help create a wildlife reserve.
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson -
"This is a tremendous donation by the Johns family - one of the largest private land donations in the history of the region. We were able to change the land use designation on the neighbouring lands to help support Alf and Nancy's vision of creating a natural preserve."
Robert Hobson, chair, Regional District of Central Okanagan -
"The regional district appreciates that the province has stepped up to support the newly acquired Regional Park. The change in designation of the adjacent Crown land will help conserve these lands and the wildlife that depend on them for generations to come."
Barry Jones, president, Central Okanagan Land Trust -
"The creation of this new large Regional Park is a great example of how government and local nongovernmental organizations like COLT can work together to conserve our natural heritage and protect biodiversity. We would be encouraged if other local land-owners are similarly inspired by this example."
- Under Section 16 of the Land Act, government can restrict Crown land for "recreation and enjoyment of the public" use only.
- The Cedar Mountain Regional Park section of the Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park will remain open to the public. The newly donated land will not be open until the land trust and regional district parks branch implement a management plan for the park.
Central Okanagan Land Trust: http://www.coltrust.ca/
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations