Okanagan Country

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The Okanagan Country, also known as the Okanagan Valley, is a region located in the Canadian province of British Columbia, and the U.S. state of Washington (where it is spelled the Okanogan Country), defined by the basin of Okanagan Lake and the Okanagan River. With an estimated 400,000 residents, the Okanagan Country spans from the Thompson Plateau near Grindrod, British Columbia in the Okanagan to the Okanagan Highland near Douglas County, Washington in the Okanogan. The largest city in the Canadian portion is Kelowna, with 117,312 residents as of 2011, while the largest city in the American portion is Omak, with 4,881 residents as of 2011. The region took its current name in honor of the Okanagan term, ukʷnaqín. The mild climate and close proximity to lakes, rivers and mountainous regions make the Okanagan Country an outdoor recreational destination. The region's economy is dominated by the primary industries of agriculture and forestry, although economic diversification has also occurred with retirement communities and recreational tourism. The American portion is considered to be more remote than the Canadian division, with approximately 10 percent of the population.

Geography[edit]

View of McIntyre Bluff from Highway 97.

The Shuswap Highland and Thompson Plateau, coming out of the unincorporated community of Grindrod, defines the northern border of the region; the terrain here is mountainous and hilly. The southern border is defined by Chelan, Douglas and Grant counties, although portions of these counties lie within the Okanagan Country. The Canada–United States border, which features an official crossing into Osoyoos from Oroville, separates the Okanagan and Okanogan subregions from each other. The Okanagan Highland and Okanagan Basin define the main geographic features, serving as plateau-like hilly areas. The Okanagan River and Okanagan Lake are the most prominent water features in the Okanagan Country, with a combined area of 320 square kilometres (120 sq mi). According to Statistics Canada and the United States Census Bureau, the divided region comprises a total area of more than 40,441 square kilometres (15,614 sq mi), larger than Belgium and Taiwan. The extended region within Chelan, Douglas and Grant divisions make a larger area. The largest municipality by area in the Okanagan Country is Spallumcheen, covering 255.77 square kilometres (98.75 sq mi), making it larger than Seattle by land area. The southernmost community is Electric City, in Grant County. Other geographic features include Alta Lake, Columbia River, Cascade Mountains, Kalamalka Lake, North Gardner Mountain, Mahoney Lake, Mara Lake, McIntyre Bluff, Omak Lake, Osoyoos Lake, Similkameen River, Shuswap River, Skaha Lake, Swan Lake, Tuc-el-nuit Lake, Vaseaux Lake and Wood Lake.


Climate[edit]

Like most of southern British Columbia and central Washington, the Okanagan Country experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk), with little precipitation, hot summers and moderate winters. Northern communities have more precipitation and receive cooler temperatures. Vegetation ranges from cactus and sagebrush in the southern portion, to cedar and hemlock trees in the northern portion. The region was affected by 1872 North Cascades earthquake, the state's largest historical earthquake, on December 14, 1872.[1][2] The center of the earthquake was located at Omak Lake.[3] The earthquake had a magnitude between 6.5 and 7.0 and was followed by an aftershock.[4][5]

Municipalities[edit]

