BC Parks’ White Lake Grasslands Protected Area is bigger now, thanks to an “ecological gift” from Oliver resident Denis Pelletier, Environment Minister Terry Lake announced recently
Pelletier donated the 24.6-hectare property, valued at $475,000, to the province in memory of his late parents who passed away in the early 1980s.
The donation of this ecologically sensitive land qualifies under Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program.
The property is located in an area the province classified as the Ponderosa Pine Biogeoclimatic Zone. This is one of four zones that are of provincial conservation concern. It is rare (less than one per cent of the provincial land base) and listed by B.C.’s Conservation Data Centre (CDC) as being of “special concern” due to high losses – 21 per cent has been converted for human use such as residential development and agriculture.
The CDC reports 192 species potentially inhabit this site. Of those, several nationally listed species at risk are known to inhabit the site, based on CDC and Ministry of Environment records.
* Snakes – Western rattlesnake, gopher snake, racer.
* Amphibians – Great Basin spadefoot.
* Birds – white-headed woodpecker.
The Province is installing a BC Parks 100 bench on the property in recognition of Pelletier’s parents.
Environment Minister Terry Lake said, “The White Lake Basin has long been a priority for conservation efforts in the Okanagan. Denis Pelletier’s donation complements the conservation values of the adjacent protected area and serves as an excellent example of nearby landowners working with BC Parks in helping to protect endangered ecosystems. Land donation is one of the important aspects of stewardship the public can undertake to enhance our parks and protected areas.”
Ministry of Environment press release