Mar 19, 2013 / 4:45 pm
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations announced the establishment of a new wildlife management area on Tuesday.
The area, named for the late conservationist Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan, which also includes a Syilx language name, is on the east side of Skaha Lake in the Penticton area.
“Wildlife management areas represent a strong tool in protecting critical wildlife habitat,” said Steve Thomson, minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. “So we are very proud to designate this area. We know it will make a significant difference.”
The area conserves 6,491 hectares of habitat, including 6,375 hectares of crown land and 116 hectares of property owned by The Nature Trust of BC.
The area is important for protecting species at risk and their habitat in the South Okanagan, including California bighorn sheep, which use it in important ways including lambing and foraging.
Others in attendance at the event at the Ramada Penticton included Penticton Indian Band Chief Jonathan Kruger, Dr. Jasper Lament, CEO Nature Trust of BC, and MLA Bill Barisoff.
“This is a really good day and we’ve made some history here today,” said Kruger. “It’s an honour to work with the province and I am really proud to say we protected 16,000 acres of lands. It’s good for our families, future generations and the land."
Lament said he too was proud to work with the province in establishing the area.
“This Nature Trust property is one of the last remaining low elevation grassland benches on the east side of Skaha Lake, and it secures a contiguous corridor of bighorn sheep habitat from lakeshore to high elevation,” he said.
The site was chosen in consultation with the family of McTaggart-Cowan, a zoologist, educator and one of Canada’s foremost conservationists.
The site is also important to the Penticton Indian Band, who provided a Syilx language name for the location, roughly translated as “a gash on the side.”
The name refers to the portion of the trail used by First Nations winding up and alongside a steep walled canyon south of the Skaha Bluffs for travel, trade and to access medicine gathering areas.
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