The whole Southern Interior is the territory of Okanagan, Nlaka’pamux, Secwepemc, St’at’imc and Kalispell First Nations. It is in the rainshadow of the Coast Mountains in B.C. and the Cascade Mountains in Washington. It is warm and dry in the summer and can get very cold in the winter, but only the mountains and highlands get a lot of snow.
The landscape has dry grasslands, forests, deep river valleys and large lakes. Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir forests cover much of the area, providing homes for several rare types of bats and other mammals. In other parts, rocky hills, cliffs and even a desert are home to species only found in this ecoprovince.
A proposed pipeline carrying diluted bitumen from Alberta would run through the Southern Interior ecoprovince disturbing fragile grassland ecosytems and endangering the waterways of the region.
The major cities are Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton.