Opinion

Lack of care and attention threatening Bright Angel Park

I have been using Bright Angel Park for more than 25 years.

I have become very concerned.

Someone accesses the park on a regular basis on an ATV, particularly after a snowfall. I was told signs were going to be posted prohibiting ATV’s but they never appeared.

They get at night when no one is around. I am concerned that sooner or later some vandalism will be done to the buildings.

The ATV riders enter the park through the trail at the end of Howie Road North. It is obvious a barrier is required here.

The CVRD Parks website mentions a mandate to protect parks ecosystems. Allowing ATV’s into Bright Angel will do nothing to further this. They may already be disturbing some of the trail -side areas where wild flowers such as Bleeding Hearts, Fawn Lilies and Trilliums grow in the spring.

Last spring someone took a weed-whacker to some of the trails. My wife and I were dismayed to find they had whacked down or severely damaged many wild flowers. One of the delights of the park has always been the native plants. They should be protected at all costs.

Late summer 2010 saw a lot of damage done to other plants during an apparent fire risk reduction campaign. This was a joke.

Not only did they cut down a lot of native Indian Plum shrubs, they left the branches to dry out on the trail, only adding to the fuel load to a potential fire!

There often seem to be many RV’s allowed in the camping area, full to overflowing, which never used to happen. I don’t believe the park can withstand this volume.

Especially annoying are the giant RV’s whose owners often keep their motors idling during especially hot days so they can run their air-conditioners. This is completely in appropriate in any park.

Another issue I noticed in the summer was the vandalism down by the river. I have picked up and recycled many beer bottles and cans over the years but this year was especially bad.

Someone was lighting beach fires by the river and leaving them smouldering.

I spotted fairly uncommon bank swallows by the river. They appeared to be nesting or at least interested in a hole in the sandy bank on the railway side of the river.

A few days later I noticed that someone had plugged the hole with a rock.

Such disdain for nature is very distressing anywhere, but surely we can encourage better behaviour inside such a once-beautiful but increasingly threatened park.

Richard Mortimer of Cowichan Station filed this letter to the CVRD parks department.

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