Deal reached to buy Okanagan's Skaha Bluffs land for provincial park
Staff Reporter, The Province
Published: Saturday, January 19, 2008
A key piece of hiking mecca Skaha Bluffs in the Okanagan has been purchased through a consortium of the provincial and federal governments and big donors like Mountain Equipment Co-op.
The popular rock-climbing area will become the Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park after the $5.25-million deal for 304 hectares of land was reached.
The monies included $1.25 million from B.C.'s environment ministry; $2.3 million from the Nature Conservancy of Canada, which is supported by the federal government; and $1.7 million from The Land Conservancy of B.C.
The property includes forests, rivers, rugged terrain popular with climbers and grasslands, and is a haven for 15 at-risk species including California bighorn sheep.
"I had a chance to hike through the property and see the Skaha Bluffs first-hand last summer," said B.C. Environment Minister Barry Penner in a release.
The Land Conservancy executive director Bill Turner was lead negotiator on the purchase, which drew funding support from Mountain Equipment Co-op and its members along with other government and charitable groups.
"The successful completion of the campaign could not have happened without support from the climbing community, and the many wildlife and conservation groups and individuals who are dedicated to B.C.'s wildlife," said Turner.
Penticton-Okanagan Valley MLA Bill Barisoff said the deal will ensure the area remains a world-class climbing destination and provide an economic boost to the region.
With recent purchases for new parks, the province now has 14 per cent of its land base protected.
Some formatting lost, but it should be comprehensible.
The text of the government news release on Skaha is at http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_release ... 000048.htm
A. SKAHA PURCHASE COMPLETE!
SUBLOT 18 PURCHASED
The Land Conservancy of B.C. announced recently that the purchase of sublot 18 at Skaha was complete. This 304 hectare property, which is southeast of the climbing area, will provide permanent public access to and parking for Skaha. It will also protect the area's high recreation and conservation values. The entire area, including sublot 18, is to be managed as a Class A provincial park.
Key partners and donors in the $5.25 million purchase included Mountain Equipment Co-op, the B.C. Ministry of Environment, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Government of Canada Natural Areas Conservation Program, the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund, the B.C. Trust for Public Lands, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation Environmental Enhancement Fund, the Nature Trust of British Columbia, a generous donation from the former owner under Environment Canada's Ecological Gifts Program, the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia, the Wild Sheep Society of British Columbia, the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep - Wyoming Chapter, and others.
The Access Society thanks all the partners and donors for their generous help with the Skaha purchase, on behalf of the climbing community. We particularly thank The Land Conservancy of B.C. and Mountain Equipment Co-op.
BRAESYDE PARKING CLOSED
Braesyde parking lot closed on November 4th. It has been used for public and climbers' parking since 1992, thanks to the kindness of the Dunlop family. There is no current alternate access to Skaha that does not involve illegal parking, crossing private land, or both.
NEW PARKING & ACCESS (Spring 2008)
It will take time to plan and fundraise to create an access road, parking, and other facilities at sublot 18. The Land Conservancy, the Skaha climbing community, and other partners, are working on an interim solution for spring 2008. We'll publish news about this as soon as it's available.
The Access Society also thanks all those in the climbing community and industry that contributed to fundraising for Skaha. As well as Mountain Equipment Co-op, corporate donors include Arc'Teryx, Black Diamond, The Edge Climbing Centre, Cliffhanger (Vancouver and Coquitlam), Skaha Rock Adventures, several sections of the Alpine Club of Canada, and others. They were very generous.
The Access Society itself donated $10,000. We also put a great deal of effort into Skaha communications, and soliciting donations from individuals and corporations. Perhaps we were sometimes leaning on doors that were already ajar, but it seemed to help. Also, MEC committed $100,000 to match donations from its members, over and above its other contributions, and it wasn't too hard to generate enough donations to use up all $100,000.
We also thank the families and friends of Caroline Cheung, Colin Wooldridge and Rita Ourom for donations in their memory to The Land Conservancy, and the Skaha climbers for all their work on access to the area over the last 15 years.
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