Kelowna, British Columbia
Penticton, British Columbia
Name[6] Type Region Population
(2011)[7]
Percent Area (2011) Density (2011)
(Pop./km2)
Incorporated
Armstrong City North Okanagan 4,815 1.20% 5.24 km2 (2.0 sq mi) 920.0 1913
Barney's Junction Designation Ferry County 146 0.04% 0.30 km2 (0.1 sq mi) 1,452.7 N/A
Barstow Designation Ferry County 59 0.01% 1.55 km2 (0.6 sq mi) 272.7 N/A
Boyds Designation Ferry County 34 0.01% 0.51 km2 (0.2 sq mi) 452.4 N/A
Brewster City Okanogan County 2,386 0.60% 3.08 km2 (1.2 sq mi) 769.0 1910
Bridgeport City Douglas County 2,444 0.61% 2.72 km2 (1.1 sq mi) 885.8 1910
Chelan City Chelan County 3,945 0.99% 16.45 km2 (6.4 sq mi) 238.8 1902
Conconully Town Okanogan County 211 0.05% 0.80 km2 (0.3 sq mi) 261.5 1908
Coldstream District North Okanagan 10,314 2.58% 67.25 km2 (26.0 sq mi) 155.6 1906
Coulee Dam Town Okanogan County 1,107 0.28% 2.02 km2 (0.8 sq mi) 588.8 1959
Curlew Designation Ferry County 118 0.03% 2.07 km2 (0.8 sq mi) 403.0 N/A
Curlew Lake Designation Ferry County 462 0.12% 14.76 km2 (5.7 sq mi) 274.2 N/A
Disautel Designation Okanogan County 78 0.02% 9.80 km2 (3.8 sq mi) 54.0 N/A
Electric City City Grant County 1,004 0.25% 6.06 km2 (2.3 sq mi) 219.8 1950
Elmer City Town Okanogan County 239 0.06% 0.54 km2 (0.2 sq mi) 437.6 1947
Enderby City North Okanagan 2,932 0.73% 4.26 km2 (1.6 sq mi) 690.0 1905
Grand Coulee City Grant County 1,044 0.26% 3.34 km2 (1.3 sq mi) 320.6 1935
Inchelium Designation Ferry County 409 0.10% 68.80 km2 (26.6 sq mi) 6.0 N/A
Kaleden Designation Okanagan-Similkameen 1,224 0.31% 4.32 km2 (1.7 sq mi) 283.6 N/A
Keller Designation Ferry County 234 0.06% 15.28 km2 (5.9 sq mi) 63.7 N/A
Kelowna City Central Okanagan 117,312 29.33% 211.82 km2 (81.8 sq mi) 553.8 1905
Lake Country District Central Okanagan 11,708 2.93% 122.19 km2 (47.2 sq mi) 95.8 1995
Loomis Designation Okanogan County 159 0.04% 2.20 km2 (0.8 sq mi) 72.0 N/A
Lumby Village North Okanagan 1,731 0.43% 5.27 km2 (2.0 sq mi) 301.6 1955
Malott Designation Okanogan County 487 0.12% 1.80 km2 (0.7 sq mi) 685.0 N/A
Methow Designation Okanogan County 68 0.02% 4.70 km2 (1.8 sq mi) 260.2 N/A
Naramata Designation Okanagan-Similkameen 1,647 0.41% 7.99 km2 (3.1 sq mi) 206.2 N/A
Nespelem Town Okanogan County 236 0.06% 0.49 km2 (0.2 sq mi) 479.6 1935
Nespelem Community Designation Okanogan County 253 0.06% 59.90 km2 (23.1 sq mi) 4.2 N/A
North Omak Designation Okanogan County 688 0.17% 29.00 km2 (11.2 sq mi) 23.7 N/A
Olalla Designation Okanagan-Similkameen 401 0.10% 0.49 km2 (0.2 sq mi) 826.3 N/A
Oliver Town Okanagan-Similkameen 4,824 1.21% 4.88 km2 (1.9 sq mi) 990.0 1945
Okanagan Falls Designation Okanagan-Similkameen 1,971 0.49% 2.00 km2 (0.8 sq mi) 840.0 N/A
Okanogan City Okanogan County 2,568 0.64% 5.20 km2 (2.0 sq mi) 505.3 1907
Omak City Okanogan County 4,881 1.22% 9.10 km2 (3.5 sq mi) 545.4 1911
Orient Designation Ferry County 115 0.03% 1.03 km2 (0.4 sq mi) 689.4 N/A
Oroville City Okanogan County 1,698 0.42% 4.35 km2 (1.7 sq mi) 396.9 1908
Osoyoos Town Okanagan-Similkameen 4,845 1.21% 8.76 km2 (3.4 sq mi) 553.1 1946
Pateros City Okanogan County 673 0.17% 1.27 km2 (0.5 sq mi) 525.6 1913
Peachland District Central Okanagan 5,200 1.30% 15.75 km2 (6.1 sq mi) 330.2 1909
Penticton City Okanagan-Similkameen 32,877 8.22% 42.10 km2 (16.3 sq mi) 780.9 1908
Republic City Ferry County 1,093 0.27% 4.12 km2 (1.6 sq mi) 260.5 1900
Pine Grove Designation Ferry County 145 0.04% 1.29 km2 (0.5 sq mi) 697.2 N/A
Riverside Town Okanogan County 282 0.07% 2.56 km2 (1.0 sq mi) 111.5 1913
Spallumcheen District North Okanagan 5,055 1.26% 255.77 km2 (98.8 sq mi) 19.8 1892
Summerland District Okanagan-Similkameen 11,280 2.82% 74.06 km2 (28.6 sq mi) 152.3 1906
Tonasket City Okanogan County 1,038 0.26% 2.07 km2 (0.8 sq mi) 498.1 1927
Torboy Designation Ferry County 49 0.01% 2.58 km2 (1.0 sq mi) 137.0 N/A
Twin Lakes Designation Ferry County 59 0.01% 10.90 km2 (4.2 sq mi) 5.4 N/A
Twisp Town Okanogan County 926 0.23% 3.06 km2 (1.2 sq mi) 300.7 1909
Vernon City North Okanagan 38,150 9.54% 95.76 km2 (37.0 sq mi) 398.4 1892
West Kelowna District Central Okanagan 30,892 7.72% 123.51 km2 (47.7 sq mi) 250.1 2007
Winthrop Town Okanogan County 397 0.10% 2.43 km2 (0.9 sq mi) 161.8 1924

