Summer crowds are a fixture at Cultus Lake with visitors from all across the Lower Mainland hitting the beach every weekend.
But a whopping 93 per cent of lake users surveyed last summer want more “environmental care” taken of Cultus Lake.
“That’s a very high level of concern and awareness,” said Marion Robinson of Cultus Lake Aquatic Stewardship Strategy (CLASS). “That tells us they want us to be there for the lake.”
The Cultus Lake User Survey Report was put together by Robinson of the Fraser Basin Council on behalf of CLASS, and it polled the opinions of a broad variety of lake users, mostly face-to-face, from swimmers, boaters and hikers, to tourists and residents.
A total of 168 surveys were filled out.
“The lake is loved,” Robinson said. “We found out that lake users value the health and ecological integrity of Cultus Lake the most.”
The goal of the survey was assess the current level of environmental awareness about the lake and its challenges, as well any “lake-care actions” that are being taken to protect it.
They also wanted to know what people liked about it specifically, and how it could be improved.
“The survey alone increased the awareness of what Cultus Lake needs to stay healthy.”
Nitrates and phosphates levels in the lake water are reportedly growing from sources like bird droppings, fertilizers and sewage that go into the aquatic system.
Accordingly, water quality is something that worries 87 per cent of respondents, and 66 per cent said swimming was the activity that attracted them to the lake in the first place, compared to the next highest ranked activity of birding, walking and hiking.
The Cultus use survey is a precursor for a longer-term strategic plan being undertaken by CLASS stakeholders, and part of the idea is increasing awareness and knowledge about the lake.
It’s always been a strong magnet for nature lovers, boaters and swimmers with its gorgeous lakeside setting with ample recreational opportunities.
With an estimated three million visitors a year flocking to the watershed, that popularity is giving rise to concerns about water quality, fish habitat and invasive species at Cultus.
“But visitors are increasing, as will the impacts to Cultus Lake,” she said. “It is very timely to address caring for Cultus Lake.”
Asked what they liked best about Cultus Lake, a large majority of 77 per cent referred to the natural beauty and scenery.
By contrast, what they liked least about it included the crowds, noise, inconsiderate behaviour by boaters/partiers on the beach, which was cited by 68 per cent of respondents.
CLASS meets the last Wednesday of the month, and for the location, email firstname.lastname@example.org.