Christina Lake’s Gladstone Provincial Park is now six hectares larger, after the province bought two private lots at the north end of the lake for $1.74 million.
The shoreline properties were the only two privately held lots in the Sandner Creek basin in the park, which is used by 70 per cent of stream-spawning kokanee in Christina Lake, a species that has seen its population decline in recent years.
“It’s a jewel of a paradise,” Christina Lake Stewardship Society president Jeff Olsen said of the land acquired by the province. “It’s nice to see that the government is taking a forward-looking approach,” he added.
Beyond the impacts that protecting the land from development will have on the fish, Olsen explained, allowing the six acres to return to their natural state may help support other plants and animals, like the local painted turtle, which is currently listed as a species of “special concern” under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.
Olsen said that by removing human habitation from the site, the province’s purchase will “guarantee that those lands [are relieved of] existing pressures,” such as heavy human traffic and habitat interference.
BC Parks has yet to determine what will become of the new public lands — whether they’ll be used for camping or host walking trails is unconfirmed now — but in the meantime, the previously private beaches will now be open to public use.
Looking forward, Olsen said, “The best thing to do is to just leave nature to itself” and watch the area grow and change as species try to thrive.