RDEK supports Silver Springs Lake rec site application
By Ian Cobb
The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) board of directors May 6 unanimously agreed to support an application to establish a B.C. Recreation Site at Silver Spring Lake, east of Elko.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Elk River Watershed Alliance have applied for a Crown land application pursuant to Section 57 of the Forest and Range Practices Act to designate a 34 ha (84 acres) area in the vicinity of Silver Spring Lake as a BC Recreation Site.
“The proposal is to construct a parking area, and to rehabilitate and maintain the access trail and the existing Silver Spring Recreation area. The proposal includes installation of a composting backcountry toilet and educational signage as well as active management of the area. The proposed recreation trail and parking area boundary are located on Crown Land,” explained the referral report to the board.
The site is located 2.5 km east along River Road from the intersection with Cascade Ave. in Elko.
“The proposal will help support a diversified tourism sector through enhanced backcountry recreation assets,” the RDEK report pointed out.
The referral states that Silver Springs is a recreational hotspot for cliff jumping, swimming, hiking and wildlife viewing. With increased tourism, locals have expressed their disappointment with increasing levels of environmental degradation. There has been trail erosion, chopped down live trees, unsightly garbage and graffiti. The purpose of the proposal from the Elk River Watershed Alliance is to fulfill the recommendations made in the 2014 Silver Springs Stewardship Solutions Report,” the RDEK report stated.
The referral also states “there is a high potential for this area to be managed for value-added public recreation while increasing public safety, environmental protection and the recreational experience.
The Recreation Site designation will give Recreation Sites and Trails BC (RSTBC) the needed tools to engage collaboratively with the Elk River Watershed Alliance in the ongoing improvements and recreation management in the area, the referral spelled out.
It explains that the Elk River Watershed Alliance has been cleaning up Silver Springs since 2011 as a part of BC Rivers Day and they will enter into a Partnership Agreement with Recreation Sites and Trails BC for the stewardship of the parking area and trail upon establishment.
The Elk River Watershed Alliance has discussed this proposal with many stakeholders including BC Hydro, CANFOR and the Nature Conservancy of Canada and there were no objections from these stakeholders, the RDEK report concluded.
Electoral Area B Director Stan Doehle said he is glad this step is being taken.
“They (Elk River Watershed Alliance) have done considerable clean up. They’ve taken it from one big mess to a pleasure to go up there now,” he said, adding he commends the efforts taken.