Friends of Black Mountain is a non-profit group of volunteers, dedicated to promoting the responsible discovery, enjoyment and conservation of the Black Mountain Regional Park, owned by the people of the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) and co-managed by the RDCO and the Westbank First Nation.
Enjoy the Park
Black Mountain Regional Park, centred on the imposing Black Knight Mountain of eastern Kelowna, is a 640-hectare ecological jewel of the Okanagan. The park, of great meaning to the region's indigenous peoples, has been assembled in stages in recent years. It is expected to open in its entirety in 2021. Over the past five years, our FoBM volunteers have worked hard to preserve the park's unique flora and fauna, while at the same time promoting its responsible and respectful enjoyment by the public.
With the Park set for a full opening this year, the RDCO is preparing two formal entrances with proper parking lots and amenities. In the meantime, we at FoBM are developing a complementary suite of activities, including organizing teams to maintain the trail network and leading interpretive hikes. We're also looking to establish special groups of interested park users, from dog owners and horseback riders to trail bikers and conservationists. So come out and join us!
FoBM Volunteers took advantage of some fine spring weather to launch this year's trail-maintenance program. For four days in April, a dozen hardy souls grabbed rakes, hoes and other tools to clean, clear and smooth the Ephemeral Pond and Coyote Trails.
If you're tired of feeling hemmed in by pandemic restrictions, consider joining FoBM, so that you too can enjoy some fresh air and pandemic-safe exercise. Our next project will involve fixing fences around the park.
A signature FoBM activity involves fostering a healthy and flourishing population of bluebirds. For several years we've installed and monitored nesting boxes to encourage bluebirds to make the park their home. But we're not playing favourites: We love all birds! So visit our Bluebirds page to learn more about our special feathered friends, and check out our Mountain Ecology page to admire the many other raptors, songbirds and other winged wonders that love Black Mountain as much as we do.
Pleased to Report
In our first five years of operation, FoBM is pleased to have chalked up some important successes. We worked with student volunteers to build several kilometres of gravel trails. We engaged in numerous conservation projects to count, monitor and protect natural species. We advocated for the protection of the grassland habitats from ranching activities. And, through our organized hikes and other outreach work, we introduced countless people to the marvels of the park.
Spring brings out the beautiful grassland flowers, as well as the grasses -- and that's where you'll find that annual nuisance, the tick. While our Okanagan ticks generally don't carry Lyme's Disease, they can
nevertheless be unpleasant hitchhikers on your skin, or your dog's fur. So check out our article on "Sticky Ticks", and don't forget that long pants and socks are the easiest way to deter these grasslands critters.
You're most welcome!
The much-anticipated formal opening of Black Mountain Regional Park is slated for later this year, and we at FoBM are excited to show off the growing network of trails taking shape throughout the park. While several of the trails are reserved exclusively for hikers and walkers, others will also be shared by mountain bikers and horseback riders. But please follow all the rules at all times: Dogs must always be on leash; please remove all dog waste, and absolutely no motorized vehicles are allowed.
Click here to view an updated trail map.
FoBM's Annual General Meeting for 2020-2021 took place virtually via Zoom on March 23rd. Mr. Murray Kopp, Director of Parks Services for the Regional District of Central Okanagan, gave the keynote presentation. You can see his presentation here.
Rest your weary bones
Using funds raised from the local community, FoBM recently purchased two park benches through the RDCO. These have been installed along the Ephemeral and Coyote trails at locations carefully selected to invite hikers to rest their legs, gaze across the miles, and contemplate the splendour of this unique ecosystem.
In 2020, RDCO obtained additional federal and provincial funding that is earmarked for the development of two proper park entrances. The rough parking area at Swainson and Treetop Roads will be paved and the current informal access point off Joe Rich Road will also be turned into a formal entrance.
FoBM is helping to create informational and interpretive signage to promote the responsible use of the park. Note that the park can no longer be accessed from Pyman Road, due to the sale of that land to a fruit-growing concern.