Penticton in Okanagan Valley
Reasons for the Choice
Geographically, Penticton situated between Skaha and Okanagan lakes. Apart from this strategic location, Penticton has many important features which influence its beauty and environmental aspects. This place is basin-like with many hills surrounding it. The hills have different varieties of trees.
The other factor that made this place an ideal choice is its coastal nature. This factor makes it a popular destination for holiday makers. This city is organized properly. Residential homes are landscaped properly by homeowners and this enhances its beauty. Penticton is also the only city that has wild deer that walk freely in an urban setting. This is something that deserves investigation. The site is also ideal due to its wines. Over the years, apple and orchards plantations have formed part of this habitat.
Times and Dates of the Visits
Visits to this place were made between September and mid October. First, Penticton was visited on 17th September, 2013. During this visit, the entire area was surveyed to determine its cultural, physical and other characteristics. During the second visit that was made on 24th September 2013, animal and plant species were observed. Birds, orchard plantations as well as bear behaviors were observed during this visit.
Another visit was made on 30th September 2013. This visit entailed observing the residential areas. On 10th October 2013, the last visit was made. This entailed conducting a general survey of the city. During this visit, resources were gathered to explain the observations that were made during the visits. This entailed conducting library searches as well as face-to-face conversations with experts.
Physical characteristics of your Chosen Site
Being one of the places in Okanagan Valley, Penticton is situated on the southern region of the British Colombia in Canada. Geographically, it is located between Skaha Lake and Okanagan Lake. There are many accounts of the real meaning of Penticton. One account states that the name of this place is an Okanagan word meaning “a place for staying forever” (Hines 15).
Nevertheless, there is another account that states that this interpretation may be due to the fact that Lake Okanagan flows towards Lake Skaha via Penticton region. There are several documents that attempt to explain this name’s origin. Geographically, the coordinates of this place are 49o 29’ 28”N 119o 35’ 19” W/ 49.49111oN 119.58861oW (Sloan 2). The overall area occupies 16.25 sq. miles. The elevation of this region is 1,263 feet (Sloan 2).
Penticton is usually warm and this has led to the creation of several recreation facilities for the public in the region. Hiking has become a vital sport in the region because of the nature of its landscape. There are also several parks that enable people to enjoy the beauty of Penticton. They include Munson Mountain, Rose Garden, Marina Way Park, Gyro Park, Lackawanna Park, Rotary Park, Penticton Youth Park and Rotary Centennial Pavilion. There are also several beaches in the region due to its strategic location which makes it ideal for holiday makers (Langford and Langford 4).
Behavior and/or Physical Characteristics of Animal and Plant Species
Pet Dogs: There are individuals in Penticton who have friendship with dogs and these pets seem to play a vital role in their lives. A close look at the place revealed that several residents walk with dogs in the streets. The color and body sizes of these dogs vary. The number of these dogs indicates that these animals are vital pets among these people. There were people walking in the urban areas alongside their dogs. Nevertheless, residents who chose to walk around with their dogs used chains to avoid causing disturbances among passersby.
After making a second visit to the region, my curiosity to find out why people loved dogs so much was aroused. According to my research, Penticton administration knew how important pet dogs were to the locals. This led to the establishment of laws that would allow people to walk in urban and residential places with their dogs. People are allowed to visit recreational places that include beaches and parks with their dogs. Considering that Penticton is a popular tourists’ destination, walking around with pets adds to its beauty.
Figure 2: A person holding a dog
Urban Deer: There are many wild deer that walk in the residential places in Penticton. You can see them as they roam all over the place. This left me wondering whether the residents were not afraid of the danger that they posed to them considering that they are wild animals. Before inquiring about this, I observed the daily activities of the locals and this enabled me to understand the relationship between these animals and humans.
First, I learnt that human beings in the region maintained a minimum of a 20 meters distance between them and the deer. This enabled the animals to walk freely. It also enabled them to eat what they found edible in the streets. Nevertheless, the animals change their body language abruptly whenever there is a danger. The animals become alert by straightening their ears. They also start leaping as a sign of self-defense.
This is a behavior that indicates that something or somebody has gotten closer to the animal. After inquiring, I learnt that these animals depicted less aggression towards humans from September to October. For instance, a doer is usually aggressive towards the people from May to June. This is their time to fawn. Male deer on the other hand is aggressive from November to December which is the breeding season for these animals.
Recently, urban deer’s population has increased at a rapid rate. This has made them to spread in Penticton as well as its outskirts. These animals are now seen in the residential areas in large numbers because food is available there especially in the farms and orchards. This increase in their population can also be attributed to the fact that there are no natural predators in the urban areas.
Nevertheless, the locals find these animals destructive in their residential setting. As such, some residents have established landscapes that prevent deer from entering their homes. These have planted plants that keep deer away from their home yards. The research also indicated that several homeowners use different techniques to repel and scare deer away.
Nevertheless, Penticton has realized that these animals form a vital part of its natural habitat as well as the environment. Therefore, there are bylaws that have been established to ensure a controlled interaction between these animals and the locals. For instance, people are not allowed to feed the deer. Those who break this law are prosecuted and fined. Feeding deer also entails leaving food in the gardens intentionally so that the deer can feed on it. However, fruits that grow naturally within the gardens are not part of the offence of feeding deer intentionally.
Figure 3: Photo of a deer as it walks in the garden
Bald Eagle: The name of this bird can make you think that it has a bald head. However, this is not so. There are many beautiful lakes and mountains that surround Penticton city. They have a wide range of animals and birds. Among the most conspicuous birds found in this city is the bald eagle that you may see flying over the city any time. These birds commonly fly in the high skies in groups of three or two. Some of them can be seen while perching on tall trees in the residential and urban areas. White and dark feathers cover the bodies of these birds. They have yellow beaks and you can see them as they fly in circles high above the ground.
