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Cumberland raising funds to turn Maple Lake into public park

AN AERIAL VIEW of Maple Lake shows its proximity to Cumberland and the interchange at Highway 19 and the Comox Valley Parkway. - Photo submitted
AN AERIAL VIEW of Maple Lake shows its proximity to Cumberland and the interchange at Highway 19 and the Comox Valley Parkway.
— image credit: Photo submitted

The Village of Cumberland council announced Monday its campaign to raise funds for the purchase of Maple Lake lands for a public park.

“Maple Lake has been on our radar for more than 20 years and we are now taking action to preserve it as a public park,” said Leslie Baird, mayor of the Village of Cumberland.

“With the co-operation of the owner, Hancock Timber, and support from many community organizations, including the Courtenay Fish and Game Protective Association, the Rotary Club of Cumberland Centennial, and the Cumberland Community Forest Society, we hope to purchase these lands to further the conservation of the community’s natural spaces and its biodiversity.”

In the coming months, council will consider the appointment of a committee made up of community organization leaders and community members at-large to lead fundraising efforts in the Comox Valley. Council has indicated its intent to Hancock Natural Resource Group, which has agreed to begin negotiations in 2013.

Cumberland council’s vision is to connect Maple Lake to the Village’s recreational trail system so that residents and visitors can bike and hike to the lake from the village centre. Its goals is for the lake to be accessible to all, with a future public road and parking area to ensure that everyone can access the lake for fishing and its outstanding recreation opportunities.

Donations toward the purchase of the property can be made to the Village of Cumberland. Tax receipts will be issued upon request.

Maple Lake is one kilometre northeast of the Cumberland village centre and just west of the Inland Island Highway.

The 20-hectare lake is stocked multiple times each year with catchable rainbow trout and steelhead by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC on behalf of the BC Ministry of Forest, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations. Currently, there is water-specific regulation of electric motors only for boats on the lake.

Ministry reports state that Maple Lake has long been targeted for improved access and facilities by the surrounding communities and angling clubs. It is a key freshwater lake for angler use and could provide an excellent family-oriented fishery. There are a numerous opportunities for shore access sites and walking trails.

The lake is surrounded by conifers. The southeastern shore features second-growth forest of western red cedar, western hemlock, Douglas fir and Pacific dogwood.

There are sticklebacks in the lake. Hooded mergansers, mallards, and lesser scaup frequent the lake as well as trumpeter swans.

From the lake, wetlands drain into Maple Creek, which winds through Village property to the Trent River.

The land surrounding the lake is designated private management forest land and it, and the lake bottom itself, is owned by Comox Timber Ltd., a division of Hancock Natural Resources Group Inc.   There is no legal public access to the lake, but the owner permits access through its lands.

— Village of Cumberland

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