Wildlife group argues against reduction in pullouts

Highway construction may result in reduced access to Yellow Lake

  • Jul. 19, 2011 8:00 a.m.
Plans for completion of the Yellow Lake road widening project call for a reduction in the number of pullouts along the lake

Plans for completion of the Yellow Lake road widening project call for a reduction in the number of pullouts along the lake

It has come to our attention that the Highway widening construction currently being undertaken on Highway #3A at Yellow Lake also includes a plan to eliminate the large “pull-out” areas along Yellow Lake whereby anglers gain access to fish this lake.

Our membership is extremely concerned regarding this situation for the following reasons:

– Yellow Lake is a rare lake in that it has extensive highway access.

– Yellow Lake is utilized by a large number of seniors who wish to angle there.

– Yellow Lake provides excellent family opportunities to angle with easy access.

– Yellow Lake provides excellent, but rare, shore fishing opportunities.

– Yellow Lake has extensive ice fishing opportunities during the winter season.

Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. annually stock this lake with trout to provide angling    opportunities for local citizens, as well as tourists passing by. Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resource Operations also have an “aerator” situated on the lake to enhance winter carry over of the trout. Yellow lake receives, basically, daily use through out the year.

The entire north shore of Yellow Lake will now have to be accessed by pedestrian traffic.

Installing barricades along the side of the highway will do the following:

Two large pullouts along the north side of the lake will become unusable.

Safety issues abound due to changing winds on the lake.  If an angler is self-propelled, they may find it extremely difficult to return to the end from which they started. In addition, there are:

– Safety issues around anglers walking alongside the highway to access lake shore areas.

– Safety issues with anglers now encouraged to use snowmobiles or quads during the winter, possibly on thin ice, to access distant areas of the lake.

– Safety issues re: possible parking of vehicles on the side of the highway.

Yellow Lake is one of the highest use lakes in the Okanagan region because of it’s ease of access, and the opportunity for a shoreline fishery.  It is also used extensively by families, as well as senior citizens from the surrounding area.  Angling is a healthy lifestyle and we must not create barriers that would otherwise deter people from angling.

There have been millions of dollars spent on this highway “upgrade”, and we all recognize that this has been done in large part to facilitate the pedal bike riders associated with the very successful triathlon held every year in Penticton.  No one will argue against that.  but it is totally unfair, unrealistic, and prejudicial, to create a project to enhance one activity, yet significantly hamper an already existing and thriving recreational activity.

We have been told that removing the pull-outs is being done as a “safety issue”.  I would strongly suggest to you that both ends of Yellow Lake have far more dangerous pullouts to access the provincial rest areas, than what is offered along the length of the lake.

We feel that an increase in pedestrian traffic, along with the possibility of people parking in the shoulder or “bike lane” is a dangerous situation.  Let the people park off the highway in the pull-outs. Install barricades if required, but put them between the pullouts and the lake shore.

 

As an organization representing over four  thousand men, women, and children, in the Okanagan Region, we are strongly opposed to barricades being installed blocking access to the large pull-outs along Yellow Lake and we urge the ministry to reconsider its position on this.

 

By Ken Sward,

 

Pres., Okanagan Region, B.C.Wildlife Federation