This photo, taken in April 2019, depicts the Milburn Lake Road in the foreground and the extent of the flooding in the Milburn Lake access area. Submitted photo

This photo, taken in April 2019, depicts the Milburn Lake Road in the foreground and the extent of the flooding in the Milburn Lake access area. Submitted photo

Society working to improve Milburn Lake access

The Bouchie Lake Watershed Stewardship Society is working to secure funding and permits

Milburn Lake Public Access is once again inaccessible to the public, unless you want to wade knee deep in water to get anywhere.

The sign on the notice board proclaims, “If you don’t like what you see… join us.”

The sign refers to the Bouchie Lake Watershed Stewardship Society (BLWSS). They are looking for new members to join their cause and will be holding a membership drive from their booth at the Billie Bouchie Days event on Saturday, May 25th.

The mission statement of the society proclaims: “Bouchie Lake Watershed Stewardship Society is committed to enhance and maintain the health of the waters of Bouchie Lake, Milburn Lake and their watershed area to the benefit of all lake shore residents and all lake users.”

Over the years, many groups have attempted to address the water quality concerns, particularly of Bouchie Lake, where weed and algae growth often spoil the enjoyment of the water for fishermen and swimmers.

READ MORE: Rising water levels at Milburn Lake mean rising concerns about water quality, safety

BLWSS was officially established as a non-profit society under the BC Societies Act in the Fall of 2017 to provide some continuity and a sustained effort in addressing those concerns. The society is continuing to combat the algae problem on Bouchie Lake by adding naturally-occurring microbes to the lake water and has long-term plans of purchasing a weed harvester to combat the choking weeds that tend to overtake the lake in late summer and fall.

At Milburn Lake, the society has commissioned a plan from Quesnel River Environmental to improve the public access area by firstly raising the level of the whole area to prevent the annual flood. Having achieved this primary objective, the plan then proposes a purpose-built boat ramp, a designated sandy beach for swimmers, a picnic area, a riparian zone and a designated parking area away from the lake shore.

The plan includes provisions to make the site wheelchair-accessible. It is hoped that on completion, the access will provide year-round accessibility to the lake and beautify the area to the benefit of all users.

The society is working with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the government agency that has jurisdiction over the access, to secure the necessary permits to allow the work to proceed.

The society is also actively seeking funding to execute the plan. The BLWSS can be reached by e-mail at blwatershedss@gmail.com.

— Submitted by David Law. Law is one of eight directors of the Bouchie Lake Watershed Stewardship Society.