Months of volunteer clean-up have paid off for the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 94 in Quesnel.
Campers have already been sharing positive reviews about Legion Beach at Dragon Lake since it opened over the long weekend.
“Between us all, we put in a couple of thousand hours trying to bring it back up to a campsite standard,” said service officer Ian Campbell.
”I’m feeling great. What has happened here since January — to see the difference in the place it’s just fantastic.”
A beach campsite committee was formed last fall with the goal of making Legion Beach more hospitable to visitors.
Trees were felled and an old office and cabin built in 1944 was been torn down through the help of local community members, contractors, and businesses. A local company even agreed to loan a new office space to the Legion for at least one year.
“It seems every time I turn around, somebody else has volunteered to help us,” Campbell said.
“If we didn’t have the volunteers to come help us clean up and do the tearing down, I don’t think we could have done it.”
Caretaker Scott Jones will eventually move his RV to a newly built trailer pad which will be fully serviced with water and sewer and temporary electricity.
“People are coming in all the time saying they camped here last year and we’re not coming back, and then they read the reviews online and they know there’s new management, so they’re back,” Jones said.
This will be Jones’s first year serving as caretaker of Legion Beach, noting that he was talked into it by a 90-year-old legion member he meets for coffee every Tuesday and Friday.
“This is like serenity here,” Jones added of the beautiful view the area offers.
Legion member Cameron Farquhar estimates they are only about a quarter finished on the overall vision for Legion Beach, which could take up to four years to complete.
An old storage building should be torn down by next season, where the washrooms will be relocated to. Farquhar said this would result in more access to Legion Beach with the alignment of their office, washrooms, and caretaker trailer pad.
The boat launch is also in the process of being repaired with the goal of adding in an accessible dock, providing people of all mobilities the opportunity to enjoy kayaking, canoeing or paddle boarding.
It is hoped to have soon permanent power installed to the new office.
“We have a huge vision for this place,” Campbell said, noting of nearby future trail development by the City.
“We want this place to be a mecca.”