Second generation pioneer says there are many reasons we don’t need national park in this region

By on February 5, 2014

Dear Editor:

In my view, letters discussing a national park reserve for this region have been unreasonably critical of our member of the Legislative Assembly and others and do not take history into consideration or social values, but discuss primarily economic values.

Our western mountains have been kept as grasslands by fire for more than 3,000 years. Extreme rains have gouged coulees (deep ravines) on our mountain sides during this time frame.

Cattle for more than 100 years have kept the grasslands in a better state.

Cattle use their tongues to pull the top off bunchgrass, leaving a healthy centre for the plant.

These cattle can not survive on spear grass and must move to higher ground after a short time of grazing.

Ungulates trample twigs and leaves and fertilize the soil thus stabilizing and building up the soils.

Of more importance is that the parallel trails they create gather rain and melt waters, preventing quick runoff, saturating the duff leading to filling the aquifers.

Fires have shaped the grasslands which then have become extreme deserts. Examples of major fires over the past decades include larger fires from Osoyoos Lake to McIntyre Creek, Fairview Mountain to Willowbrook, Vaseux Lake to top of Grouse Mountain and Naramata to Kelowna.

In the year 2003, millions of dollars in economic damage occurred as a result of major fires.

Forests need maintenance and trees dying from Tussock Moth and disease need removing,

Mature trees need thinning , interface areas near communities need attention. The best example of good forest management is Johnston Creek near Bridesville.

An example of a dying forest is near the top of Waterman’s Hill.

Mining may still take place in the future for gold, silver, lead, zinc and copper as it was mined at Fairview. Drilling and staking is still ongoing.

Public access is free to the top of Kobau Mountain and firearms restrictions apply at the request of hunters.

Agriculture (as stated in the community plan) requires quality soil, water, and space. If we take away any one of the three, agriculture will fail in the desert environment.

What will the future become?

The Okanagan Valley is facing a water shortage even when snow levels will be above 1,400 meters.

The semi arid desert will become an arid desert affecting the ability to sustain human habitation.

Agriculture production of primary foods will decline.

Plants and animals will adapt to the arid desert at higher elevations. Cattle herds will decline and be established in the Caribou Region. Grasslands will expand. Aquifers will decline. Streams will dry up early.

A national park attraction will build on our population base over time when the Okanagan population is already growing too rapidly.

Local MLA Linda Larson is correct in representing people who live and work on this land.

My remarks are based on history and research and my time as a regional district advisor.

I’m a second generation pioneer in this region and proud of it.

David Evans

Oliver, B.C.

 

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