Wandering the Trails – Where I can

006We’ve been coming to our little campground at Cultus Lake for about 25 years now. Our kids grew up here and we’ve seen a lot of changes over the years.

There is a provincial park that surrounds much of the lake along with a number of private resorts and cabins clustered around the water. It has always been a popular place to crowd into on hot summer weekends, bringing boaters, picnickers, campers, bikers, hikers, and water-skiers. The throngs of visitors have come to expect the overcrowded parking areas, melting ice-cream cones, rickety corn stands, roadside firewood vendors, noisy water-slides, and they happily line up at the local eateries, watering holes, and food stands.

We also like the off-season. The deer come out of hiding. Cooler weather prevails, facilities are uncrowded (though fewer), and there is lots of time to wander the quiet trails.

008Where we stay is not right on the lake so I particularly used enjoy the trail along the creek that borders one side of the campground – a short walk downstream to the lakeshore, or a relaxing wander upstream through the woods as far as the fence that kept the grazing cows within the pasture of the small neighbouring farm.

Over the years, resort sprawl and progress have resulted in improvements and changes. The trail along the creek was built up to minimize erosion and flooding. The ‘new’ trail was built along the top of the berm, following the path of the old one. Increasing demand for leisure access has seen the development of gated upscale resort communities where rustic campgrounds used to sit. The small 9-hole golf course next to our campground has been closed and neglected for a number of years now. (They’ve at least been haying the grounds during the summer.) Construction of 105 new ‘cottages’ is starting soon.

Oh, I don’t mind the new neighbours. We hardly see them. We can hear them from time to time mowing their lawns when they’ve rushed out from the city to keep their leisure properties looking spiffy. A very nice fence separates the frontier across which the scruffy kids from the former campground would wander over to play with ours. Good fences make good neighbours, I guess.

001I am dismayed, however, that the new fences are also an assertion of property rights over access that was previously informally shared.  Now, when I try to wander down to the lake, I am met with warning signs and  a locked gate across the trail. Similarly, trying to head up the other way I am soon similarly frustrated. It’s getting more and more difficult to get to the lake or the creek. Now, I have to drive down to a parking lot in the provincial park down the road if I want to splash in the water. (Hah! Try to find a parking spot during the summer.) A short walk has become a driving commute.

005Maybe I should be happy enjoying what scenery is visible from the folding chair I have set up on my own campsite.

Or, maybe, I can see if there is a way around the fence – maybe if I go right down to the very edge of the creek….














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