Diane Story (left)

Diane Story (left)

Beware of rattlers

The Friends of Kalamalka Lake Provincial park will hold its annual meeting April 18

Spring is here and that means hikers, cyclists and horseback riders are increasingly heading into Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park.

But while there, they are urged to keep an eye out for rattlesnakes, which pose a threat to dogs and people.

“Venomous snake bites have the potential to be very harmful, sometimes fatal,” said Dr. David Lemiski, a local veterinarian, who is working with the Friends of Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park to increase public education about the risk of rattlesnakes.

“In the clinic we may see three to five cases of rattlesnake bites on pets or livestock each year. I would suspect, totalling all cases seen by Vernon area veterinarians there are five to 15 cases of rattlesnake bites every summer.”

All supply of the antivenin antidote is reserved for human use.

“Pets can still be treated effectively but loss of this specific antidote will mean some deaths of pets that might previously have been avoided,” said Lemiski.

“Because of this, all users of Kal park and vicinity are strongly encouraged to use extra caution and comply with the dogs on leash rule in this area. Rattlesnakes are now designated as an endangered and protected species that have a place in our eco-system. Be respectful, thoughtful and careful in rattlesnake habitat and most confrontations can be avoided.”

The Friends of Kalamalka Lake Provincial park will hold its annual meeting April 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Coldstream Women’s Institute Hall, next to the municipal office.

Ted Osborn, from Coldstream Ranch, will speak about the park’s history.

There will also be reports and door prizes.

“We are celebrating our favourite park,” said Val Buchanan, Friends president.

B.C. Parks and the Friends of Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park will also use the meeting to emphasize that hikers, cyclists, dog walkers and horseback riders need to follow B.C. Parks Act rules and proper etiquette.

Dogs must be on leash at all times.

“There are several reasons for the dogs on leash rule,” said Buchanan. “Most important is for the protection of a multitude of wildlife, including some species at risk, especially in the spring when wildlife is more vulnerable while they are nesting or caring for their young.”