Lake Windermere is a Mecca for winter recreation and may soon gain national recognition for having Canada’s longest Whiteway. Neither tourists nor locals are going to want to see waste on the lake this winter. So as you don your skis, skates or fishing gear this winter, consider these useful tips for keeping the lake clean.
Preventing Garbage on the Ice
To help prevent garbage and other debris left behind on the lake from freezing into ice, make sure to pack out everything you pack on to the lake. To take yet another step, you could join forces with a few neighbours to create a citizens’ patrol to monitor the ice and speak to visitors about garbage. To help remove anything that might wash onto the beaches after the ice melts this spring, join the Lake Windermere Ambassadors on their spring shoreline clean-up.
Accessing the Lake
Take care when accessing a frozen lake for skating, skiing or snowmobiling. Vegetation and banks under the snow can be damaged by winter traffic, so use summer access trails to get to the lake, rather than direct paths over snow.
Cleaning up After Your Dog
There are a number of great reasons to pick up after your dog—not the least of which is that you, or your closest friends, may be the ones who “discover” the treasure while going on a nice ski or skate. In addition to aesthetic reasons to clean behind your pooch, there are very sound health and ecological reasons.
Feces contain pathogenic (disease-causing) microbes that make people sick. Lake Windermere is a drinking water source, and our kids often ingest water while playing on the beach. Even in the winter, kids and animals find a way to get snow into their mouths.
Nutrients found in dog-waste cause imbalances in a lake’s natural ecosystem. Excess nutrients lead to degradation of lake water quality. Nutrients from fecal matter may lead to increased algae growth and can affect oxygen levels and other physical characteristics that fish and other animals need to survive.
As more of us use the lake and take our dogs with us, the ecological balance and public health are further jeopardized. We need to reduce the risks to ensure the continued health of our lake.
Love your lake? Let’s work together to keep it lovely!
Photo: Shawn Raven, 2012 “I Love My Lake” photo contest honourable mention
About the Lake Windermere Ambassadors:
The Lake Windermere Ambassadors are a BC Society representing a cross-section of community stakeholders, including local businesses, governments, seasonal and year-round homeowners, First Nations, youth and non-government organizations who share the vision of a healthy Lake Windermere with balanced management that supports recreational and traditional uses, fish and wildlife values, and economic prosperity in the region. We have received generous financial support from the Canadian Wildlife Foundation, Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund, District of Invermere, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, Habitat Conservation Trust, Real Estate Foundation of BC and Regional District of East Kootenay.
Adapted from an article by Brian Nickurak, BC Lake Stewardship Society. Submitted by the Lake Windermere Ambassadors.