Bald eagles seem to increasingly dislike the humans’ presence. This can be seen from the way they usually fly high or perch on tall trees. This region might have many bald eagles due to its proximity to the water bodies, Skaha and Okanagan lakes from which they catch fish. Perhaps, this is the reason why the birds are commonly seen flying over the water bodies as well as the coastal places rather than the urban areas.
Figure 4: Photo of a bald eagle on top of a mountain
Penticton has a wide array of plant species. They vary according to the habitat or place where they grow. For instance, the mountainous areas have trees that are commonly found in warm and dry climate. Common trees in such places are sagebrush and cactus as indicated in figure 5. The trees are scattered in the places where there is a dry ground and people can easily see them. Interestingly, there are flowers that people have planted in urban and residential places for beauty purposes. There are landscapes and lawns that also beautify homes together with flowers.
Figure 5: The natural vegetation of Penticton area
While observing the region, I realized that there were areas with planted grass that homeowners bought to use in beautifying their residential compounds. Additionally, there were people who planted flowers in residential gardens as a way of adding beauty in their compounds. An example of flower types that are planted in residential compounds is indicated in figure 6. Figure 7 also indicates plant species that can be found in this region. It is evident that people used irrigation to water plants and flowers in their residential compounds.
Figure 6: Flowers in a landscaped compound
Figure 7: Other trees that grow in Penticton
Cultural Characteristics of the Site
According to the history of Penticton, Thomas Ellis was the first European settler in the region. He was an Irish traveler who visited the region with his family. It is apparent that Thomas established a trend in the area as far as cultural activities are concerned. He began agricultural practices in the region that include cattle breeding and orchard plantations. Incidentally, Penticton is located in the southern region of the Okanagan Valley.
Vegetation that includes Hemlock and cedar trees characterizes the northern region due to its climate. Sagebrush and cactus characterizes the vegetation of the southern region. Thomas introduced fruit planting and cattle breeding in the region regardless of its kind climatic condition. Hines (16) notes that Thomas established the Penticton hotel. This hotel established in 1892 has served as one of the major tourist attractions in this region. Ellis started by planting Apples in the region (Breese-Biagioni 23).
In the western side of Penticton there are mountains that include the Okanagan Highland which has fir and pine growing on them. Okanagan Highland forms the hilly part of this region. It has plateau-like escarpments. Its beauty can be seen from the eastern side where the Monashee Mountains are situated. Thomas Plateau is the highest region of Penticton. Visitors can play ski games from this region. Tourists also enjoy a great view of the region from the Apex Mountain which is a resort for visitors (Sloan 2).
There are rocks that characterize different parts of Penticton and these serve as mountain climbing sites. Rock-climbing sites are found in Skaha Bluffs. This is found in the southern region of the Penticton City (Langford and Langford 4). Facing Skaha Lake is Sandra which is a hillside site. Skaha Bluffs comes second in terms of British Columbia ratings after the Smoke Bluffs that is found in Squamish Breese-Biagioni 23).
Studies have shown that retirees prefer spending time in the beaches of this region due to its serene landscape and weather. Some of the beaches that are found in the region include Okanagan Lake Beach, Three Mile Beach, Skaha Lake Beach, Sudbury Beach and Marina Way Beach. Since dogs form a vital part of the community in Penticton, there are policies that have been enacted to allow people to go to the beaches and parks with their dogs.
Apple and Orchard plantations are found growing in different parts of Penticton. There are commercial and privately owned plantations. The history of this region indicates that the plantations are common in the Okanagan Highlands. Thomas Ellis started the first plantation in the region in the 19th century. However, the natural environment and habitat have been destroyed by urban development. Perhaps, this is why deer population is increasing in the region.
Reflections and Recommendations
Going by the set objectives, Penticton visits were successful. Penticton has a rich culture as evidenced by tourism and agricultural activities that the local people have been participating in since early nineteenth century. Penticton has quality recreation facilities that include beaches, parks and hotels. Its location makes it ideal for holiday makers.
On realizing this, the city’s authorities started encouraging the local people to participate in the efforts that are aimed at maintaining and caring for the environment. Currently, there are bylaws that enhance responsibility among the people when it comes to environmental issues. It is for this reason that humans and deer have continued to co-exist in the city without any interfering with the life of the other. This also adds to the beauty of this city.
Penticton has well-maintained homes which enhance environmental beauty. Evidently, the local people value the beauty of nature. This can be seen from the properly landscaped compounds where flowers grow vigorously. Watching the beauty of the region was an awesome experience.
Planning and development of the Penticton City has been done properly. There is no congestion and more housing has been established to accommodate the increasing population of the people. This has caused destruction of the city’s natural habitat. My recommendation is that the city authorities make efforts to establish tighter laws as a way of ensuring preservation and conservation of the natural environment and habitat. However, Penticton is still a beautiful place where anybody can live and still enjoy different aspects of nature.
Breese-Biagioni, Janelle. Penticton, British Columbia: Silhouette of Four Seasons, Penticton:
Penticton, 1998, June 1. Print.
Hines, Donald. Tales of the Okanogans, Mourning Dove, Fairfield Washington, 1976.
Langford, Dan & Langford, Sandra. Cycling Kettle Valley, Rocky Mountain Books,
2002, March 1. Print.
Sloan, William. “Penticton”. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Web. October 26, 2013