I was a little sad when my mom phoned this morning to say it was really windy and snowing sideways up on the hill, and it may not be a great day for Liam to go skiing. I wanted to get out in the fresh air, but wasn’t sure what to do. Then a friend left a message on my facebook wall letting me know she was interested in a hike I am planning next week and if I wanted to do anything before then to let her know. I thought of something I wanted to do. In all the years I have lived in the Okanagan, I have never been to Woodhaven Park. I have wanted to go, but just never seem to make it. After some planning around children’s activities, we decided to meet up to explore the Park.
It was great to get out an explore this park. We saw a couple flowers, even on of my favorite, buttercup. We also saw at least 2 different types of Moss. One was sort of grass like, the kids liked feeling it. We looked for owls, but did not see any.
Woodhaven Park has some interesting history, as posted on the Regional District of Central Okanagan website:
Woodhaven was slated for development in the early 1970’s and survived only through the determination of dedicated naturalists, Jim and Joan Burbridge. The Burbridge’s convinced elected officials that the property should be preserved. With support from local residents, the province and conservation groups (Nature Trust of British Columbia and the Nature Conservancy of Canada) the decision was made to turn the area into a Regional Park. You will still see several stumps where the first few trees were cut down before the area was preserved.
The Burbridge’s continued as resident caretakers and guardians of the park for almost thirty years. Joan Burbridge led interpretive tours through the park and wrote a great field guide called Wildflowers of the Southern Interior of British Columbia. Both Jim and Joan have since passed away but they leave behind a natural legacy for future generations.
In February 2007, the Regional Board decided to close the park after receiving a detailed Forest Health Assessment of its Regional Park system, which specifically mentioned safety issues that were identified relating to aging trees within Woodhaven. Compounding the requirement for hazard tree assessments, naturalists pointed out to the Regional District that Woodhaven was home to at least one pair of Western Screech Owls, an endangered species. Studies were conducted and work plans created to not only reduce the safety threat along trails in the park, but to ensure protection of the sensitive ecosystems and habitat for the owls and other wildlife. The work was completed in the spring of 2009 with the park re-opening to the public on June 19th, 2009.
Here is a link to the Woodhaven Nature Conservancy Regional Park pamphlet There is more information on the pamphlet about the flume.