A recent letter to the editor in the Williams Lake Tribune, May 6 expressed some personal concerns about management and conditions on Scout Island Nature Centre.
We appreciate this opportunity to clarify how management of the Scout Island Nature Centre lands is guided.
As the writer indicated, most Nature Centre lands and structures are owned by the Nature Trust of B.C. (NTBC), a charitable land trust, although the picnic area where the wells are located and the road right-of-way on the causeway are owned by the City of Williams Lake.
Lands owned by the NTBC are managed by the Williams Lake Field Naturalists and the City of Williams Lake under terms of a lease agreement with the NTBC. The lease sets clear management objectives and limits the range of allowed activities to those which will meet the purchase objectives of the NTBC.
More specifically, the lease states that the lessee (the city and field naturalists) must “carefully preserve and protect” the vegetation and maintain the area as a “site of ecological interest for the enjoyment and benefit of the people of British Columbia.”
The lease allows continued use of the swimming beach and small boat launch but does not permit their expansion into adjacent vegetation.
The field naturalists and city consult with and seek approval from the NTBC for any substantive changes to lands, structures or public activities on the nature centre.
Although the city owns the road right-of-way, the causeway is cooperatively managed with the same goals and objectives as for the remainder of the nature centre.
The causeway is important riparian habitat, which needs to be preserved and protected for its ecological values and public enjoyment.
It is meant to be a wild area of value to wildlife and for nature observation and not to be mowed. Traffic on the causeway must stay on the road or use the designated pullouts and drive slowly, remembering that turtles cross the road.
The Williams Lake Field Naturalists and the city are pleased by the large public interest and enjoyment of the nature centre.
We clearly wish to make it a place of nature enjoyment by the public, consistent with the NTBC lease.
The naturalists are currently updating the management plan for the nature centre and will be seeking public input this spring about how people use the nature centre and what changes or developments people would like to see, consistent with the lease.
Please check the Scout Island Nature Centre website, Facebook page and the Tribune regarding a future public survey.
Williams Lake Field Naturalists Society