Paving paradise

Resident upset with plans for Stickle Road and Highway 97

My wife and I recently moved to Vernon, and in a short time have come to love the diversity of outdoor experiences available in this city. Our exploration of the local parks, beaches, natural areas and hiking trails has been a delight.  There are many ways to experience the natural environment, some more challenging than others.  One of our favourite finds has been the BX Creek Trail.

For those who have not experienced this trail, it is a level, well groomed trail/boardwalk that is easy to walk for people with both full and limited mobility. Along the creekside trail, you are likely to encounter red winged blackbirds, among many other species.  You will also catch sight of the fabulous blue herons, who have a rookery in the area and have built many nests where they raise their young. The proximity to Swan Lake is a factor in making this an ideal environment for the herons.

Who would have thought you would see herons in the city, and so  many of them? When I read in The Morning Star that a part of the trail will be paved over to allow the traffic on Highway 97 to avoid slowing down for a traffic light, I have to shake my head.  I am reminded of a Joni Mitchell lyric, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Paraphrased, it reads, “They paved a natural creekside trail to compromise. What a great loss for all of us and for the creatures who inhabit this area. This decision may prove to be the beginning of a slippery slope.

It would be wise to visit this area now and see diverse wildlife in this special environment while it lasts. As Joni warns, “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”

Dennis Smith