May 28, 2011
One of Penticton’s favorite tourist activities is a lazy summer afternoon’s float down the “Channel Parkway” – which is, in reality, the Okanagan River. Back in the day, the river meandered here and there across the low-lying areas between Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake. While this was very picturesque and natural, it unfortunately occupied a rather large portion of the limited amount of land. And as rivers are wont to do, the meanders had a tendency to change their courses over time, as well as flood occasionally.
Thus, the fathers of Penticton, in their infinite wisdom, chose to create a nice straight channel from one lake to the other, cutting off those nuisancy (is that a word?) oxbows. This created an excellent stretch of slowly flowing water for channel-floaters, with a nice straight stretch to put in a highway bypass for those in too much of a hurry to drive through town. The cut-off oxbows have also created a narrow “green space” between the highway and Penticton’s western residential areas, much appreciated by local waterfowl looking for nesting grounds and mosquitoes in search of still water in which to deposit their larvae.
These ox-bows are also a great place for a pleasant walk on a lazy afternoon. The area featured in today’s photos is easily accessed by walking to the western end of Kinney Avenue, and then either turning south along a shady trail, or if you are a wee bit more adventuresome, trekking north through dimly marked footpaths. There is also, incongruously, a gate along the metal fence on the west side of the trail, and if you go through it, and scramble up a small slope, you’ll find yourself standing on the edge of the highway.
At any rate, whether you choose north or south, you’ll be surprised at how peaceful and wild this little green space, tucked between residential areas and a busy highway, truly is. Here’s a sample of what you’ll see.