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Haynes Point Provincial Park has a long and storied history in the Town of Osoyoos
The recent public meeting hosted by staff from BC Parks about the restoration of Haynes Point Provincial Park prompted us to look into our files to put together a history of this unique place.
The idea to turn Haynes Point into a park was an early concept.
The land was originally under the jurisdiction of the South Okanagan Lands Project.
As early as 1926, pioneers George Fraser Sr. and Les Goodman approached the government to have this natural park site Lot 627 as it was known, reserved.
In 1939 they received assurance that it would be set aside for park purposes. Indeed, a provincial Order in Council dated January 25, 1939 stated that Lot 627 came under the administration of the Parks and Recreation Division of the B.C. Forest Service.
In the fall of 1950 the control of the spit was turned over to the Independent Order of Oddfellows who leased the land until 1956.
The international body, headed by Bernard Wills of Oroville, planned three parks on Osoyoos Lake, two on the American side and the third, what was known as the Point.
New names that were suggested for the Canadian park included Oddfellows International Park and Haynes International Park.
In 1950, an editorial in the Osoyoos Times extolled the beauty of the point, especially the bulge of land at the east end, where ponderosa pines grew magnificently.
The Oddfellows’ plans included the eradication of poison ivy, a road to the park, a supply of water and clearing of the underbrush to make the area attractive to the public.
The IOOF planted 600 trees including poplars and elms.
When the roadway was developed, a native burial site along with a pit-house and caches were found. The isthmus was widened with rock from the Dividend Mine site.
Finally, in 1962 the name was settled and Haynes Point Provincial Park officially came into being.
The park is named after John Carmichael Haynes, the first non-native settler in Osoyoos, first customs officer and judge in the district.
The 1980 Master Plan indicates that the spit that is Haynes Point has “geomorphological interest as an example of beach processes, climatic interest as an arid desert, and historical interest as a summer crossing of Osoyoos Lake …” Before the boat channel was created, at low water one could wade across the lake here.
The park lies within the driest part of the ponderosa pine-bunchgrass biogeoclimatic zone in British Columbia. Besides these indicator species, antelope brush (erroneously called greasewood) is represented in the park and is being planted where alien trees like Siberian elm and Russian olives have been cut down.
Eradicating the poison ivy is still an ongoing issue.
Rare plant communities include waterbirch-roses (red-listed), antelope brush- needle and thread grass (red-listed), and black cottonwood-waterbirch (red-listed). Peach leaf willow is the only individual rare plant still extant since the 1980 Master Plan was drawn up.
The spadefoot toad and painted turtle are rare animals also found in the park.
and KARA BURTON
Special to the Times
Ken Favrholdt is Executive Director/Curator and Kara Burton Administrative Assistant of the Osoyoos & District Museum and Archives