Recent acts show reckless disregard for nature

Two acts of stupidity would have been prevented if the proposed South Okanagan Similkameen national park was in place

On Victoria Day, I was leading a bird watching tour to the South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area. Our first stop was at Turtle Pond, where we came upon two adult males and two youth who were skeet shooting.

Yes, in the middle of the afternoon, parked on the side of the road, these individuals had set up their launcher and took turns firing a shotgun at clay pigeons. Needless to say, they believed it was OK to being doing this, despite the presence of my group as well as a larger group from the Meadowlark Festival.

At the end of their shoot they undoubtedly went through hundreds of dollars of shells and pigeons, and in the end didn’t bother to retrieve any of the broken clay pigeons, which now litter the shoreline and pond.

What examples were these adults demonstrating to their youth? First of all, it appeared that the adults were wearing hearing protection and not the youth. It showed that it’s all right to use pristine natural areas where species at risk live to threaten their existence; that despite the presence of other human beings in the immediate area, it’s OK to put their safety at risk; and finally the damage caused by leaving remnants of clay pigeons and lead pellets all over the forest floor and bottom of the wetlands.

All that I could do was to note their licence plate number and file a report with the RCMP.

Just several hundred meters from Turtle Pond, I came across two recent dump sites of used construction material (insulation, lumber, roofing tiles, etc). Rather than hauling this to the local landfill, which is easily accessible, individuals have chosen to go out of their way to dump this material rather than paying a nominal fee at the landfill.

These two acts of stupidity would have been prevented if the proposed South Okanagan Similkameen national park was in place. National parks protect and preserve natural landscapes and ensure ecological integrity. Parks Canada is charged with safeguarding these areas for posterity ensuring that visitors experience an environment which demonstrates our natural heritage. Why are we continuing to permit these wanton acts of destruction and carnage to take place in our backyard? When we will say enough is enough and do the right thing? Let’s get the provincial government to re-engage in the process.

Greg Byron

 

Great Horned Owl Eco Tours