During our stay in the Okanagan our friends took us to the Desert Centre, Osoyoos in the South Okanagan valley. Much of the area in the valley was desert. But due to agricultural development, growth of wine production and a large influx of people choosing the valley as home, most of the unique desert has been lost. “The Osoyoos Desert Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of the endangered antelope-brush ecosystem” (from the Desert Centre brochure. The result is a beautiful oasis of desert (sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it).
The desert is an abundance of life – flora and fauna, reptile and insect, it’s a wonderland.
The centre has a small but interesting natural history museum that is worth visiting before setting out on the trail. The centre offers daily interpreter led tours. We arrived after the last tour of the day but enjoyed strolling at our own pace. We were guided by the interpretive map and the numbered exhibit markers.
The biotic crust is made up of around 27 different species – it resembles moss, and turns bright green or brown when water is sprinkled on its surface. “It retains moisture for plants, transfers nutrients into the soil below, and allows bunchgrass seeds to hold on to the ground for germination.” (Desert Centre brochure).
It was very warm for early June – in the mid thirties Celsius. Bring your hat and water.
Anytime you are in the South Okanagan, take the time to visit the Desert Centre Osoyoos.