Skaha Bluffs access secured

Climbers in the South Okanagan have reason to smile.

Permanent access to the Skaha Bluffs near Penticton has been secured following an intense fund raising campaign between several groups.

Access to the popular rock climbing area was lost in 2006 when the last public access point was sold. A private landowner had been allowing climbers to park on his land in order to enjoy the Bluffs, but his decision to sell his land left no other way for climbers to access the area.

A fund raising campaign was launched in 2007 to purchase a parcel of land adjacent to the Bluffs to allow the public to utilize the area.

B.C. Environment Minister, Barry Penner, says the B.C. government, the Land Conservancy of British Columbia, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Mountain Equipment Co-op and other supporters all worked together to acquire a 304-hectare property adjacent to the popular Skaha Bluffs recreational rock climbing area.

“The newly acquired land falls within the proposed Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park recommended in the Okanagan Shuswap Land and Resource Management Plan and will be managed for its important conservation and recreation values as a Class A provincial park,” says Penner.

TLC executive director, Bill Turner, says the acquisition of the property marks the successful culmination of an ambitious fund raising campaign to raise the $5.25 million necessary to purchase the land.

“To reach this goal, B.C.‘s Ministry of Environment provided $1.25 million, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, with support from the Government of Canada, provided $2.3 million and The Land Conservancy raised $1.7 million,” says Turner.

“The purchase of this property recognizes the importance of providing recreational access and, at the same time, protecting a vital area for the conservation of wildlife.”

The B.C. government has made a capital investment of more than $65 million over the past three years to improve park facilities and acquire new lands.

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