The Kimberley Nature Park Society is a non-profit charitable organization created to protect, steward and promote the Kimberley Nature Park. Membership is open to all, and we currently have about 300 members. We maintain the trail system and signage, carry out ecological inventories, design educational programs, organize and lead free guided walks, control invasive species, and help review interface fire/ecological restoration treatments.
The KNPS vision statement is:
To provide a setting that promotes respect and understanding of nature.
This vision includes a number of conservation, education, and recreational goals.
Make conservation of soils, waters, flora, and fauna a top priority
Protect rare, threatened or endangered habitats and species
Maintain the park in its natural state with trails, bridges, and signs to facilitate use
Monitor the impacts of human activity
Develop a comprehensive inventory of natural and cultural features
Record and understand historical use by the Ktunaxa people
Implement fire, pest and noxious weed management plans for the area
Foster understanding and respect for natural processes and biodiversity
Develop the park as an outdoor classroom
Expand the park’s role in research and education programming
Cultivate partnerships with schools, colleges, and the scientific community
Maintain a network of safe, clearly marked trails
Encourage year-round day use for non-motorized forms of recreation
Support organized recreational activities and events
Provide some access for those with disabilities and special needs
Discourage overnight camping
KNPS Board of Directors 2023
President - John Henly
Vice-President - Laura Duncan
Treasurer - Ingrid Musser Okholm
Secretary - Heather van der Hoop
Director - Graeme Donaldson
Director - Dave Hale
Director - Gary Hicks
Director - Jen McConnachie
Director - Laura McKenzie
Director - Frank O’Grady
Director - Kevin O'Neill
Director - Jean Terlesky
Director - Mitch Tom
Conservation and Education: Biological inventory, education and outings (within natural history group), outreach (outside of Natural History), invasive plant control, Horse Barn Valley
Communication, Park Promotion and Events: Membership promotion, monthly guided events (organization, advertising, hike leaders), t-shirt sales, general park promotion/outreach, special events (winter market, fall fair), webmaster, blog writing and editing, Facebook editor, Instagram manager
Trails and Structures: Trail maintenance, kiosk maintenance, trail sign maintenance, firewood salvage, trail guide sales and updates, memorial bench coordination
Administration: Monthly meeting organization and chairing, admin (insurance, societies registry, etc.), Management Plan updating, liaison with city, liaison with fire chief/contractors re: fuel management, financial recording and reporting, charities tax return, membership tracking/recording, grant writing, checking post office box
Horse Barn Valley: many of the above roles repeated
Interface Fire Mitigation: Liaison with Ministry of Forests and Logging Contractors on mitigating the risk of wildfire and aiding in ecosystem restoration
Gateway to Nature Video
The Kimberley Nature Park Society (KNPS) was established and registered in 1987 as the Kimberley Wildlife Sanctum Society. For a number of years members of a local environmental group, Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC), had been lobbying for the creation of some kind of nature preserve using land that had been incorporated into the city limits in the 1970s. The new society took up that cause and worked to improve the trail network and signage, learn about the ecology of the area, and lobby local government to create a park on the west side of town.
In 1994 the Wildlife Sanctum Society name was changed to Kimberley Nature Park Society, but it was not until the end of the 1990s, after the creation of the Trickle Creek Golf Course and after land for the Forest Crowne residential development had been set aside, that the boundaries of the park could be established. The City of Kimberley officially endorsed the park in its official community plan and in 2001 applied to the province for a License of Occupation on more than 800 hectares of land to be used as a community nature park.
One of the requirements of the license was the creation of a detailed management plan. That work fell to the KNPS, and over an 18-month period with much community consultation the first Kimberley Nature Park Management Plan was created. Since that time the society has continued to protect, promote and enhance the park. The trail network has been expanded, signage has been improved, detailed trail maps have been created, information kiosks have been installed, the management plan has been updated, and the inventory of flora and fauna has been further developed.
Historical Land Use
The land that comprises the Kimberley Nature Park was shaped by ice and water at the end of the last glaciation period almost 15,000 years ago. The earliest human use of the park area was by the Ktunaxa people, who have lived in this valley since shortly after the ice age ended. We don't know a lot about their use of the area, and we hope to learn more in the years ahead. We know that they picked berries on North Star Mountain and may have hunted in the area. At least one archaeological site – a chert quarry for spear-point material – exists in the park, and more may be discovered.
Early European settlement brought exploration for minerals; many trails in the park are remnants of old mineral exploration roads. Some of the earliest productive mine workings in Kimberley were on North Star Mountain, and a number of sites in the park have exploratory shafts that were dug and abandoned when no high-quality ore was found.
Logging also took place in the early part of the 20th century. Some of the trails we now use for hiking and biking were built by loggers to access stands of trees. Old stumps with notches for their springboards can be seen in parts of the park, and it is interesting to note just how big some of those trees were in comparison to the trees currently on those sites.
Ski jumping became popular in Kimberley at the beginning of the 1930s and a large ski jump was constructed on the hill above Lower Blarchmont. The top of the jump was located on what is currently Ponderosa Trail, and the run-out at the bottom was where the Overwaitea grocery store is now located. Until 1938 the facility was well-used by jumpers from across western Canada, and by some Europeans. About that time the first downhill skiing facility was constructed on Myrtle Mountain, and a ski lodge was built at the base (at what we now call Myrtle Junction) by the Kimberley Ski Club. The log building included a large stone fireplace to warm tired skiers. There was no tow at the Myrtle Mountain ski hill – skiers hiked up and skied down. A generator supplied electricity for lighting, and even then there was some night skiing. The hill was used during the war years in the late 1930s and early ‘40s, but after the war the increasing popularity of the sport required a move to the much-larger North Star Mountain where the current resort is located. The old lodge remained at the site until the 1960s when it was dismantled and moved to Meadowbrook, just outside Kimberley.
