Volunteers at Work!
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.
Rest your weary bones
Using funds raised from the local community, FoBM last year 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.
The RDCO promises that plaques acknowledging FoBM as the donors of the benches will be affixed by mid-August. If you spot these long-awaited plaques, please contact us!
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.
While many area residents continue to enjoy the Black Mountain Regional Park, several initiatives meant to further protect the park, and to steer it towards its much-anticipated grand opening, have been put on hold because of the dangerously dry wildfire conditions.
We, the volunteers at Friends of Black Mountain, decided to postpone our planned fence-mending missions until the fall, on the grounds that power tools could set the tinder-dry grasses alight.
Meanwhile, managers at the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) say that a contract to build three new trails is close to being awarded, but the fire risk means the actual work won't begin until September. Those three trails will run along historic flumes; up to the summit; and create a link between the Joe Rich and Swainson gates via the historic Ski Bowl. According to the RDCO, the contractor who will build these trails will also erect signage along the trails and in the parking lots.
Similarly, the RDCO has placed a temporary hold on plans to build new parking lots and related amenities at the two park gates on Swainson Road and Joe Rich Road. While fire risk is one reason for the delay, the RDCO and its construction contractor are also awaiting results of an archeological study, to ensure no important artefacts would be disturbed.
All this means that the Park's official grand opening has been postponed until 2022.
Even so, the RDCO continues to develop plans and ideas for the park over the longer term. For example, next year it will invite tenders for additional trails, viewing platforms, and further interpretive signage.
And, of course, we at the FoBM will continue our complementary efforts to safeguard this unique natural jewel, while at the same time making it safe and inviting for visitors like you.
Click here to view a current trail map.
How to report concerns...
As you walk, hike or bike around the park, especially during this bone-dry wildfire season, you might see something that concerns you and/or violates park rules. This can include motorized vehicles anywhere within the park boundaries, aggressive dogs or dogs off leash, horses where they're not supposed to be, cattle, or vandalized fences, signs or other park infrastructure.
If you see something wrong, please report it as soon as possible to the RDCO Parks department. Their numbers are:
Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m -- (250) 469-6241
After hours/stat holidays and emergencies only -- (250) 868-5299
If you have photographs documenting your report, RDCO officials will advise you how to forward them.
We thank you for helping keep the park healthy and safe for all.
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.
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 2022. 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.