NO REALLY: When people mess things up for other folks

Take care or get locked out of the lake this summer

It’s summer, I need a break. A-ha! What’s this I spy, but one of the best letters to the editor that I’ve read in years.

The letter appeared in the Aug. 1 edition of our sister paper, the Comox Valley Record, and was written by Lang Price of Courtenay.

Not only did I enjoy Lang’s prose and ideas, but I also thought it was a good read for Campbell River’s fresh-water enthusiasts – many of whom have cast lines in the valley’s lakes and rivers.

Here it is, enjoy…and thanks Lang for giving me a summer break. Perhaps I should go fishing:

Okay, here we go again, it’s the old us against them, the big corporate dude screwing the little guy, rights verses privilege, blah, blah, blah.

When will we get it that this adversarial crap doesn’t cut it any more. It’s all so 1960s power to the people. Give me a break.

I’m speaking obviously, about the privilege of accessing our vast recreational wonderlands through privately owned forests, more specifically Wolf Lake.

For years we’ve been lulled into the mindset that these lands are ours to do with what we so choose — wrong! This is private property.

The Record has published two perspectives on this dilemma, one from a parent who seems upset that TimberWest has gated the road to the lake, prohibiting their right to recreate on the lakeshore, and then we have a counter opinion from a gentleman who is involved in forestry.

Having fished throughout the Comox Valley and points beyond, I’ve had the opportunity to engage forestry dudes on the topic of gated and decommissioned access roads. The response is the same — vandalism, garbage and the threat of fire.

A number of years back, Maple Lake became a local dropoff point for all sorts of garbage, and the owner of the surrounding property slammed shut the gate. There was a bit of stink due to the popularity of Maple Lake and – behold – mature minds met to mend the mess. Volunteers gathered to collect and truck the crap to the dump. Problem solved, gate swings open, life is good.

About a month ago my fishing buddy and I drove up to north end of Wolf Lake to seek out the mighty trout. I just about puked.

The surrounding area resembled a war zone — smashed bottles, piles of discarded tents and sleeping bags, rotting food, spent shotgun shells, and God knows what else.

Now the word is out that the south end of the lake is similarly screwed and the gate is locked tighter than a rainbow’s jaw on a wet fly.

So here’s the deal: In and around the Comox Valley there are numerous groups involved in the preservation of nature and the great outdoors.

Let’s see, we have fish and game clubs, river enhancement people, naturalist groups, fly fishing dudes, hiking clubs, off-road ATV guys and I’m sure many more.

Within this collective brain mass there must be some sort of solution?

All of these people and the rest of us who just want to sit by the lakeshore and fish or camp are in jeopardy of losing this outdoor experience and that of our kids if we just sit back and let the actions of a few dictate how we can or cannot mingle with nature.

I have a few ideas. For instance, adopt a lake preservation program similar to Adopt a Highway. Have a weekend cleanup based on the annual Denman and Hornby Island beach tidy up (maybe the landfill guys would waive the dumping fees) or some sort of Neighborhood Watch.

Let the timber companies know we respect their land. On the other hand, TimberWest could issue keys or codes for a fee if they so choose to keep their access roads under lock and key, like what is happening to travel up Comox Lake.

I know to some this is all pie-in-the-sky, group hugs and kumbaya stuff, but I feel that our outdoor privileges are being eroded by a small number of individuals who, if left unchecked, will have not only the lakes and rivers closed, but beaches, hiking trails and mountain peaks, leaving the rest of us to commune with nature by languishing in our lawn chairs in the Driftwood Mall parking lot, which by then will be inundated with parking meters.

One final thought, I hope TimberWest reads this and gives us their viewpoint and hopefully a middle ground resolution.

Lang Price

Courtenay

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