Local residents say a favourite local beach was swamped with out-of-towners on the August long weekend. Here the back end of a recreational trailer can be seen parked just a few feet from the water’s edge. (Submitted photo)

Local residents say a favourite local beach was swamped with out-of-towners on the August long weekend. Here the back end of a recreational trailer can be seen parked just a few feet from the water’s edge. (Submitted photo)

Residents fume as out-of-town visitors monopolize Arrow Lakes beaches

“People are starting to get really angry … there are more campers and it’s causing more problems.”

BY JOHN BOIVIN

Local Journalism Initiative Reporting

Residents of communities around the Arrow Lakes say they’re fed up with tourists commandeering tiny day-use sites, preventing locals from using them.

“People are starting to get really angry. Every year there are more campers and it’s causing more problems,” says Quinn DeCourcy, who lives in Edgewood.

DeCourcy took RDCK Area K Director Paul Peterson on a tour of several sites last week around Needles and Edgewood, where locals’ beach access was recently blocked. The Valley Voice tagged along the trip.

The spots are down narrow, winding bush trails. They remained locals-only for years, but over time – and with public campsites barred to non-B.C. residents this year, informal sites have been discovered by out-of-towners.

“A dozen people from out of town come here, they take over the beach, they don’t pay a nickel,” says Peterson. “Then they each go back and tell a dozen more people about this pristine place they can go where they don’t pay anything, and they can have all the parties they want.”

One beach on Whatshan Lake was empty the morning of the tour, but it was a very different scene on the August long weekend. DeCourcy says an Edgewood resident counted more than 50 vehicles, RVs and campers set up in the tiny space. Pictures from the weekend show an RV parked just a metre from the water’s edge. The rest of the shore had been taken over by tents.

Tempers are beginning to flare as more local beaches get taken over by gangs of out-of-province partiers, who leave a mess and strained environment.

“Human waste is a problem, that makes it a place you don’t want to be,” says DeCourcy. “It’s frustrating that we put work into the upkeep of a day use area and that when people break the rules we don’t have any recourse.”

“We want people to use it, but we want them to use it responsibly, and with respect.”

The situation had the Ministry of Transport ordering road maintenance crews to block vehicle access to one local quarry-turned-party-spot near Burton. The barriers were installed last week.

The problem is at several locations, from Edgewood to past Nakusp. Teresa Weatherhead says she and her husband tried to access a favourite kayak launching spot north of Burton on the long weekend.

“They had a sign at the top of the road saying ‘Welcome home from jail, Noah’. There were five different vehicles and their trailers down this narrow path, and they were camping,” says Weatherhead, who is Peterson’s alternate on the RDCK board. “We couldn’t even try to get down, or turn around.

“When my husband asked if they could move their vehicles, they said, ‘no, we’re using this space’. They inhabited the whole beach, the whole area. What could you do about it?”

While the beaches he inspected were deserted during Peterson’s tour, he’s worried about the upcoming long weekend and how local people will react if they’re blocked from accessing the rec sites.

“It’s the obnoxiousness that gets to me,” says Peterson. “The lack of humility. The sense of entitlement.”

Peterson says it’s a problem that’s getting worse.

“What concerns me the most is that the complaints have doubled every year for the last four years, and this year it’s even past that,” he says. “It’s the self entitlement, the attitude that ‘it’s our beach, take off’.”

And it’s not only in the Arrow Lakes region. Regional District directors from Nelson, Salmo, Kaslo, and the Slocan all raised the same issue at the RDCK’s August 20 meeting.

Peterson says solving the problem is complicated, and will require the province taking some action.

“But there’s so many ministries, and the provincial government is far away, in Victoria, and the attitude is ‘so what?’,” he says. “You’re supposed to call the conservation officer, but we have one C.O. for what – every 50,000 square miles?”

And Peterson says it’s out of local hands.

“I have absolutely no authority to do anything about it,” he says. “But I will see if the RD can get something set up to allow us to kick out the troublemakers and allow the good people to enjoy themselves.”

Peterson says locals may have to organize to push for better maintenance at the sites, physical barriers for RVs, better washroom facilities, and the like.

But he says there also has to be an attitude adjustment on the part of some out-of-towners.

“They act like they own it and don’t want anybody else here, they’re being very obnoxious,” he says. “Only a few are making a tremendous mess, but they all get blamed for it … the total disrespect for the community, the neighbourhood, for the environment, for the lake, there’s no respect going on.”

“It’s going to be a disaster every year.”

-From the Valley Voice

kootenay

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Montrose resident Kimba McLean has hiked Antenna Trail every day since October and counting. Photo: Jim Bailey
Montrose man makes daily trek up Antenna Trail

Kimba McLean put on more than 800-km hiking Antenna Trail every day for the past six months

Kristian Camero and Jessica Wood, seen here, co-own The Black Cauldron with Stephen Barton. The new Nelson restaurant opened earlier this month while indoor dining is restricted by the province. Photo: Tyler Harper
A restaurant opens in Nelson, and no one is allowed inside

The Black Cauldron opened while indoor dining is restricted in B.C.

First-year Selkirk College student Terra-Mae Box is one of many talented writers who will read their work at the Black Bear Review’s annual (virtual) launch on April 22. Photo: Submitted
Trail Times file photo
Trail RCMP nab wanted man

Police responded to a call for assistance in East Trail on April 7, at 2 a.m.

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Since April 4, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Vancouver the largest source of domestic flights with COVID-19 cases: data

This month alone, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Most Read