OSOYOOS – AN OASIS IN THE DESERT
Osoyoos makes an amazing getaway from a busy city life, all within a 4-hour mountain drive from Vancouver. A popular summer family destination for years, this small town in recent years has emerged as a major draw for wine lovers, golfers, cultural travelers, outdoor adventurers and skiers. You can enjoy a wide array of watersports, go fishing in nearby lakes, hike the hills, golf, enjoy many of the wonderful vineyards and so much more!
We stayed in the Safari Beach Resort which is just ideal for families providing a private sandy beach to relax on and for the kids to play. The Resort offers beautiful views of the spectacular Osoyoos Lake, vineyards and surrounding mountains. In the evening the owners start a fire on the beach for the kids offering marshmellows, story telling and a relaxed evening for the parents. The owners are truly wonderful and helpful in everything.
An amazing place to visit is Satary Stables which offers trail rides, a petting zoo, farm tours, an overnight sleep in a teepee, bed & breakfast, horse boarding, arena riding, birthday parties and so much more!! What an amazing place to visit if you have children or just want to go horseback riding and enjoy the beautiful views of the Valley & Anarchist Mountain. The owners are kind with beautiful hearts that love their animals and their land. This season was the first for a petting zoo at Satary Stables and Jack (a two week old and a very handsome donkey) is the newest addition to the family. The owners put all their attention on the children that come and visit the petting zoo and spend a lot of time showing them around and teaching as much as they can. While we toured the farm we couldn’t believe how much all the animals loved their owners. It is an awesome place to visit that offers so much for everyone.
Spotted Lake is another beautiful a bit mysterious and a bit strange place to visit. The lake is a rare natural phenomenon containing one of the world’s highest concentrations of minerals: magnesium sulfate, calcium and sodium sulfates, plus eight other minerals and traces of four more, including silver and titanium. As the summer progresses the lake dries out, its mud forming into white, pale yellow, green and blue circles depending on its mineral composition. Known as Kliluk to the natives of the Okanagan Valley, the lake is a sacred and culturally significant site.
Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, Desert Model Railroad, Road 13 Winery, Desert Centre, Rattlesnake Canyon, Haynes Point Provincial Park are some other fun places to visit while you enjoy your stay in Osoyoos.
Safari Beach Resort – Osoyoos – Okanagan Valley, BC
Satary Stables – Osoyoos – Okanagan Valley, BC
Spotted Lake – Osoyoos – Okanagan Valley, BC
Road 13 Winery & Vineyards – Osoyoos – Okanagan Valley, BC
Road 13 Winery & Vineyards – Osoyoos – Okanagan Valley, BC
BC’s highest diversity of reptiles is found here including 7 species of snakes. Okanagan Valley receives only 12 inches of rain annually. 300 species of birds live here!”
… Osoyoos is located in the desert in the south central interior of British Columbia, approximately 400km east of Vancouver near the border of Washington State. Situated on Osoyoos Lake (Canada’s warmest fresh water lake), in the southern Okanagan valley, the Osoyoos region’s semi-arid climate produces very hot, dry days, resulting in one of the longest growing seasons in Canada and the highest annual average maximum temperature anywhere in the country.
The origin of the name Osoyoos was the word suius meaning “narrowing of the waters” in the local Okanagan language (Syilx’tsn). The chief industries of Osoyoos are fruit production (cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, and apples), viticulture (wine making), and tourism. As of June 2010 the town has over 5200 permanent residents.
Aboriginal people have lived in the Osoyoos area for thousands of years, as evidenced by rock and an oral tradition explaining their history before Europeans arrived to the valley in 1811. The first Europeans to Osoyoos were fur traders working for the Pacific Fur Company, an American enterprise. They ventured up the Okanagan River to Osoyoos Lake and farther north. After the Hudson’s Bay Company took over the fur trade in 1821, the Okanagan Valley became a major trade route for supplies to inland forts of British Columbia and furs that were shipped south to the Columbia River and the Pacific to European and Asian markets. The final Hudson’s Bay Company brigade in 1860 was the end of an era, as gold rushes transformed the economy of the new Colony of British Columbia. As parties of miners headed for the Fraser goldfields via the Okanagan Trail, they commonly met conflict with the Okanagan people. Osoyoos was incorporated as a village in 1946 and became a town in the 1980s.
The Okanagan Basin area around Osoyoos is an area of notable ecological significance. Habitat types include wetland/riparian, grassland/shrub-steppe, coniferous forest, and rugged terrain. This wide assortment of habitats supports extensive biological diversity. Nearly half the bird species in Canada are found here along with many plants that exist nowhere else in North America, or in some cases the world. The far southern reaches of the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys are the far northern reaches of the Sonoran Life Zone and include semi-desert landscape species found nowhere else in Canada, including scorpions. While the area is not technically desert, it is part of a threatened ecosystem in Canada known as shrub-steppe. Specifically, the ecosystem of the area is named after the Antelope Brush plant typical of the local climate. This ecosystem was once more prevalent in the South Okanagan but is now becoming fragmented and degraded due to the spread of agriculture, urban development, and other human activities. Since 2003 there has been an ongoing feasibility study by Parks Canada to determine the need for protection of a large area of grasslands west of the town known as the South Okanagan-Lower Similkameen National Park Reserve Feasibility Study.
While History tells us that grapes have been grown in the South Okanagan as far back as the late 1800’s, it’s only recently that the 100 miles of the Okanagan Valley have gained international attention, as a world-class wine production area. More than 3000 acres are currently under cultivation, producing premium grape varieties. More vineyards are being added each season. The arid climate, with sunny days and cold nights is ideal for the wine industry. The Annual Fall Okanagan Wine Festival presents more than 100 events to enjoy, including winery tours and sample tasting.
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