A couple of American cyclists on a journey from Colorado to Alaska to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s disease were told not to camp at Spirit Square last week.
Environment Canada had issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the Burns Lake area that day, and the municipal campground was nearly full.
“I began pitching the tent when a man came running out of the nearest building demanding we pack up our things and leave,” describes one of the cyclists, Jason Talamonti, on his travel blog.
“Well, our new friend did not enjoy him kicking us out,” he continues, referring to a longtime Burns Lake resident who had just gotten to know them.
“Seeing as we were not looking for any trouble, we did as he asked and headed to the RV campsite where we were lucky enough to camp free,” he adds. “All’s well that ends well.”
The longtime Burns Lake resident, Hilda Lewis, told Lakes District News that municipal staff should’ve been more flexible given that the cyclists were in Burns Lake for a good cause and that a thunderstorm watch had been issued.
Burns Lake Mayor Chris Beach confirmed that municipal staff intervened after they noticed the individuals setting up camp at Spirit Square’s band shelter.
“Staff explained the band shelter cannot be used as a campground and also that the RCMP regularly patrol the area and would likely interrupt their evening if they were set up in Spirit Square,” explained Beach.
“For operational and insurance purposes we cannot let people camp in the public park,” continued Beach. “There is a free municipal campground offered for that very reason for which the village is properly insured; users of Spirit Square must be insured to use the space.”
“Staff made recommendations for other sites to go to if they did not want to use the municipal campground and even made a few calls to assist them in finding another location,” added Beach. “Staff also checked the municipal campground and found that there was one available site, at that time.”
Talamonti and his travel companion Eric Landry have both had family members affected by Alzheimer’s – a fatal disease that destroys brain cells, causing thinking ability and memory to deteriorate. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 747,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
The committed cyclists have raised almost $5677 so far. Their goal is to raise $65,000.
To follow their trip or to donate to their cause, visit http://wanderingi.net/.