Christie Mountain fire closes wildlife area
Effective immediately, areas damaged by last year’s Christie Mountain fire in the McTaggart-Cowan/nsək’łniw’t wildlife management area (WMA) will be closed for all public use.
A fire on Christie Mountain in 2020 had severely damaged a portion of the McTaggart-Cowan/nsək’łniw’t WMA. In response to this vulnerability, the damaged area is now closed to the public. In addition, the entire WMA is closed to mushroom picking, camping and motor-vehicle use.
While wildfire is a natural part of the landscape and important in maintaining productive wildlife habitat, recently burnt areas are highly sensitive and vulnerable to impacts from public use. This temporary closure will continue until the threat to wildlife and the habitat are lessened.
This closure does not apply to most uses where a legal permit or tenure has been obtained or to Indigenous uses for food, social, cultural or ceremonial activities. The Penticton Indian Band and the Province are working collaboratively to assess and monitor public use in the WMA following the wildfire.
WMAs are established in British Columbia for the benefit of regionally or internationally significant fish and wildlife species or their habitats. The McTaggart-Cowan/nsək’łniw’t WMA, located between Penticton and Okanagan Falls, was established in 2013 to protect habitat for at-risk bighorn sheep.
The area is known as nsək’łniw’t in the Okanagan/syilx language. In English, this syilx placename refers to the gash on the side of the mountain and describes an important syilx Nation trail. The area has been protected by the syilx people since time immemorial and holds significant cultural value.
McTaggart-Cowan/nsək’łniw’t wildlife management area:
McTaggart-Cowan/nsək’łniw’t WMA post-wildfire assessment:
Mushroom picking on public land: