The Okanagan Region of southern BC is a diverse dryland area of long lakes, open parkland, ponderosa pine and interior Douglas fir forests. The Okanagan's main body of water, Okanagan Lake, has become famous for its alleged unique species, the Ogopogo monster (perhaps a distant relative of the Loch Ness Monster). To date no formal scientific proof has established its existence. But you never know...! Okanagan Lake is one of the longest lakes in the province and its abundant recreational opportunities make it a draw for visitors from all over the world. The hot dry summers in the Okanagan make it a wonderful area for activities such as camping, hiking, picnicking, swimming, fishing and windsurfing.
Since the days of the early setters, the Okanagan's exceptional climate has provided an ideal place for agriculture, fruit growing, settlement, and associated logging. As a result, much of the regions rare low elevation grasslands have been cleared and wilderness remains only in a few parks such as Okanagan Mountain and Cathedral .
Dozens of plant and animal species that occur nowhere else in BC are rapidly disappearing from the Okanagan because of loss of habitat. At this time there are no less than 12 of these endemic species endangered or threatened in the Okanagan. With habitat loss threatening so many species, the area's parks become even more important.
The Okanagan is ecologically unique, as it has the hottest climate in BC and Canada's only true desert. This desert is home to the largest concentration of birds of prey in Canada. Many other unusual birds live in the Okanagan including the sage thrasher, white-headed woodpecker, and burrowing owls. Its lakes and rivers provide crucial wetland habitat for songbirds and waterfowl.