Ospika Cones Purpose Statement, 2005
Ospika Cones Ecological Reserve Purpose Statement and Zoning Plan
Ospika Cones Ecological Reserve protects one of only a few cold water tufa terrace and pool formations in BC. The 1505 ha reserve includes both the mineral springs, and the adjacent area to protect their hydrology. The reserve is situated along a remote section of the Ospika River corridor.
See the complete BCparks PDF file: ospika_cones_er_ps
Several spring areas are scattered over about 2 kilometres along the Ospika River, with the central area of springs, the Ospika Cones, comprising the most outstanding example of limestone mineral formations. The spring complex is comprised of raised limestone cones formed by calcium carbonate deposits from underground springs and filled with various turquoise hues of clear water. The limestone formations and surrounding springs are very fragile and vulnerable to human disturbance. Vegetation around the cones ranges from open wet forest to sedge meadows, and includes dwarf shrub and herb communities and moss turf. Moose and caribou are attracted to wet mineral licks.
Helicopter access is currently the only method of getting to the Ecological Reserve. As the Ospika Cones are a very scenic feature, most of the local helicopter companies have photos of the cones on the walls and it is known that many companies do take clients to see the cones, although it is not known how many actually land in the area. In order to protect fragile resources, no helicopter landing permitted within the reserve except for research or management purposes.
The area was first protected within a recreational reserve (Section 12 Map Reserve). Fear that this provided an insufficient level of protection for this unique and delicate formation led to a recommendation in 1989 for pursuit of Ecological Reserve status. With approval of the Mackenzie LRMP, the area was designated an Ecological Reserve in February 2001.
The primary role of this Ecological Reserve is to protect unique and sensitive mineral springs as a special natural feature.