MAPLE LAKE IS a Valley treasure that should be in the public domain.

Maple Lake should be open to public

Politicians should not let another generation pass without taking action

The current political season will come to a brief close on May 14, when they pause to count the votes and declare some dedicated soul a winner in the provincial election.

A short time ago we held municipal elections and the winners of that limited entry event are currently holding court in Cumberland, Courtenay, Comox and the regional district. We also had a federal election not long ago and one member from the Valley was chosen to represent our interests on the national stage.

For over 20 years I, along with many others, have been involved in promoting Maple Lake as an urban lake that should be part of the Valley’s recreational offering. In all that time I have yet to meet a politician who did not support the concept that it should be in the public domain. Elections come and go, but the ethereal concept of Maple Lake for the public at large remains an unachieved illusion.

The reality of the situation is quite different. Maple Lake and the surrounding forest lands are the property of Hancock Timber Ltd., a large forestry investment company headquartered in the United States. It is my understanding the lake and property are for sale.

When you enter the small forest there is a sign informing you that you are on private property and that the forest may be used for hiking, biking and horseback riding. You are also requested to not leave any garbage. I find no fault with their rules and urge users to respect them because, after all, you are on private property.

We recently had a rude reminder of private property rights when the owners of the land bordering Stoten Falls closed all access to the area. There is a stout iron gate at the entrance of the tunnel on the road to Maple Lake that is locked at 8 p.m. on a daily basis to stop rowdy behaviour.

In the past the land has been abused and mistreated by trespassers that put the generous access policies of Hancock Timber at risk. This column would like to sincerely express appreciation to Hancock Timber for their current policy of public access to Maple Lake.

As a result of recent boundary expansions, the lake has been removed from the regional district and is now part of the Village of Cumberland. On Aug. 20, 2012, Mayor Leslie Baird of Cumberland announced a committee would be formed with broad representation from the community at large to lead fundraising efforts to purchase the lake and surrounding lands from Hancock Timber.

In the picture I ran with my column of the event there were current provincial, regional and municipal politicians plus the late Keith McKenzie, president of the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association (CDFGPA) that also supports the concept of public ownership. Regrettably I do not know the status of the committee or what kind of progress is being made in the generations-long process of achieving public status for Maple Lake.

Maple Lake’s status as a fishing lake is significant. The lake is regularly stocked with catchable rainbow trout by the Freshwaters Fisheries Society of British Columbia, a Crown corporation that stocks lakes throughout the province.

In a recent conversation with Scot Silvistri, small lakes biologist with the Ministry of the Environment, he told me that Maple Lake ranks number six in the top 10 small lakes on the Island  and that Spider was number 10. Small lakes in urban areas are important generators of business in fishing tackle and related support material.

Please, politicians – let’s get on with the job of putting Maple Lake into the public domain. We should not have to wait another generation.

• • •

Congratulations to Greg Sawchuck for receiving the Bert Palmer Big Game Trophy at the British Columbia Wildlife Convention in Richmond last month. Greg won his award for taking in fair chase a Roosevelt elk that scored 340 points on the international Boone and Crocket scoring system. This magnificent animal was taken on a limited entry hunt near Gold River.

It is significant the Greg has been one of the leaders in the CDFGPA’s Roosevelt elk Transplant Program on Vancouver Island, for which the club also won a conservation award.


Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.



Just Posted

Comox Legion celebrates Robbie Burns day

The Comox Valley Pipe Band Society is celebrating Robbie Burns on Jan.… Continue reading

VIDEO: École Puntledge Park Elementary celebrates winter solstice

The event was a part of the school’s Indigenous education curriculum

Valley company reaching out to women near and far

Three Comox Valley business women know firsthand what good menstrual products can… Continue reading

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Miniature horses visit Glacier View residents

Glacier View Lodge residents had a couple of special visitors on Wednesday… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Inflation rises as higher airfares, veggie prices offset cheaper gas

Statistics Canada says inflation accelerated to two per cent in December

Social media strains over Prince Rupert’s boil water notice

Resident forms Community for Clean Water, and Jennifer Rice responds to acting mayor’s comments

Dog dies saving B.C. family from burning home

Homeonwers safe but one pet missing, another confirmed dead following fire

Russian fighter jets collide over Sea of Japan crews eject

One plane crashed after its crew ejected safely, the other crew also ejected but they have not been found

Judge to deliver verdict in British sailor’s gang rape case

The alleged gang rape took place at a Halifax-area military base in 2015

B.C. minister fears money laundering involves billions of dollars, cites reports

The government had estimated that it was a $200-million a year operation, instead estimates now peg the problem at $1 billion annually

BC Hydro scammers bilked customers out of nearly $45,000 in 2018

Nearly 2,000 people reported scams to the utility, as they continue to be more common

Overworked and understaffed: More than 300 vacancies in Vancouver Island nursing

Tentative deal with province includes ‘working short premium’ to encourage hiring

Most Read