Fintry Provincial Park

History

The Park was established April 30, 1996. The estate was purchased in December 1995 and officially became a park in the Spring of 1996. It is one of the few remaining natural areas in the Okanagan that has not yet succumbed to the pressures of growth and development.

The Protected Area was established on April 18, 2001

Cultural Heritage

The small amount of archaeological evidence visible at Fintry suggests that the Shorts Creek delta was a summer fishing camp and was on a trade route through the Okanagan Region. During the 19th century, fur traders for the Hudson’s Bay Company were the first to make contact with the native inhabitants of the valley. The park contains a short section of the Okanagan Brigade Trail.

The Fintry Estate exemplifies the agricultural and settlement history of the Okanagan Valley. It was one of the valley’s early pioneer settlements functioning as a self-sufficient community in the early 1900’s. Fintry’s first Eurocanadian settler was a pioneer steamboat captain, Thomas D. Shorts who established a fleet of freight boats on Okanagan Lake and played an important role in the maritime history of the Okanagan.

In 1909, James Cameron Dunwaters purchased the property naming it Fintry after an ancestral estate in Scotland. He erected many of the heritage buildings which currently exist, including the Manor House, made of stone quarried from the area, the very unique Octagonal Dairy Barn for his Ayrshire cattle, the Packing House, the Gatekeepers House and several farm buildings. Remnants of power generation and irrigation systems are visible along Shorts Creek. The octagonal barn and packing house are possible candidates for national historic designation underscoring their value and the importance of the park.

Conservation

The high importance of the park for conservation is unexpected in an area this size given its immense heritage value. A key feature protected by the park is the Shorts Creek Canyon, which contains many scenic waterfalls. It offers important spawning grounds for kokanee and essential rearing habitat for rainbow trout and eastern brook trout in their first two years of life.

Fintry was important within the historic range of California bighorn sheep with a full range of habitat including escape terrain along the canyon. The park also has class one deer winter range that is used extensively during severe winter conditions.

The old growth cottonwoods along the beach are a red listed plant community. The park offers two dramatically different topographical areas: a delta at the mouth of Shorts Creek dominated by old orchard trees and hay fields, and a forested area made up of mature ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir. Ponderosa pine forest is one of the most threatened forest types because of urban growth and resource development activities and is very sensitive to disturbance. Another rare plant found in the park is the blue listed Okanagan Flame Flower.

Wildlife

Blue listed California bighorn sheep and Townsend’s Big-eared bats are present in the park along with the red listed Western Grebe. Other wildlife is abundant and includes black and grizzly bear, lynx, marten, coyote, moose, white-tail and mule deer, ruffed grouse, northern goshawk, great horned owl, pileated woodpecker. A bald eagle’s nest is found in the cottonwoods south of the Packing House.