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Regional parks turns 40

There will be plenty of special events and activities this year as 2014 marks two milestones for Regional Parks in the Central Okanagan.

This is the 40th anniversary of the Regional Parks service and 20 years since the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan opened its doors.

“Our Regional Parks system began back in the fall of 1974 and the following January we acquired Kaloya Regional Park in Lake Country," says Regional Board chair, Robert Hobson.

"This 3.7-hectare waterfront property with beaches and swim areas, playground and covered picnic shelter was our first official Regional Park.  In the years since, we’ve grown and protected over 13 hundred hectares of significant lands, encompassing 29 Regional Parks.   Last year alone, we acquired four additional properties, including the 700 plus hectare donation and creation of the Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park.”

Hobson says the board had the foresight to create our Parks Legacy and Acquisition funds several years ago. 

"As a result, we’ve been able to proactively save significant tracts of land as Regional Parks for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future residents.   These more natural, protected environments are significant features in providing a good quality of life right across the Central Okanagan.   With the ongoing support of the Board, we hope to continue the growth of our regional parks system in the years ahead.”

This year also marks the 20 anniversary of the EECO or Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan, a log building located at the entrance to Mission Creek Regional Park, just off Springfield and Durnin Roads. 

The facility has hosted dozens of exhibits designed to raise awareness of and appreciation for our Regional Parks and natural environment.  It remains an extremely popular destination.   Last year more than 25,000 people passed through the EECO, taking in its exhibits and participating in numerous parks programs.

Throughout 2014, special anniversary programs and activities will be held to celebrate our Regional Parks and the EECO.   Information will be available by visiting regionaldistrict.com/parks or in the 2014 Summer-Fall edition of ‘Your Guide to Regional Parks’.

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