NDP MLA Harwinder Sandhu says expanded Echo Lake Provincial Park will protect biodiversity and increase outdoor recreation opportunities for British Columbians

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ECHO LAKE – New Democrat MLA Harwinder Sandhu says people in British Columbia can look forward to an expanded Echo Lake Provincial Park that will protect local species habitat for generations.

“Whether it’s for a swim, paddle, or to catch trout or kokanee, people in the Okanagan love getting out to Echo Lake to spend the day,” said MLA Sandhu. “We’re adding more area to the park, including foreshore, to protect crucial fish habitat and ensure this park and all the species that rely on it are around for generations to continue enjoying.”

65 hectares will be added to Echo Lake Provincial Park through Bill 17 – 2021: Protected Areas of British Columbia Amendment Act, 2021. With clear turquoise water and excellent fishing for rainbow, lake trout and kokanee, Echo Lake is a popular destination for anglers in the Okanagan. The addition includes lake foreshore that will improve protection of the tree-fringed lake and riparian areas that are critical rainbow trout rearing and feeding habitat. The total area of this park will now be 219 hectares.

In addition to the expansion of Echo Lake Provincial Park, Bill 17 creates a new provincial park on Southern Vancouver Island, renames two existing Provincial Parks with their Indigenous names following consultations with the local Indigenous communities, and adds over 2,258 hectares of land and/or foreshore to eight other provincial parks and one conservancy. It also includes boundary modifications to enable land exchanges and make administrative corrections to five other parks and conservancies.

British Columbia is home to one of the largest park systems in North America, with 1,036 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves, and protected areas covering more than 14 million hectares or approximately 14.4% of the provincial land base. Amendments to the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act are regularly required to add land to parks and conservancies, modify or correct boundaries and improve boundary descriptions.

Learn more: Conservation, culture at the heart of newly protected areas