FOSS acknowledges and supports the following community stakeholders, working collaboratively with them to protect and enhance the South Slopes:
The Central Okanagan Land Trust (COLT) was formed in 1990 by the Central Okanagan Foundation as an independent Board, specifically to accept and manage either gifted land or donations of money to purchase land, support wildlife protection, and habitat enhancement. COLT works in collaborative partnerships with local and provincial governments, businesses, private donors, foundations and community conservation groups to acquire natural lands and wildlife habitat, becoming stewards of these lands in support of a healthy biodiversity in the region. FOSS works with COLT regarding land stewardship and exploring options available regarding securement of properties considered key to overall connectivity on the South Slopes.
Based in Kelowna, CONC is a group interested in birds, botany, cycling, hiking, and snowshoeing. They organize a variety of weekly activities and hold monthly meetings which often include presentations on topics of special interest to the Club. A few active or retired professionals produce scientific articles, and many members participate in local, regional, and provincial bodies having shared interests. The Conservation Committee, and members of CONC in general, are concerned with the preservation and restoration of natural areas in the Central Okanagan and beyond; this particularly applies to wetlands. CONC is involved with annual Bird and Critter Counts on the South Slopes and other areas, does botany surveys, plants native plants, and provides input to the City of Kelowna and the RDCO regarding park planning. FOSS considers CONC a vital link in preserving and protecting the natural world in the ‘green belt’ above the City.
The Society was incorporated in 1996 and immediately set out to find the funding to acquire the land to develop a Greenway Trail along Mission Creek, as it cuts through the City of Kelowna to connect to the Regional and Provincial Parks’ trail system on the South Slopes of the City (Scenic Canyon and KLO Creek Regional Parks and Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park, and the Myra Canyon railway trestles – now under the FOSS mandate). The Society is involved with the preservation, conservation and rehabilitation of Mission Creek and its environment, and continues to assist in the acquisition of lands to be dedicated as part of the Mission Creek park system. Well-travelled year round by walkers, hikers, runners, cyclists and equestrians, the Greenway, when complete, will be 26 kilometres in length, from the shore of Okanagan Lake to Mission Creek Falls, east of the City boundary.
Joe Rich Land Conservation/Trail System
FOSS has met with the Co-chair of the Committee, studying trail maps of the Joe Rich and South Slopes systems to determine existing/possible links and connectivity; future consultation is important and anticipated.
MTBCO is a progressive, volunteer-driven, non-profit association, with a mission to lead sustainable and inclusive mountain biking opportunities in and around Kelowna. The Directors are community members who are dedicated to MTBCO’s goals to build, maintain and advocate for mountain biking in the Central Okanagan. MTBCO organizes trail maintenance days (in Gillard, Crawford and Knox), Advance Wilderness First Aid courses, member group rides and socials, and fun and inspirational events. MTBCO, and mountain bike enthusiasts and related businesses, engage with FOSS volunteers to assist with trail maintenance responsibilities and host special events in the Parks.
BCHBC is an organization that provides equestrians, who are interested in trail riding and the back country, with a safe and social learning atmosphere where people of all ages can participate, the various Chapters across the Province organizing numerous clinics and group rides. Many horseback riders share the South Slopes with hikers and cyclists. Like FOSS, through collaboration with individuals, government, business and all recreational users of public lands, the organization strives to preserve and enhance the opportunities. BCHBC has generously contributed to and volunteered with FOSS on major trail improvement projects (ie. Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park/Wildhorse Canyon and the Angel Springs parking lot on the Little White Forest Service Road).
Since 1954 COSAR has been providing Kelowna and surrounding area with a team of highly trained volunteers committed to helping those in need of assistance in the backcountry. The team consists of around 80 volunteers who have been trained in first aid, rope, wilderness and helicopter rescue. Their services have been employed many times on the South Slopes. FOSS has identified an area in Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park, below the KVR and near Bellevue Access Trail off the Little White Forest Service Road, that can serve as a natural heli-pad in case of emergencies. COSAR members have volunteered many hours and needed equipment to assist FOSS with significant trail maintenance projects (ie. Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park).
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The OCCP is a partnership of government, First Nations, industry, academic and environmental organizations, established to coordinate and facilitate conservation and stewardship efforts on public and private lands, set conservation and stewardship goals and objectives, and generate the support and resources needed to maintain this effort.
FOSS is honoured and privileged to work with the OCCP, and sits on the Stewardship and Land Securement Committees. One project is of particular interest: The Central Okanagan Ecosystem Connectivity Corridor initiative involves what FOSS refers to as the “South Slopes Greenbelt” that boasts the vast trail system FOSS is working to complete, preserve and protect. This project has brought together all stakeholders to identify and implement actions to protect a major ecological wildlife corridor in the Central Okanagan. The resulting 65km by 1km corridor runs from Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park to Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, and includes many of the trails on our higher slopes.
“We speak up for the outdoor places where we live and play.” The ORCBC works on behalf of 70 provincial and regional member organizations (of which FOSS is one), as well as the general public, to support enjoyable and respectful outdoor recreation opportunities for all. The organization publishes reports and information and hosts events and webinars to educate the public and members about issues facing the outdoor recreation community and some of the steps that can be taken to tackle these challenges. ORCBC coordinates and promotes BC Trails Day each year on the first Saturday of June, part of an international celebration of Trails Day worldwide, celebrating our Province’s stunning trail system. Groups and communities are encouraged to host local events; FOSS has participated in the past, and is busy planning for June 3rd in 2023!!
Kelowna Community Residents and Businesses
FOSS takes collaboration very seriously, responding to and working with community members at large, sharing their concerns and interests with the appropriate government agencies and stakeholder groups – to achieve our mutual goal of making the South Slopes outdoor experiences the very best they can be, while preserving our natural environment, for now, and in the future.