The Na­ture of Kelowna

Set against the back­drop of Okana­gan Lake, nat­u­ral spa­ces and wildlife abound

More of Our Canada - - My Hometown - by Brenda Martinson, Kelowna, B. C.

When I was grow­ing up on the north coast of Bri­tish Columbia, we of­ten trav­elled to Kelowna for sum­mer va­ca­tion. My mom grew up in Kelowna and my grand­par­ents also lived here, hav­ing moved from the Prairies in 1941. It was the per­fect place to spend a few hot sum­mer days. The beaches right in town were a favourite spot. We would al­ways go home with cases of fruit for can­ning. Over the years, Kelowna has grown a lot, but it is still known for its beaches and or­chards. Now it is also well known for its winer­ies. My hus­band Bill and I have lived in Kelowna since 1996, but it’s only been in the last five or six years that I have started walk­ing more and ex­plor­ing what I think of as the “na­ture of Kelowna.” Set along the shore of Okana­gan Lake, it is a beau­ti­ful city that has many or­chards, vine­yards, beaches and parks.

I love to take my cam­era and pho­to­graph na­ture in ac­tion. There are many places through­out Kelowna that I visit reg­u­larly— parks, wet­lands, bird

sanc­tu­ar­ies and na­ture trails. The city of Kelowna, the Re­gional District of the Cen­tral Okana­gan and var­i­ous com­mu­nity groups have done a great job of mak­ing these places ac­ces­si­ble and en­tic­ing. It isn’t dif­fi­cult, and you don’t have to travel far to find a peace­ful place to walk, hike and bike in a nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. It’s easy to es­cape street noise and “busy­ness.” Mis­sion Creek Green­way is

a 16.5-kilo­me­tre linear trail that fol­lows the me­an­der­ing of Mis­sion Creek through town, and has many ac­cess points. The ter­rain varies from mostly flat, easy walk­ing through cot­ton­wood and pine forests to a medium-dif­fi­culty stretch through Scenic Canyon that has spec­tac­u­lar views and lots of op­por­tu­nity to en­counter wildlife in the form of wild­flow­ers, bees, but­ter­flies, many bird species, deer, coy­otes and even black bears (also, very rarely, cougar). A high­light of Mis­sion Creek is the late-sum­mer spawn­ing of the koka­nee salmon that live in Okana­gan Lake. At the north end of town is Knox Moun­tain Park over­look­ing Okana­gan Lake, with many trails criss­cross­ing up and down the moun­tain. There are also nu­mer­ous parks, ponds, streams and wet­lands through­out the city that are a na­ture lover’s and bird­watcher’s par­adise!

I feel very thank­ful to live in a com­mu­nity that pro­motes, main­tains and en­hances nat­u­ral spa­ces. ■

Clockwise from top: Bald ea­gle on Knox Moun­tain; par­tial view of Kelowna from Dilworth Moun­tain Park; black bear in Scenic Canyon Park; a cactus in bloom.

At left: a beau­ti­ful sunny morn­ing along a lo­cal canyon trail; koka­nee salmon spawn­ing in crys­tal­clear Mis­sion Creek.

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