sẁiẁs park is proudly managed and operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band.
sẁiẁs park is located within the traditional territory of the Osoyoos Indian Band. Since time immemorial, the Osoyoos Indian Band’s Okanagan ancestors have inhabited and cared for the lands and waters within their traditional territory.
In 2015, the park was renamed to reflect the traditional Okanagan place name for the area. The nqilxʷcən/nsyilxcən place name and history of sẁiẁs have been passed down for thousands of years through the oral tradition of capti’kʷl stories and teachings.
sẁiẁs sounds similar to “s-wee-yous” and means a place where it is shallow or narrow in the middle of the lake. The place name explains how the area was used to cross Osoyoos Lake by foot or by horse.
Lakeside campsites and privacy make this one of the most popular provincial parks in the province. Campers are encouraged to book reservations early in the season to secure campsites during the busy summer months.
sẁiẁs park is an important archaeological and cultural heritage site. Please help respect and protect this historically and culturally important area by following the park rules. Park guests are also reminded that the Heritage Conservation Act protects all archaeological and cultural heritage sites in the province. This includes intact or disturbed, known or unknown, recorded or unrecorded sites.
Audio Files: The nqilxʷcən/nsyilxcən place name for sẁiẁs park was recorded by Osoyoos Indian Band Elder Jane Stelkia and Westbank First Nation Elder and language teacher Delphine Armstrong. Jane’s nqilxʷcən skʷist (traditional name) is qʷʕayxnmitkʷ xʷəstalk̓iyaʔ. Delphine’s nqilxʷcən skʷist (traditional name) is ɬək̓əmxnalqs.
All campsite reservations must be made the BC Parks reservations system. When reservations are not available all campsites function as first-come, first-served.
Campsite reservations are accepted at this park.
This small park offers 41 vehicle-accessible campsites, seven of which are double sites. Campsite reservations are accepted for all sites. Reservations are strongly recommended for all weekend from May through September and any dates in July and August. If a site is not reserved for that evening, a green “available for 1 night” sign will be placed on that site indicating that it is available that night. The maximum length of stay is seven days due to the size and popularity of the campground. Access to the boat launch remains open year-round.
The sites are large with level gravel pads, picnic tables and fire rings. The many of the sites can accommodate larger RVs. Most of the sites are right on the lake, one of the attractions of this park. The landscape is open with sites being separated by pockets of beach and scattered cottonwood and Ponderosa pine trees for shade. The inner campsites and those at the tip of the spit are in thickets of shrubs that offer more privacy and shade and the opportunity for bird watching. The nearest services are in Osoyoos and there is a phone in the campground near site #10.
This park is located two kilometres south of Osoyoos off Hwy 97, on 32nd Avenue.
This park proudly operated by:
Osoyoos Indian Band
(This is not a campsite reservations number)
Cultural Heritage: The archaeological and cultural heritage values at sẁiẁs park tell an important story about how the Osoyoos Indian Band’s Okanagan ancestors used sẁiẁs as a crossing area, cultural use, and habitation site in the thousands of years prior to the arrival of European settlers in the region.
The Okanagan ancestral remains that were disturbed and reburied on site are the oldest on record in the Osoyoos region (approximately 1,224 years old). Radiocarbon testing of faunal (i.e. animal) materials recovered from a shell midden provided important information about the diet of the Osoyoos Indian Band’s Okanagan ancestors 3,265 – 4,475 years ago. Obsidian flakes retrieved from the park were analyzed to be from the Whitewater Ridge in Oregon. The presence of the flakes in the park affirms the travel and trade routes of the Okanagan People along the Columbia River Basin.
The cultural heritage values in the park include opportunities for the ongoing continuance of Okanagan culture through traditional, ceremonial and cultural use of the area.
The old Hudson’s Bay Fur Brigade Trail also passed through the area nearly two centuries ago.
OIB and BC Parks are working in partnership to ensure the long-term protection of the archaeological and cultural heritage resources within sẁiẁs park.
BC Parks honours Indigenous Peoples’ connection to the land and respects the importance of their diverse teachings, traditions, and practices within these territories. This park webpage may not adequately represent the full history of this park and the connection of Indigenous Peoples to this land. We are working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to update our websites so that they better reflect the history and cultures of these special places.