BC Nature has announced the opening of a new public viewing facility (bird blind) at Vaseux Lake Wildlife Refuge. This three-storey, architect-designed structure, situated at the end of the trail and boardwalk leading from the parking lot, replaces one built in the 1990s.
The greater floor space, internal stairway, and differing configuration of the three levels provides visitors with a variety of views and possible ways to use the blind.
Located on Crown Provincial land, the facility allows the public to enjoy the Refuge in comfort and with minimal disturbance to birds and other wildlife. They are also excellent means of public conservation education through interpretive materials, tours, and youth programs.
From the top covered deck, one has a panoramic view of the lake, cliffs and surrounding grasslands. The second level is enclosed with shutters over openings at various heights and a door; this protects visitors from inclement weather, especially in winter, and deters rodents from moving in, a problem in the old blind.
The entry level, which is wheelchair accessible, is slatted (another rodent deterrent) with rectangular openings to the south and west.
Located on Crown Provincial land, the new blind has been a project of the Important Bird & Biodiversity Area program of BirdLife International, run in this province through BC Nature.
Headed by the Vaseux IBBA volunteer Caretaker, Eva Durance, a team of staff from provincial and federal governments, The Nature Trust of BC, the IBA Coordinator, and a member of the South Okanagan Naturalists Club put together over four and a half years this complex project.
With generous support and assistance from both levels of government, non-profit organizations, local businesses, and interested individuals, the necessary funds, permits, design, and other requirements were put together by summer, 2016.
In late August, the Nature Trust summer crew and volunteers dismantled the old blind, Creando Construction, Kaleden, began the rebuilding in mid October and the blind was completed this March.
The official opening was held Friday afternoon at the Vaseux Lake Wildlife Refuge parking lot.