Mother nature is helping reopen parks across the Central Okanagan.
Due to recent rainfall and favourable weather conditions, Kelowna, West Kelowna and the Central Okanagan Regional District have all announced parks closed due to the extreme fire hazard ratings during the summer will reopen this week.
In Kelowna, tomorrow at noon,
• Paul’s Tomb and Lochview Trail
• Dilworth Mountain Park
• Dewdney Road Beach Access No. 1
• Canyon Falls Park (The lower trail, however, will remain closed due to trail upgrade construction)
Knox Mountain Drive remains closed to vehicle traffic. Hikers and bikers can visit Knox Mountain Park using the trail system.
“We’ve been monitoring the fire hazard rating across the region and conditions have improved with the rainfall and lower evening temperatures,” said Andrew Hunsberger, urban forestry supervisor.
“Although it’s safe to open the parks again, we are still at the end of a long, hot summer. We ask that residents continue to act responsibly and to report any activity that could put the public at risk.”
Smoking is strictly prohibited in all parks and public spaces. There will be zero tolerance, says the city, if offenders are found smoking in parks and public spaces. Fines can range up to $500.
Anyone who notices smoke or fire in any park should immediately call 9-1-1 to speak to the fire department or *5-5-5-5 on their cell phones for the BC Wildfire Management Branch.
In West Kelowna, also as as tomorrow at noon, several parks will re-open including:
• Mt. Boucherie Trails, including Boucherie Rush and Boucherie Grind
• Eain Lamont Park – Lakeview Cove Road
• Rose Valley Trail access – McDougall Road
• Casa Palmero Park and Walkway – Casa Palmero Drive
• Davidson Creek Park – Shannon Woods Drive
• Shannon Way Park – Shannon Way
• Rock Ridge Park – Griffiths Place
• Wild Horse Park – Wild Horse Drive
Like Kelowna, smoking is not allowed in any West Kelowna parks. Open burning, including campfires and backyard fire pits, are also not allowed anywhere in West Kelowna, as are the use of fireworks is without express permission from West Kelowna Fire Rescue.
In addition, the gates to eight regional parks are also open once again.
Effective noon tomorrow Tuesday, visitors are can return to the trails in:
• Trepanier Creek Greenway Regional Park
• Glen Canyon Regional Park
• Kalamoir Regional Park
•Rose Valley Regional Park
• Stephen Coyote Regional Park
• Scenic Canyon Regional Park
• Mission Creek Greenway (phase 2)
“We encourage everyone to get back out and enjoy these parks.,” said RDCO communications officer Bruce Smith.
“But please remember the fire hazard is still high and smoking and any motorized vehicles are not allowed at any time in our regional parks. Please report any strange or unusual behaviour to the appropriate authorities and report any fire by calling 9-1-1.”
There are still three regional parks that will be closed for the rest of the year because of damage from the record high levels of Okanagan Lake and the extreme spring flooding.
Recovery plans are being prepared for:
• Hardy Falls Regional Park south of Peachland
• Mill Creek Regional Park in Kelowna
• Killiney Beach Community Park on the west side of Okanagan Lake, north of West Kelowna.
As well, while Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour Regional Park and its main boat launch have been open in a limited capacity since Aug 4, extensive repairs will be required in the coming months to fix flood damage along the shoreline and the parking area.