Osoyoos Indian Band
(This is not a campsite reservations number)
sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ Provincial Park (Okanagan Falls)
- The Province and Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) have agreed that sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ Provincial Park (Okanagan Falls) will be managed by the OIB. Park visitors can expect the same recreational opportunities as before.
About This Park
sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ park is proudly managed and operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band.
sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ park is located within the traditional territory of the Osoyoos Indian Band. Since time immemorial, the Osoyoos Indian Band’s Okanagan ancestors have inhabited and cared for the lands and waters in their traditional territory.
In 2015, the park was renamed to reflect the traditional Okanagan place name for the area. The nqilxʷcən/nsyilxcən place name and history of sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ have been passed down for thousands of years through the oral tradition of capti̓kʷl stories and teachings.
sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ means “little falls.” This place name signifies a connection to the historic Kettle Falls in Washington state. The nqilxʷcən/nsyilxcən place name for Kettle Falls is sx̌ʷnitkʷ or “big falls.” These two falls were two of the most important fishing sites in the Okanagan Nation’s traditional territory.
The place name for sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ contains unique sounds in the nqilxʷcən/nsyilxcen language that are difficult to translate into the English alphabet. The x̌ʷ is a vibrational sound. Think of the sound of water hitting the rocks at the falls. The i sounds similar to “ee.” The kʷ sound is made with a rounded mouth and sounds similar to a soft “coo” sound.
Date Established: March 16, 1956
Park Size: 2 hectares
Special Notes: Park visitors are reminded that the maximum stay is fourteen (14) nights in a calendar year.
Please note that sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ park closes annually the third weekend of September for the Okanagan Nation Alliance’s Salmon Feast. The event raises awareness of Okanagan history and culture, as well as the Okanagan Nation’s efforts to revitalize and restore sockeye salmon numbers in the Okanagan River. Everyone is welcome to attend the celebration, but the campsites are closed to the general public on this weekend. More information is available at www.syilx.org.
Syilx language speaker and Traditional Ecological Knowledge keeper Richard Armstrong shares the Syilx name, meaning, history and cultural significance behind the area known today as OK Falls. https://youtu.be/Zw0IH4BgdwY
| Campground Dates of Operation
All dates are subject to change without notice
|Opening and Closing Campground Dates:
(campground is accessible but may not offer full services such as water, security, etc.)
|April 1 – October 10 (Gate is locked during the off-season.)|
|Campground Dates with Full Services and Fees:||April 1 – October 10 (Entrance gate locked nightly between 11 pm – 7 am)|
|Campground Reservable Dates:||Not applicable|
|Total Number of Vehicle Accessible Campsites:||25|
|Number of Reservable Campsites, if applicable:
(all remaining sites are first-come, first-served)
|Note: The above information is for the campground only. Park users can still walk into the park if conditions such as weather permit. Check the "Attention Visitor Notice" above for park alerts.|
Location and MapsPlease note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Nature and Culture
- History: sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ park has a long history of use by the Osoyoos Indian Band and the Okanagan People. The park is located within the traditional territory of the Osoyoos Indian Band.
sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ park was part of an historic reserve allotment to the Osoyoos Indian Band. The reserve was set aside in 1877 for fishing purposes, but was cut-off in 1913 by the McKenna-McBride Royal Commission to meet settler demands for more land in the region.
In the 1950s, the falls that gave sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ park its name were blasted to make way for a flood control dam.
The present day park was established on March 16, 1956. In 2015, the Province and Osoyoos Indian Band agreed that the Osoyoos Indian Band will manage sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ park.
- Cultural Heritage: sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ park has archaeological and cultural heritage significance to the Osoyoos Indian Band and the Okanagan People. There are several archaeological and cultural heritage sites and landforms within the surrounding area that tell an important story about how coyote brought salmon to the Okanagan People.
For thousands of years, the Osoyoos Indian Band’s Okanagan ancestors used, occupied, lived, camped, traded and fished at sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ. Historically, Chinook, Coho and Sockeye Salmon were fished in abundance at sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ. Today, however, due to extirpated (Coho) and endangered (Chinook) salmon populations, sockeye are the only salmon species fished at sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ.
The cultural heritage values in the park include opportunities for the ongoing continuance of Okanagan culture through traditional, ceremonial and cultural use of the area.
Please help respect and protect this historically and culturally important area by following the park rules and reporting any suspected archaeological or cultural heritage objects to park staff. Park guests are also reminded that Heritage Conservation Act protects all archaeological and cultural heritage sites in the province. This includes intact or disturbed, known or unknown, recorded or unrecorded sites.
- Conservation: This park conserves riparian vegetation that is important habitat for a variety of bird and bat species including the red listed Pallid bat.
- Wildlife: The park offers superb bird watching, with sightings of Western wood peewees, Yellow warblers, Northern orioles and Least flycatchers. There are wildlife viewing, nature study, and photography opportunities here and the park contains habitat for 18 species of bats, one of the highest concentrations in Canada.
Management PlanningManagement Planning Information
- An approved purpose statement and zoning plan for sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ Park (Okanagan Falls) [PDF 116KB] is available online in pdf format.