To the Editor:
I want to thank Lorne Eckersley for his column (“Creston wildlife area blockages a barrier to support”) regarding the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area’s policy change to dike access that excludes vehicular traffic. I, too, believe “light sightseer-type” traffic would not compromise dike structure. The Duck Lake restrictions impede the enjoyment of many of all ages. Here I wish to remind of one group in particular.
Our valley has a large retired population, many of whom find pleasure, healing and soul-searching when exploring this valley’s rich wildlife habitats. For some, access to nature, including the CVWMA, was impetus for choosing this place as home.
I am an avid birder and self-declared naturalist. I am also getting older, with a mind that thinks I can walk and hike as when young, and a body that often does not follow. Vehicle reconnaissance accompanied by intermittent foray answers to this discrepancy.
Yes, there will be those few prone to illegal activity — and one doesn’t have to be a mathematician to know that the wildlife area’s two or three paid employees, no matter what their expertise, is not a “policing” agency. Expecting biologists to be so engaged would be counterproductive to a sane job description, not to mention expertise. Barring vehicles, however, will not stop bad behaviour — the CVWMA’s barrier raises defence for the marijuana growers. Access to Duck Lake dikes is easy by boat.
Those with criminal intent gravitate to places “safe” from prying eyes. In that respect, dikes devoid of slow-wheeled traffic (often binocular toting) and a subsequent lessening of foot traffic, except in those predictable areas in close proximity to the barriers, can only be helpful to this type of individual. I believe the adage is, “Locked doors only keep out honest people.”
The vast majority of users not only have great respect and integrity for the natural world, but they are often quite knowledgeable and continually inquisitive of such, tend to be eyes and ears that notice and report disruptions from the norm and, as well, tutor others of nature’s intrinsic beauty and value.
Imagine such an asset at CVWMA’s disposal — an unpaid, self-sustained, self-motivated citizen based “police” force (of all ages) who “work” seven days a week including holidays — and are mobilized only by being given a feeling of acceptance, comradeship, respect and recognition!
The CVWMA mandate, written in their 2004 habitat management plan, was forged with strong public consultation. It states that access to Duck Lake can be by vehicle from the western edge and from the Sirdar side. Access change to any part is not justified without adequate reason that is explored with public input.