Hunting and grazing could be allowed in national park

Many opponents fear a park would end hunting on the land or that it would end grazing. They should reconsider.

Dear Editor,

More public presentations on the Okanagan national park proposal were scheduled last week in Princeton and Hedley.

Many opponents fear either that a park would end hunting on the land comprising it, or that it would end grazing.

They should reconsider.

Recent decisions by the federal government regarding two national park projects in eastern Canada indicate that, for better or worse, such concerns may soon be unfounded.

It’s true that the guiding principles and operational policies for national parks have long prohibited non-native hunting, except for transitional periods where locals depended on it for subsistence.

Under the National Parks Act, grazing by domesticated animals is also prohibited.The government, however, is apparently abandoning those guidelines.

In 2010, at the insistence of  Labrador hunters and of the provincial government, it signed an agreement for a new Mealy Mountains national park that, if finalized, will open the park permanently to “traditional” (not “subsistence”) hunting by locals – including the entire population of the greater Happy Valley-Goose Bay metropolitan area. This comprises some 10,000 people, the majority of whom are non-native.

The federal government went further later that year, when it signed an understanding with Nova Scotia to establish Sable Island NP. The island is home to a large number of grazers (horses) introduced in the 1800s.

As alien megafauna which trample its native grasses, spook its nursing seals, and crush its nesting birds’ eggs. Parks Canada’s guiding principles and operational policies are clear that they would have to go when the park is finalized.

Yet in announcing the agreement, the federal minister referred specifically to preserving their presence. There was no science behind it. A significant number of people simply wanted them kept there, and that sufficed.

In short, whatever the “rulebook” says, it’s no longer being applied. There’s not even been any significant push-back from environmental organizations.

Barring an epiphany on the part of Parks Canada before these changes become official, hunting by locals and grazing by exotic species thus look set to become acceptable practices within national parks.

Other heretofore banned activities may, too, if their supporters prove vocal enough.

At this point, any claim that any activity would be prohibited in a future Okanagan national park – or elsewhere – would appear groundless.It’s just a matter of being insistent.

John O’Driscoll

 

 

 

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read