Wildsight Invermere Branch Co-ordinator
Lake Enid has long been a popular recreation area. These days, Lake Enid is suffering from its popularity. While motorized use in the backcountry has been a contentious issue in the Columbia Valley, a visit to Lake Enid demonstrates what disregard for the land can end up looking like when no one takes responsibility.
Many people feel that out-of-towners do the most damage, probably because they dont have to live with the problem they have contributed to. This becomes a bigger conversation and involves many areas in the valley that often see a clash between motorized and non-motorized users.
One common complaint is that there is currently no advertised place for riding quads or dirt bikes, besides all the established logging roads up the side drainages of the valley.
Wildsight was concerned that its restoration project on the southeast corner of the lake would be damaged over the May long weekend. Large areas were reseeded in October 2013 with financial assistance from the Grassland and Rangeland Enhancement Program. An alternate quad trail was created last year by volunteers in hopes that providing a new route away from the water would make it less tempting to ride through the riparian zone.
Quads and dirt bikes riding through this area next to the water make it difficult for aquatic plants to stabilize the area. Degraded habitat and a loss of aquatic stability result in a damaged ecosystem and decrease the areas esthetic quality. The riparian area is where waterfowl nest, heron fish for food and many different organisms depend on an undisturbed space to survive.
These are the environmental issues. The social issues behind Lake Enid are complicated and run deep. Community and user groups including the Windermere Valley Dirt Riders, Crazy Soles Running Club, Toby Creek Adventures as well as other groups and individuals have volunteered in the past, donating their time, effort and materials to restore Lake Enid.
It seems their efforts were not wasted this May long weekend, as little to no garbage was left behind by illegal campers, and visitors respected the restoration area for the most part (with only one track running through the area). There were tracks left on the northeast corner of the lake, but it was not extreme. This is very encouraging.
Volunteer efforts are priceless and we hope they continue. We also want to emphasize the importance of dialogue between user groups. Please contact the Wildsight office at 250-341-6898 or email the Branch Co-ordinator Andrea Smillie at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or comments.
Co-written with Baiba Morrow, Wildsight Invermere branch president