One of the unique plant communities which would receive increased protection from the Proposed South Okanagan-Similkameen National Park Reserve is the subalpine fir-Engelmann spruce-sagebrush plant association of Mount Kobau. I didn’t even imagine that such an association could exist, since I had considered sagebrush to be a plant of lower elevations. After finding it by accident when I travelled to Mount Kobau, I became curious as to how it came to be. Fortunately, an article from Living Landscapes gives a brief explanation about the development of this plant community: “History and Future of Mid-High Elevation Steppe/Grasslands in the Southern Interior of British Columbia” (see the section on Vegetation History). It seems the first plant communities in the area post-glaciation (eleven thousand years ago) were a mix of sagebrush, grasses and conifers, with the number of conifers increasing over the ensuing two thousand years. The pollen evidence then suggests that steppes of sagebrush and grasses became dominant for the next three thousand years; Living Landscapes mentions the possibility that this is due to an extended period of drought and heat. Stands of conifers have since recolonized the area.
I’ll add another reminder to sign the petition if you’ve not done so but were considering it. As mentioned by K. Oakley in the comment section on Agropyron cristatum, it only takes a minute. I’ll also add that international interest in establishing the park is likely as persuasive to the decision-makers as Canadian interest.