Burnett: Looking after the backwoods

We have to treat the backwoods as though it were someone’s private back yard and not a dirt bike park.

I’ve written about this issue before, but a recent Sunday drive up to Bullman Lake reminded me again of the seriousness our human impact has on the backwoods.

I’ve lived long enough now to see the big picture and it does not bode well with the future unless we all become aware of what is happening and collectively do something about it.

Ever since the first time I took the drive up Postil Lake road with my soon to be father-in-law in 1969, the changes in scenery due to logging and the “improvements” in the road to accommodate it have been monumental.

However, the practice of logging itself is not the real threat up there. Fortunately, the areas logged over the years have been replanted and are now looking quite pleasant compared to the condition after being clear-cut.

I must say I don’t know enough about the practice of reforestation to comment on the impact on wildlife and other native plants. I know for sure when we disturb a natural area in the process of landscaping a property, the invasive weeds rush in and take over. It’s most likely the same in the woods.

The real threat, however, is the rela tively recent invasion of recreational machinery. The impact the all-terrain vehicles whether they be 4x4s, dirt bikes or 4-wheeled ATVs are having at present can’t be mitigated by anyone. And it was obvious to me that little is being done to curb the practice of plowing through ponds and creeks under the guise of having good family fun to the detriment of the fragile ecosystem.

While I acknowledge there are many and quite possibly the majority of recreational riders who stick to the existing roads and trails and avoid puddles ponds and creeks, these people should be proactive in policing and educating their fellow riders who give all a bad name.

We have to treat the backwoods as though it were someone’s private back yard and not a dirt bike park. I can’t imagine what that drive up to Postil Lake Road will look like in 50 years if we stay on the same path.

But there is something positive some humans are doing to help address this issue. The Nature Trust of British Columbia is an organization dedicated to preserving and managing eco-sensitive properties throughout our beautiful province.

Together with the support of caring people, they have secured over 70,000 hectares (170,000 acres) of critical habitat across the province for wildlife, plants and fish. Look up the website www.naturetrust.bc.ca and read all about the great work that is being done for our future.  And join us at the fifth annual Earth Wind Fire event this June 21 in support of the Nature Trust of British Columbia. Together we can make a difference.

Tickets can be purchased online at the Nature Trust website and a complete description of one of the best evenings of the year with executive chefs, local wineries, entertainment and dancing.


Kelowna Capital News