Re: NCES asks for ban on motorized recreation on Columbia River Flats in the May 20 issue of the Review.
In checking with BC Hydro’s rules of conduct, posted on their signs at the entries to the Flats, we note that they are reasonable, namely:
— No fires
— No camping
— No littering of dumping of any material
— Use existing routes
— Respect private property and rights
Nowhere do we see restriction on motorized vehicles.
It seems that the “environmental damage” isn’t in stirring up mud (as in mud bogging), but in trash being constantly dumped on the edges of the reservoir. When the reservoir fills, the trash floats and impedes water sports.
When a few machines got stuck in the mud, there was an accidental loss of some oil. There usually is some loss of oil wherever machinery is used, namely: parking lots, filling stations, logging operations, railroads, etc… Most oils used these days are biodegradable, so the minimal loss during the course of a recreational outing is superfluous.
Unfortunately, newcomers to this valley fail to understand the history behind why the flats exist in the first place. In the 1960s, BC Hydro chose to expropriate the beautiful farms and flood the reservoir seasonally, causing fluctuation in the water levels. This has degraded the fish population that once enjoyed all the creeks flowing into the Columbia. It has also caused creeks such as Drimmie to change course constantly. To be concerned about a creek flowing through the floor of a reservoir when the water is down defies common sense because when the water level rises, it floods the whole area and changes the dynamics of the creek.
Mud is the result of a fluctuating water level in the reservoir where grass won’t grow anyway. The Flats are essentially a dead zone, as explained to us by a BC Hydro employee (except for the invasive grass planted by BC Hydro). Mud will heal in the next flood.
The airport deems water foul undesirable.
The question is: What is so sensitive about this habitat when the water level is so inconsistent as to prevent the formation of a true habitat for wildlife?
Leave the Flats to be enjoyed by young and old.
Olympe and Joan Astra