New Biosphere Designation Outlines Conservation as Key Part of Sustainable Tourism in the South Okanagan-Similkameen

Builds on the recent announcement by First Nations, Federal and Provincial Governments to establish a National Park Reserve

Thursday, November 2, 2017

British Columbia – The South Okanagan-Similkameen National Park Network welcomes the announcement of the Biosphere Destination Certificate for the Thompson Okanagan Region. The Park Network has long been an advocate for sustainable tourism in the Region, as an economic driver compatible with conservation.This is the first Biosphere Destination Certificate in the Americas.

“This region has extraordinary beauty, yet the grasslands are extremely vulnerable,” said National Park Network Coordinator Doreen Olson. “We are pleased to see our community acknowledged for its’ sustainable tourism and congratulate Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association for bringing global attention to our region. This designation builds on the recent announcement of a renewed establishment process for a National Park Reserve.”

“A National Park Reserve is central to a sustainable tourism strategy which would benefit the local economic, social and cultural values,” said Bruce Passmore, Executive Director for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, B.C. Chapter. “Together these two recent announcements show progress and commitment to building green jobs and a sustainable economy in B.C.”

This designation will serve as a guiding principle, holding that the region must actively ‘contribute to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems and biodiversity,’ according to the Biosphere Tourism website. Olson explained that, “today is a great day to live in the Okanagan. Not only have we been recognized for the amazing landscape which surrounds us, but also our commitment to preserving the land, wildlife and local cultures for future generations.”

“Not only is this day a landmark to be celebrated,” continued Olson, “it is a pledge to continue to build in ecologically and socioculturally responsible ways. The commitment made by leaders from the Okanagan Nation Alliance, Federal and Provincial Governments last week has potential to build the local green economy through sustainable jobs and unparalleled land protection that will ensure the Region holds true to the values outlined in the Biosphere Destination Certificate.”

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For interview:
Doreen Olson, Coordinator – South Okanagan Similkameen National Park Network

Bruce Passmore, Executive Director – Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – BC Chapter
904-685-7445 x23