Reorganization of the military at the end of the Second World War saw the establishment of the 8 Field Engineer Regiment, which had five squadrons across Canada. One of these, the 17 Field Squadron, was located in Kimberley and it created the Army Road in part to access a rifle range just past Myrtle Junction. Remnants of the range, including a number of berms that were built as shooting platforms and the concrete footings of the target frames, can still be seen although they are now largely overgrown with vegetation.
A detailed discussion of the geology and topography of the park can be found on our Geology page.
Invasive Plant Control Program
The Kimberley Nature Park Society has been working since 2003 to control or eradicate infestations of non-native invasive plants that are threatening the park's ecosystems. Plants such as spotted knapweed, blueweed, dalmation toadflax, and houndstongue have been inadvertently introduced to our region from other parts of the globe. In their home areas, the population of these plants would be kept in check by a variety of insects, fungi and diseases, but here in the nature park those control agents don't exist and the plants can multiply exponentially, overwhelming other vegetation.
The KNPS has been working with the City of Kimberley and the East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council to identify areas in the park that have infestations and to apply appropriate treatments. When patches are dense and growing in hard-packed soil, herbicide treatments are applied. When plants are scattered or on loose, gravelly soils, hand pulling is the preferred option. Sunflower Hill is a major focus of our efforts, and every summer in July or August we host a number of volunteer work parties to pull and bag spotted knapweed and other invasive species.
For more information or to report an invasive plant species, visit East Kootenay Invasive Species Council.
Firewood Salvage Program
Trees killed by mountain pine beetle or other causes stand for a number of years until their roots decay, and then they fall to the forest floor. In addition, windstorms and heavy snowfalls often break or uproot trees and throw them to the ground. When these trees fall across trails in the park, volunteers from the KNPS use chainsaws to remove the portions blocking the trails, and every fall the KNPS coordinates the salvage of this wood by members of the public who require firewood. Removing the wood from the park reduces the fire hazard and prevents the buildup of large quantities of debris.
Community members with pickup trucks (and chainsaws if possible) can contact the KNPS to be put on the firewood salvage list. In late summer and throughout the fall, a KNPS volunteer will contact the people on the list and arrange to have five or six trucks meet at a park entrance and be escorted to an area with material to be salvaged. The number of work parties varies each year with the amount of blowdown, but in a peak year almost 100 truckloads of wood will be removed from areas where access by pickup truck is possible (along the park's main roads). While the KNPS facilitates access to the park and ensures that no inappropriate cutting occurs, we do not take responsibility for the safety of participants. A waiver form must be signed by the woodcutters, along with a free provincial permit for firewood.
To register for the firewood salvage list, please contact us.
The Kimberley Nature Park is a great outdoor classroom. Every year in June volunteers from the Kimberley Nature Park Society take Grade 6 classes from McKim School on tours to explain the park's values and features. The Selkirk Secondary School outdoor education class mounts a winter camping expedition to Dipper Lake each year to learn winter survival skills. As well, individual teachers and classes from a variety of schools take field trips to more accessible spots in the park, such as Eimer's Lake and Sunflower Hill, to study flora and fauna. The KNPS encourages use of the park for outdoor education, and invites teachers and students to submit proposals for other learning opportunities.
To propose a school outing in the Kimberley Nature Park, please contact us.
Interface Fire Management and Ecosystem Restoration Program
Forest fires have been a significant factor in the Kimberley Nature Park for many centuries. Visit our Interface Fire page to learn more about this program.
In 2012, the provincial government offered the City of Kimberley a 30-year renewal of its License of Occupation for the Kimberley Nature Park. As a requirement of that renewal, an updated management plan was developed by the KNPS and approved by the City of Kimberley. In 2019 the KNPS reviewed that management plan and updated the goals and action items which were subsequently approved by the City.
NEW 2019 KNP Management Plan
Appendix A. License of Occupation
Appendix B. Consultation Process Summary
Appendix C. City/KNPS Memorandum of Understanding
Appendix D. Invasive Weed Control Plan
Appendix E. Ecosystem Restoration and Fuel Management Plan
Appendix F. Organized Events & Activity Screening Process
Appendix G. Trails and Signage
Appendix H. Search and Rescue Preparedness Plan
Appendix I. Fire Emergency Preparedness Plan
2012 KNP Management Plan
Appendix A. Official Community Plan Map
Appendix B. Consultation Process Summary
Appendix C. Copy of City/KNPS Memorandum of Understanding
Appendix D. Invasive Weed Control Plan
Appendix E. Ecosystem Restoration and Fuel Management Plan
Previous versions of the Kimberley Nature Park Society Management Plan can be found below:
The Kimberley Nature Park Society holds regular meetings eight times a year and an Annual General Meeting in November. The regular meetings are held on the last Thursday of each month at the Kimberley Community Church at 105 Howard St. at 7 pm, though meetings in early 2023 will be held on Zoom due to directors being out of town. We do not hold meetings in July, August or December. All KNPS members are welcome to attend the meetings and participate in the discussion and decision-making.
You can access minutes from past meetings below. Minutes of the most recent meeting are subject to approval at the subsequent meeting.
The Kimberley Nature Park Society would like to thank the following people for contributing photographs to this webpage and gallery: John Allen, Flo Brokop, Julie Anne Davies, Cliff Erven, Margaret Fong, Chris Ferguson, Frank O'Grady, Kent Goodwin, Lyle Grisedale, Perry Keijzer, Hilde Kirrmaier, Struan Robertson, Larry Tooze, Jim Webster, Irma de Visser.