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Influx of people at Squamish-area lake raises concerns about sensitive environment

Last Updated Jul 29, 2020 at 9:35 am PST

FILE - Lovely Water Lake. (Courtesy Chris Ludwig)

There are concerns about an increase in the number of visitors to Lake Lovely Water near Squamish

BC Mountaineering Club president says the area is sensitive and isn't built for mass capacity

There have been reports of hundreds of people flocking to the lake in recent weeks

SQUAMISH (NEWS 1130) – An increase in chartered helicopter flights to Lake Lovely Water, northwest of the Squamish River, is raising some concerns.

According to Chris Ludwig, the president of the BC Mountaineering Club and co-founder of Backcountry BC, there’s been a recent peak in interest when it comes to the lake. He shared a notice about the lake on Tuesday that says the area is seeing “huge numbers” of visitors “nearly every weekend and through the week days.”

“By huge, I’m talking in the hundreds,” the notice reads, adding while that number may not seem big, the area’s environment is sensitive and isn’t built for that kind of capacity.

Lake Lovely Water is on the other side of the Squamish River so is only accessible by foot if using a boat or watercraft to first cross the water and then by hiking up steep trails. Ludwig notes many people fly in to avoid the long hike and logistical challenges.

“I also did a little research on it and found a Trip Advisor post where someone said that there’s been large amounts of, basically people will charter a helicopter for the day, fly up there and they’re bringing up all sorts of city amenities, which are very inappropriate,” he says, listing items like pool floaties, barbecues, kegs of alcohol and more — things the area isn’t designed for, Ludwig adds.

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“In many ways it’s surprising that there were so many tents,” he tells NEWS 1130. “You know, hundreds of people and over 30 tents up in a place that really is a mountaineering objective … There should be no fires, no watercraft up there, no loud music, no alcohol.”

He also worries about garbage left behind in the sensitive environment that also has the potential to impact grizzly bear habitats.

The influx in the number of visitors is due to a number of factors, he explains, adding the COVID-19 pandemic is partly to blame.

“It’s caused by social media promotion but also displacement because the B.C. parks have been closed,” Ludwig says. “They’ve been displaced from the traditional areas so now they’re showing up in these wildnerness areas and trashing the place.”

Provincial and federal parks were closed for some time due to the health crisis to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The Canada-U.S. border continues to be closed to all non-essential traffic, too, meaning people are being encouraged to keep it local this summer when it comes to their downtime.