An ongoing issue with high waters threatening properties and lake access has prompted a fun, Dam Beaver Poker Paddle at Millburn Lake.
Being hosted by the Bouchie Lake Watershed Stewardship Society (BLWSS) and sponsored by the Bouchie-Millburn Community Planning Team, the intent is to raise awareness surrounding the impact of flooding in the area at Millburn Lake.
David Law is a director with the BLWSS and Millburn Lake resident and said for the past several years the BLWSS has focused its attention on the health of the water at both Bouchie Lake and Millburn Lake, the latter being the main watershed that feeds into Bouchie Lake.
“Right now we’ve got two major projects,” Law said. “At Bouchie Lake the main concern is algae growth and we’re trying to combat that, and on Millburn Lake it’s flooding of the public access, which is not accessible because it floods every year.”
The poker paddle, itself, will be a fun event on Saturday, Aug. 22 beginning from the Millburn Lake public access point. Only paddle boats will be allowed to participate, with no electric or gas motors permitted.
The first boat is set to depart at 11 a.m. with the last boat out at 2:30 p.m. There is a $25 fee to participate, which will give entrants their poker hand by paddling to each of the five stops set up around the lake.
First place prize for the best five-card poker hand takes home 25 per cent of the pot, second place gets 15 per cent and third place gets 10 per cent. The remaining 50 per cent will go to the BLWSS. Law said participants must be 19-plus years of age to participate.
Adding to the fun factor, participants are asked to dress as a voyageur to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Hudson’s Bay Company in Canada.
“It’s an opportunity for people to get out and have some fun on the lake and to explore the lake if you haven’t’ already, and to raise awareness around the issues of flooding,” Law said.
Earlier this spring in April, the Cariboo Regional District issued an evacuation order for multiple properties in the Millburn Lake Road area due to flooding.
“The flooding every year makes it so people can’t really properly access the lake and, if they do, parking is so restricted they have to park on Millburn Lake Road, and that becomes a congestion problem and a safety issue,” Law said.
Another ongoing concern the society has, he said, has been highlighted this year with April’s sudden influx of water due to snow melt combined with the inadequate size of the culvert along the shoreline.
“The water was about a foot above the culvert,” Law said. “It was a big issue, and that flooding lasted about a week and then subsided, and then the flooding has just remained in the main access. We’ve been lobbying the ministry of transportation to replace the culvert with a larger one but they have not been responsive to our requests.”
The BLWSS, he noted, has a long-term vision to implement a plan to improve lake access.
“That will involve not only raising access, but also putting in a boat launch, beach area, designated parking, a riparian zone, outhouse access and wheelchair accessibility,” he said. “That’s the long-term plan on the books.”
Last November, he added, the BLWSS met with the ministry of transporation with hopes of transferring ownership of the land from the ministry of transporation to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
“[MFLNRORD], with their rec sites and trails branch, would be in a much better position to do some improvements to trails and access,” Law said.
“Maybe something can happen.”