Park Reserve announcement scheduled for July 2

Ottawa's Catherine McKenna and BC's George Heyman are expected to return to Osoyoos next week for a major South Okanagan Parks Reserve announcement..

It appears the pieces are falling into place as efforts continue to establish a national park reserve in the region.

Parks Canada announced Tuesday it has scheduled a press conference for July 2 to provide an update on the project.

Expected in attendance are both the federal and provincial environment ministers, plus the chiefs of the Osoyoos and Lower Similkameen Indian bands, all of which are part of a working group that’s been struck to determine if a park is feasible.

Parks Canada said previously it expected this summer to announce a tri-partite memorandum of understanding on the park boundaries, which would kick off up to two years of negotiations on legislation to actually establish the park.

That legislation would then have to be approved by Parliament, meaning a park is still years away from being finalized.

The proposed boundaries of the park cover about 273 square kilometres, composed of roughly one-third Crown land, one-third provincially protected area and one-third private land.

The working boundaries of the park, which has been under discussion since 2001, cover a finger-shaped area between approximately highways 3 and 97 from Keremeos south to the Canada-U.S. border. It’s roughly centred on Mount Kobau.

It’s described as a national park reserve to acknowledge First Nations’ claims to land inside its boundaries.

— Penticton Herald

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