Community Engagement in Skaha Lake Park Restoration

Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society

Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society has been working with local community members for over 20 years. OSSS helps people care for important natural areas by providing information and ways to coexist with wildlife, and assisting landowners to steward natural areas on their properties while maintaining their farms, ranches, vineyards or other land uses.

Through this one-year project titled “Community Engagement in Skaha Lake Park Restoration” Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship will restore sensitive habitat at Skaha Lake Park that supports local wildlife and species at risk and engage the community of Penticton in environmental understanding and resource stewardship in the South Okanagan.  In our experience, while simple one-off planting projects with native trees and shrubs are efficient in getting plants in the ground, these projects are rarely successful and meaningful over the long term, nor do they build community support for conservation, or a particular natural area. By providing many opportunities for the public to participate in a project, the community around Skaha Lake Park will take ownership of the conservation of the wetland habitat at the east boundary of the park. Having community participation will also ensure long-term sustainability of our efforts. Partnership with a nearby middle school not only builds community support but encourages young people to become conservation champions for the park. This park is managed by municipal government, the areas to be restored are largely turf but are not well used by the public and are ideal restoration locations.

This project is a one-year request. Approved by Regional District Okanagan Similkameen Board and $20,000 was allocated from the South Okanagan Conservation Fund in 2022. The project is expected to complete by January 31, 2023.