Big White Mountain Ecological Reserve (#34) Purpose Statement
The 951 hectare Big White Mountain Ecological Reserve lies on the northern flank of Big White Mountain about 42 km east of Kelowna. In addition to the mountain top at 2,315 metres, the Ecological Reserve includes, on the east side, a very small portion of the upper Whitefoot Creek and on the north side the upper-most portion of a tributary of the West Kettle River. The Ecological Reserve abuts Big White Ski Resort which is accessed off Highway 33.
The Ecological Reserve has no direct road access from the ski resort side but the ski area lift terminals are located at several points along the Ecological Reserve’s southern boundary. A logging road terminates on the northern edge of the Ecological Reserve.
Some ski use of the upper portion of the Ecological Reserve from the Big White resort area occurs although it is outside the ski area boundary. In the past the public was invited to use the lifts during special summer promotional efforts which resulted in some hiking use of the upper portions of the Ecological Reserve. The lifts do not presently operate in the summer. The logging road access on the north side has resulted in some snowmobile use of the lower portion of the Ecological Reserve.
The primary role of Big White Mountain Ecological Reserve is to protect a small example of the Engelmann spruce-Subalpine Fir and Alpine Tundra zones in the southern interior. The Ecological Reserve protects old growth stands of Engelmann spruce and sub-alpine fir and high elevation wetlands. It is also representative of the only true alpine in the Northern Okanagan Highland Ecosection with large areas of krummholz. Known rare species include Engelmann’s sedge (Carex engelmannii), Elmer’s Indian paintbrush (Castilleja elmeri), alpine Indian paintbrush (C. rhexifolia) and alpine-wintergreen (Gaultheria humifusa).
See the complete pdf file from BC Parks : big_white_er_ps(1)