Development of a new management plan for Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park is into its next stage.
Earlier this year the government hosted an information meeting in Vernon, plus a public comment period online.
Keith Baric, the planning section head for the Okanagan for BC Parks, says about 160 online submissions came in plus mailed in comments.
“Some of the key issues were parking concerns, obviously, especially during peak periods, peak season in the park, focused around the Cosens Bay area and at Red Gate.”
Baric says there is quite a bit of support for expansion of parking at Red Gate, but split down the middle on expansion at the Cosens Bay Road gate.
“There is a lot of concern about impacts to the park by creating a new parking area. There is a lot of parking outside the park on private land or land that we could acquire.”
Which, he says presents challenges, because you need a willing seller.
Baric also says the challenge with creating more parking near the Cosens Bay Road gate is there’s not a lot of available land.
There’s quite a bit of steep, rocky terrain to the north and east, which makes it challenging to create a loop in there.
Again, he says the ideal move would be to look at private land across from the park where some arrangement could be made to have parking available.
But he says that’s a discussion to have at a much later date.
Other comments came from the community living at the far end of Cosens Bay Road rejecting any idea of public parking near their area and on how the road is maintained in the future.
Trail development and activities in the park are also mentioned in the public comments, particularly mountain biking.
“Lots of support from the mountain bike community as to their activities in the park, but also some concerns, not just from mountain bikers, but other uses about impacts of mountain biking and other trail use in the park.”
Baric will spend the next few months going over it all.
“I’ll be working on development of a draft management plan, so I take all the public comments, I pretty much read every one of them, and see how we can integrate that in the plan, and we obviously try to come up with a balanced approach into future management of the park.”
It all has to be balanced with preservation and conservation of the high grassland values of the park as well with ecological restoration a large component.
Baric hopes to have his draft plan ready for public consultation this fall.