Parks Canada has released a working boundary for its proposed national park reserve. The boundaries include areas between Highway 3 and Highway 97. (Parks Canada)
Re: What about the animals?
In response to the recent letter submitted by Michiko Iwagawa Nelson I would like to provide important factual information that the public in this area should be aware of.
Firstly, very large areas contained within the proposed park boundary are already protected to a good degree by BC (provincial) parks, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and the Nature Trust of BC.
Secondly, in the beginning of your letter you refer to a “second group” of individuals who wish to “continue to use the area for their own private use as they presently do.” This statement is incorrect. Non-aboriginal people who go into these areas to hunt and fish are members of the general public and the activities they engage in are not private. Furthermore, these mentioned activities are currently highly regulated by existing legislation to ensure the continued integrity of the various animal species and their respective habitats.
Thirdly, you state that “people with guns and off-road vehicles barging through their (animals) living room and making life and death decisions from a very narrow perspective” insinuates that all hunters and/or off-road vehicle users are uneducated and unintelligent in respect of their behavior in these outdoor areas. Again this is false. In fact, considering that you most likely don’t personally know the majority of individuals you are referring to, your claim is surprisingly arrogant.
Fourthly, to suggest that the areas in question will become “a wasted, barren landscape void of wildlife” should the National Park Reserve not be approved is not only false, it is absurd and completely ridiculous.
Finally, it is also of importance that the public understands that should the Park go through, First Nations peoples will continue to have the right to hunt, trap, and collect firewood in these areas as they currently do as per the Canada Parks Act – Park Reserves – Aboriginal resource harvesting, section 40. They will also be permitted to engage in these traditional activities by utilizing modern tools such as ATV’s or off-road vehicles.
As an Osoyoos area local that has lived inside of the proposed park boundary since 1990, I can assure you that I care very deeply for these wilderness areas that are currently the topic of much debate. Some would like the public to believe that the creation of this Park Reserve is the only way to adequately protect these areas. This is simply not the case as there are most certainly a number of alternatives that can achieve reasonable preservation goals in balance with the continuation of the activities that locals, visitors, and ranchers undertake in these areas.
I am hoping that the public keeps an open mind in respect of these Park issues and does not fall victim to the rampant fear mongering and misinformation that has been and is currently being directed toward them.