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Mission Creek

Mission Creek rises at Mission Lake in the Greystoke Mountain Range east of Kelowna and runs about 43 km before emptying into Okanagan Lake. Its watershed covers about 200,000 square km. The creek runs through a wide range of ecosystems from Englemann spruce/subalpine fir/interior Douglas-fir in the upper reaches to the black cottonwood/water birch/dogwood riparian areas typical of the low elevations in the Valley. There are a number of geologic features of note along the creek including the rugged Gallagher Canyon and Layercake Mountain.

It is ecologically significant that Mission Creek is the last remaining place for creek-spawning Kokanee salmon — an Interior species which is in serious trouble. Diking and channeling of Mission Creek within City limits in the 1950's played a large part in this decline, from about 700,000 to 1.2 million fish spawning per year in the creek to only about 30,000 in 1996. Shore spawning is now about 51% of the total Kokanee produced each year. Measures are underway in the channeled part of the creek to improve the habitat for spawning salmon.

Mission Creek was a major source of fish for the Okanagan First Nation and there are many archeological sites remaining along its shores. They also made use of various plant materials found along the creek for food, building materials, and medicines.

European history in the area has also been closely tied to Mission Creek, from the 1859 building of Father Pandosy's mission where the first fruit trees in the valley were planted to early-20th-century irrigation works — remains of which can still be found. The first settlers built along the creek, which was an important transportation route. The waters provided power for a grist mill and gold was found along its banks in the 1800's. Mission Creek has been very significant in the economic development of the area. It has a long history of use for irrigation and domestic water, resulting in the river being highly regulated and managed within the City's boundaries.

There are two regional parks and one community park along Mission Creek and the Central Okanagan Regional District has plans for a trail to the Three Forks (where two other main tributaries join Mission Creek). The Mission Creek Greenway Project has been endorsed by the Friends of Mission Creek and the City of Kelowna, with the mandate of protecting additional lands along the Creek for habitat restoration and public recreation

Proclaimed B.C. Rivers: