What an amazing spring we just weathered! I want to commend the municipalities and citizens of the Okanagan and BC Interior that worked together to combat the high water levels. It was truly an unusual event that I have never experienced living on Kalamalka Lake and being a 45 year resident of the North Okanagan. We will be cleaning up and restoring the lake front for years to come.
Despite the hardship and disappointment the high water levels presented to residents and tourists this year, there has been an incredible benefit. The opportunity we have all had to enjoy the lakes without the waves, noise and congestion from the power boats has been amazing.
I remember 30 years ago living on Kalamalka Lake when motor boats were not excessively common. Water skiing was popular but reserved for earlier periods of the day in sheltered areas that provided “flat water.”
Tubing was rare and often short-lived, as the stability of the tubes, usually from a skidder or large piece of equipment, made the activity challenging even for the most adventurous. Wake boarding was just becoming known and ballast boats were a long way from being invented. Wakesurfing, ughh, was not even thought of. Boats in the ’80s also didn’t have stereos that could be heard five kilometres down lake. What a long way we have come.
I water ski. I own a boat. I have a dock with a boat lift. With all these modern conveniences I thought life on the lake couldn’t be better. But it can be. Paddle boarding, canoe or just floating on Kalamalka Lake this year has been amazing. The quiet enjoyment of the lake by so many has been a gift. I never once heard any long-term residents, real lake people, complain about not being able to use their power boats.
The power boats are back. The peace is broken. It was inevitable. So be it. I expect locals will remember the luxury of quiet lakes and miss it as I do. But soon enough we will all be motoring around, oblivious to the impact we may have on others enjoying the lake: the residents and guests that only paddle or float. Perhaps one day, limits will be imposed that restrict horse power, boat size, wake size, and hours of access. Maybe power boats may even be banned on lakes that are sources of drinking water. For now let’s launch our boats and enjoy the summer safely and with the interests of other lake users in mind. Leave your wakesurf boards and giant tubes at home. Sucking exhaust is counter-intuitive and making large waves on a beautiful lake is dumb.