Cougar Point overlooks the Fraser River in Edge Hills Provincial Park near Clinton. (Photo credit: Facebook)

Land acquired to expand Edge Hills Provincial Park near Clinton

Park is noted for its grassland areas and several endangered wildlife species

Edge Hills Park near Clinton is one of seven provincial parks and one protected area that will be expanded, following the Province’s acquisition of more than 229 hectares of land.

Through the acquisition of private land, and partnerships with conservation groups, individual donors, the BC Parks Foundation, and supporters, the Province regularly adds land to its parks and protected areas system, which is one of the largest parks systems in the world. The newly-acquired land is valued at more than $2.47 million.

Edge Hills Park — located on the eastern bank of the Fraser River west of Clinton — will see an addition of 65 hectares of land worth $100,000. The land was donated under the federal Ecological Gift Program in order to further protect and enhance the panoramic river canyon views, forested slopes, and grassy benchlands in the park.

The park — which is currently closed due to wildfires — is noted for its grassland and dry forest/grassland transition areas. Grassland plant communities are among the rarest ecosystems in the province, and provide habitat for a large proportion of threatened and endangered species.

The park is managed jointly with Marble Range Provincial Park to protect migration corridors of California bighorn sheep between low elevation winter habitat along the Fraser River, and higher elevation habitat in the Marble Range. Wildlife found in the park includes mule deer, moose, and the occasional black bear. The park protects several rare and endangered species, including the spotted bat, long-billed curlew, California bighorn sheep, and flammulated owl.

Other sites to be expanded include Blue River Black Spruce Park near Blue River and White Lake Grasslands Protected Area near Okanagan Falls.

The Province will now consult with First Nations’ governments about adding these lands to the parks system, and will then undertake a number of additional steps to legally establish them as parks and protected areas.

British Columbia has 1,036 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves, and protected areas covering more than 14 million hectares, or approximately 14.4 per cent of the provincial land base. During the past four years, BC Parks acquired 1,144 hectares of land to expand provincial parks and protected areas.

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