To the Editor:
I would like to respond to your article of Thursday Dec. 8 about the proposed national park in the Okanagan – Similkameen. A scientific poll by McAllister Opinion Research released June 2, 2010 showed that 63 per cent of local residents favoured such a national park.
It is important to most residents in this area that the biodiversity here in the South Okanagan and Similkameen valleys be protected and preserved for future generations through national park status. We have a higher proportion of rare and endangered plants and animals here than any other location in Canada and these can best be protected by protecting the lands and habitats which they depend on. In the time since the park study began, many land parcels which would have been suitable for such a park have already been sold and committed to other uses.
Parks Canada staff have always maintained that the proposed park would include only lands purchased from willing sellers and only those lands which meet the criteria established for this park. This would apply to any lands to be included in the park which are presently owned or controlled by British Columbia.
The dry grasslands and other biogeoclimatic zones here are not represented in our array of national parks at present. It is important to our national heritage that such a park be created here. Such a park would bring economic benefits to municipalities and to British Columbia.
J. E. Bryan, Penticton