Government[edit]

Population estimates from 2009 and 2011 released by BC Stats and United States Census Bureau indicated that there were over 400,000 residents. The American portion covers 10 percent of the population.[8][7] Federally, the Canadian portion of the Okanagan Country is part of the British Columbia Southern Interior electoral district, while the American portion is part of Washington's 4th congressional district.[9] The Okanagan Country is part of the North Okanagan, Central Okanagan, Okanagan-Similkameen regional districts, and the Okanogan and Ferry counties;[10] however, portions of Grant, Clark and Douglas counties also lie within the divided region.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Walsh, Timothy; Gerstel, Wendy; Pringle, Patrick; Palmer, Stephen. "Earthquakes in Washington". Washington Department of Natural Resources. Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources. Retrieved March 11, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Washington – Earthquake History". United States Geological Survey. November 1, 2012. Retrieved March 11, 2013. 
  3. ^ Weichert, Dieter (April 1, 1994). "Omak rock and the 1872 Pacific Northwest earthquake". Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (GeoWorldJournal). Retrieved March 11, 2013. 
  4. ^ "The 1872 Magnitude 7.4 Washington State USA earthquake". Natural Resources Canada. March 17, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ Bakun, W.H.; Haugerud, R.A.; Hopper, M.G.; Ludwin, R.S. (2002). "The December 1872 Washington State Earthquake". Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (Pacific Northwest Seismic Network) 92 (8): 3239–3258. doi:10.1785/0120010274. 
  6. ^ "British Columbia Regional Districts, Municipalities, Corporate Name, Date of Incorporation and Postal Address" (XLS). British Columbia Ministry of Communities, Sport and Cultural Development. Retrieved December 8, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Sub-Provincial Population Estimates". BC Stats. 2009. 
  9. ^ Washington Redistricting Commission. 2012 Final Plan adopted by the Commission and amended by the Legislature on February 7, 2012 (Map). http://www.redistricting.wa.gov/maps.asp. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  10. ^ "Classified Advertisements". Omak–Okanogan County Chronicle. Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  11. ^ "About the Region" (Map). Okanogan County Tourism Council. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 

External links[edit]