Saddle Lake could become the first designated regional park of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) Area D.
“We have made an application (to the province) for the Crown lands surrounding Saddle Lake,” said John MacLean, the RDKB’s CAO. “We are interested in turning it into a regional park.
“We have the water licences for Saddle Lake now so we are responsible for the lake and the dam, and director (Irene) Perepolkin and alternate director (Roly) Russell now have said that it’s a beautiful location and it would be a great little regional park, and so we made the application,” he said.
Mark Andison, planner with the RDKB, said the property itself is 4.2 hectares in size.
“In order to do anything around the lake, in terms of operating it as part of the Area D park function, we needed to have tenure (the holding or lease of land) in order to allow us to operate it as a park facility,” said Andison.
If the province were to approve the designation of Saddle Lake as a regional park, then it would be managed by the regional government and funded by the regional government taxpayers.
“The lake is being used informally as passive recreation and I know that the (Boundary) museum and Granby Wilderness Society do tours up there with school kids to show them some of the natural ecology of the area,” said Andison.
Jenny Coleshill, project co-ordinator for the Granby Wilderness Society, said that the lake has a lot of historical value.
“It was first built by the Doukhobors in 1913,” she said.
Andison said that the park would be managed as a conservation area with an interest in tourism as well.
“The district is not planning on managing it any different then it has been managed in the past … basically keeping it as a conservation area,” he said.
“Hopefully it will be the beginning of a productive parks function for Area D.”
“The application is currently under review and no decision has been made. It was recently advertised for public comment and First Nations are also being consulted as part of the process,” stated Brennan Clarke, public affairs officer with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, in an email to the Gazette.