Celebrating the Columbia Headwaters in the New Year
Celebrating the Columbia Headwaters in the New Year

Celebrating the Columbia Headwaters in the New Year

It’s that time of year when many of us will steal a moment to take stock of what we did in 2014 and how we envision 2015 to eclipse it in some personal way. Maybe you’ll resolve to learn a new craft, cook healthier meals, or reconnect with certain people in your life who may have slipped to the periphery. If you’re stuck for ideas and interested in doing something to honour and connect with the place you live in, consider challenging yourself to any the following nine watershed-inspired New years’ resolutions:


Explore three new areas in your watershed; make note of them on a map (suggestions: Windermere Creek, Wilmer Marsh, the Dragonfly Boardwalk in Athalmer)

Keep a container of water in the fridge for cold water on demand rather than running the tap

Write a column for the paper that tells a story about your local homewaters

Imagine what enters the drain in your sink runs straight to your lake. Make a point of learning how and where to properly dispose of medicine, paints and pollutants so they don’t end up in the water

Beautify your town like you would your own backyard. Designate a day of the week where you pick up and properly dispose of any litter you come across

Keep showers to 5 minutes

Make a commitment not to purchase bottled water. It is estimated that one kilogram of bottled water consumes over 25 kilograms (7 gallons) of water through manufacturing and transportation. Let’s use common sense! Buy a reusable bottle and consider an in-home filtering system for your tap

Become a member of the Lake Windermere Ambassadors ($10 annually) to support programs to protect the health of the Lake

Join us on Lake Windermere this summer to learn how local water quality is monitored in the Columbia Headwaters.


Safety on the Frozen Lake
This January, the world-record breaking Whiteway Winter Festival kicks off two months of ‘Winter in Motion’, during which time the frozen lake surface will be hosting all sorts of outdoor winter play, including everything from bonspiel to ice fishing to hockey tournaments. These and other winter activities are part of our heritage, and the Columbia Valley offers plenty to indulge the snow and ice adventurer.


Yet, in the spirit of good tidings and smart, responsible on-ice recreation, the Lake Windermere Ambassadors wish to take this opportunity to remind users of the fluctuating, at times unpredictable nature of frozen rivers. Whether you are visiting or a long-time resident, remember that no ice is 100% safe. Keep your wits about you with a few basic facts about ice thickness:


[The following is an excerpt from a previous article submitted to the Columbia Valley Pioneer by Dan Osborne]


According to the Lifesaving Society of B.C. (www.lifesaving.bc.ca), if the ice is clear, but less than seven centimetres (three inches) thick, it’s not safe to be on it. For ice fishing, walking, or cross-country skiing, the ice should be at least 10 centimetres (four inches) thick. For riding a snowmobile or ATV, the ice should be at least 12 centimetres (five inches) thick. It takes 20 to 30 centimetres (eight to 12 inches) to support a car or small pickup truck, and 30 to 38 centimetres (12 to 15 inches) to support a medium-sized truck or van. White ice has air or snow within it and should be considered suspect for recreational use. Local conditions such as currents and water depths can affect ice thickness; consult knowledgeable local individuals as to where these variations occur.


The Windermere Fire Department receives three to five calls for emergency rescues involving people falling through the ice each winter. Last year, community fundraising permitted the purchase of a hovercraft to help improve the safety and efficiency of responses on Lake Windermere. Nonetheless, limiting the need to call the hovercraft into action is clearly in everyone’s best interests. Enjoy safely and here’s to an awesome year!

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