Vernon’s Ellison Provincial Park has everything the outdoor enthusiast could wish for. (Ribbons of Green photo)

Vernon’s Ellison Provincial Park has everything the outdoor enthusiast could wish for. (Ribbons of Green photo)

Upgrades trail in for Okanagan campgrounds

Bear Creek and Ellison improvements underway

Improvements to Ellison and Bear Creek parks are on track to help boost B.C.’s infrastructure and get people back to work.

The province is investing $5 million for infrastructure projects in 24 provincial parks, including Wasa Lake, Syringa, Kokanee Creek, Bear Creek and Ellison parks.

“We have heard the call for greater access to the outdoors to promote health and well-being during COVID-19. These meaningful projects create jobs to address those needs as part of our support for B.C. communities,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Investing in provincial parks also protects sensitive ecosystems, supports our climate change goals and makes parks more accessible for everyone to enjoy.”

Located on the west side of Okanagan Lake near Kelowna, Bear Creek Park is a popular camping destination where visitors can relax on sandy beaches, explore hiking trails and view a picturesque canyon. To enhance visitor experience, electrical services are being added to another 35 campsites in the park campground. Twenty-one electrical sites were added in 2018.

At Ellison Park near Vernon, another popular camping destination, the campground entrance road, campground loop roads and day-use parking area are being repaved to replace the patchwork of seal coat and asphalt patches.

“We have seen how parks play a huge role in our lives when it comes to bringing families, friends and communities together,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee. “British Columbians have pride in their provincial parks, and these upgrades to Ellison Park, along with other provincial parks in the Okanagan, ensure we can all access to these beautiful natural spaces.”

New accessible pit toilets and a mobi-mat, which improves accessibility for wheelchairs over loose or low traction surfaces, are being added to Kokanee Creek Park. Located east of Nelson, the park is known for its sandy beaches, hiking trails and three campgrounds. Upgrades are being made to the drinking water system at Wasa Lake Park north of Cranbrook and Syringa Park near Castlegar.

Other infrastructure projects throughout the province include upgrades to water systems, parking lots, multi-use trails, campground facilities, backcountry facilities and accessibility improvements. Electric vehicle charging stations will be added to some day-use areas in northwest B.C. The projects are scheduled for completion in the spring.

This announcement is part of B.C.’s $10-billion COVID-19 response, which includes StrongerBC, a plan that protects people’s health and livelihoods while supporting businesses and communities.

READ MORE: First Indigenous territory recognition made in Lake Country

READ MORE: Relief funds keep Okanagan in the game


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