Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park

History

Myra-Bellevue Protected Area was established on April 18, 2001 as part of the Okanagan-Shuswap LRMP. In May of 2004, the Protected Area was reclassified as a Provincial Park.

Cultural Heritage

The provincial park contains myriad reminders of the Okanagan Valley’s rich history.
The area protects spectacular Myra Canyon, one of the most scenic sections of the historic Kettle Valley Railway that offers breathtaking views of the Okanagan Valley. In a section just 8.8km long, there are 16 wood-frame trestles, two steel bridges, two tunnels and historic railway sidings, all of provincial significance. Construction camps were located uphill from the railway bed and several small historic items such as “rock ovens” used by Italian stonemasons working on the line, the remains of historic irrigation flumes and telephone lines, water towers, train wreck sites and old station sites also highlight the area.

One of the parking lots is located at the site of the Myra Station which was named for Myra Newman, the daughter of a KVR engineer. All that remains of the house, passing tracks, sidings and elaborate staging structure for loading logs onto flatcars are the foundations of an electrical services shed. The other parking area is near the remains of Ruth Station which was named after one of Andrew McCulloch’s daughters.

The Crawford Trail was constructed at the turn of the century to provide irrigation access to Crawford Lake and, later, to pack supplies to the Little White Mountain lookout. The 1913 trail was the original telephone trail up to Little White Mountain. The Okanagan High Wind Trail is also protected. The summit of Little White Mountain has an old forest service lookout built in 1914 by Dominion Forest Service. The land was traditionally used by Okanagan First Nations people and there is a kekuli site in the protected area.

Conservation

The area conserves and protects unique natural features. The sub alpine meadows and rock escarpment of Little White Mountain are habitat for elk (north aspects). Small stands of old growth Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir, larch, Engelmann spruce and Sub-alpine fir are protected along with some of the most southerly cedar stands in the Okanagan Valley. The warm waters of Angel Springs range between 20-25 degrees Celsius and form 10 metre high benches of tufa deposits, Tufa is mineral formed when water evaporates from lime-rich waters, causing calcite to crystallize. Impurities of iron oxides (rust) cause coloration. Plants, mosses and invertebrates that grow on in are often preserved as fossils as the deposits quickly grow around the vegetation. The protected area also forms part of a community watershed and contributes to the provincial conservation of dry montane spruce ecosystems.

Wildlife

Blue-listed species like Grizzly bear, Spotted bat and fisher may be see here as well as elk, deer moose and cougar and the steep-sided canyons of KLO Creek are home to mountain goats. Bird species found in the area include White-throated swifts, Lewis’s woodpecker, Flammulated owls and Western screech owls. Bellevue Creek is an important source of rainbow trout production in Okanagan Lake and they are found along with prickly sculpins below the falls, and in lower Priest Creek, KLO Creek and in Canyon Lakes.