It was during the work to implement the Garnet Valley Motor Vehicle Closure project that we noticed an area that had obviously been a wetland in a previous life. Hard-hit by cattle and mud-boggers – for the first time in many years this area was struggling to hold a very small amount of water and was being punished for doing so by off road vehicle vandals. A bit of local research confirmed this was a wetland in the past – so vast that is was known as “McLachlan Lake” and at one time it had been fenced off judging from the remnants of barbed wire and old posts strewn about. Maybe with some luck and a fence to exclude cattle and off-road vehicles, this wetland could come back. Inspired by the success of the Ritchie Lake project, SOSCP approached the local rancher Dave Casorso, FLNRO Range Officers Charles Oduro and Rob Dinwoodie, and the District Manager Ray Crampton to get permission to re-establish a fence around it. At the same time, conservation partners were working towards an Okanagan Wetland Strategy and were looking for a project that they could sink their teeth into.
Within just a couple of weeks from conception to completion, SOSCP and many partners, funders and helpers were able to get this fencing project off the ground and completed. Led by the SOSCP Program Manager, with funds and staff help from the BC Wildlife Federation, OBWB and the Central Okanagan Regional District, the fence was completed in four very long, very tiring days thanks to Meadow Valley Construction, members of the Summerland Sportsmen’s Association and other community volunteers. What a dedicated crew! Although trying to stop off road vehicle damage in the Okanagan sometimes it seems a losing battle to those who willingly destroy the environment, it is equally inspiring to start and finish a project with people who want to make a difference, who go the extra mile and show up to work hard, with a smile, in the mud and rain. A very special thank you goes out to Dave Carleton, Ray Paulsen, Dave McClellan, Doug and Kathi Penny from Meadow Valley Construction, Lorraine Bennest, Sue George, Murray Rooney, Neil Fletcher, Diane Kiss, Lia McKinnon and Jillian Tamblyn.