This is what the autumn cattle auction looks like in Okanagan Falls, BC.
I went there in October to speak to some of the ranchers who live in the South Okanagan-Similkameen area of southern British Columbia, near Oliver and Keremeos.
The ranchers are very concerned about a proposal for a National Park which has been underway for about 7 years. If you drive through the area, you can’t miss the NO NATIONAL PARK signs by the side of the highway.
They’re worried a park will threaten their livelihood, because it will mean they’d lose access to crown lands for grazing purposes.
On the flip side, the area is very ecologically sensitive and unique in Canada. It’s a desert-like, arid environment full of endangered species, and park proponents are also concerned – they’re worried that, without a park, development will mean big changes to this beautiful and relatively untouched area.
One of the reasons it’s untouched is because the ranchers and local First Nations have been such good stewards of the land.
But with so much development in the Okanagan Valley, it’s uncertain whether this ecologically sensitive landscape will survive in the long term, and environmentalists say a National Park is urgently needed.
It’s a very complicated situation and the people involved are all very passionate about their particular point of view, whether it’s for or against the park. I put together this report for All Points West on CBC Radio 1 in BC, giving a general overview of this story about a very beautiful and important part of the province in which I live.