From the precious marshlands to the soothing waters to the western painted turtles basking in the sun

From the precious marshlands to the soothing waters to the western painted turtles basking in the sun

Champion Lakes – a hidden gem

Nestled next to the Bonnington Range of the beautiful Selkirk Mountains lies one of the least publicized members of BC Parks’ vast network.

Nestled next to the Bonnington Range of the beautiful Selkirk Mountains lies one of the least publicized members of BC Parks’ vast network.

Champion Lakes is rich in cedar, hemlock, and boast of an ecological balance between marshlands and dry lands.

Established as a provincial park in1955, the park is named after James W. Champion a fruit rancher in 1910. He was reported to have lived on a settlement southwest of Marsh Creek called Champion Siding.

Champion Lakes lies in the traditional territories of the Okanagan, Ktunaxa, Kinbasket, and Sinixt first nation’s territory.

While early settlers enjoyed the fishing and recreation provided by the chain of three lakes, the area’s rod and gun club stocked the three lakes during the 1930s and 40s with lake trout, and improved the hiking trails.

Richard Green, president of the Nelson Rod and Gun Club said there are no records of which area club stocked the lakes decades ago.

Today there are over 6.5 km of trails that encircle the three lakes and accommodate both hikers and mountain bikers.

A diverse range of wildlife inhabits the area and both the marshlands and dry lands of the Park support this wildlife. It is not uncommon to see black bear, moose, mule deer, and white tailed deer.

The first lake can be accessed east of the second and third lake by maintained hiking trails. The unique shape of the second lake and third lake create the public beach area. A shallow channel joins the two lakes at the east end of the second lake.

The park can be enjoyed year round from swimming and camping in the summer, to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter.

The Beaver Valley Cross Country Ski Club maintains the ski trails in the winter.

BC Parks is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2011 and has grown to one of the largest park systems in the world. It all started at Strathcona Provincial Park located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia in 1911.

BC Parks will be holding centennial celebrations throughout the season.