Wow, folks, it’s been quite the week here as previously mentioned, and today’s post is going to be in-depth with an entire series of images. Grab yourself a cup of your favorite beverage and settle in for a story filled with beauty, secret talks, a wonderful scenic island and a whole lot of controversy.
To give you some background on Great Central Lake here on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, it is situated pretty much in the dead center of the island. The lake and it’s surroundings are the gateway to Canada’s tallest waterfall, Della Falls. This is a very remote lake with primary access being off of secondary roads. Once you encounter the tip of the lake itself, there really is only boat and plane access. We were very limited to the area we were able to actually get into and photograph.
This has to be one of the largest lakes on Vancouver Island. On the map it’s absolutely massive. We were in the bay at the tip of the lake, near a small resort with RV spots and a boat launch. We were able to see only a smidgeon of the lake itself, pretty much 99% of it was not accessible to us via car at all.
This image shows us our first glimpse of the size of the issue at hand here. This houseboat pictured is located on the shore of the lake. No roads were evident at all to provide access to this home. Travel by boat and plane are your only options here. Many of the homes are very old, some dating back to the early 1920’s. These are primarily folks who love lake living and are quite used to getting around by boat to go to the store and the mainland for provisions and such.
We understand that somewhere around 50 of these houseboats are unauthorized. This is where the controversy comes into play. Details are rather murky on this story, but it seems that somehow the provincial government and the local Hupacasath First Nation group have been entered into a court ordered mediation process since 2008.
CBC News in Canada reports:
The Supreme Court found the provincial government failed to consult the Hupacasath First Nation before removing about 70,000 hectares of privately owned land from an area tree farm licence in the area. Much of the land is part of the Hupacasath’s traditional territory and includes spiritually significant sites.
We’re rather used to stories emerging periodically that show the government repeatedly is engaged in back-door negotiations with local development groups and land-owners to transfer land in and out of crown possession. This typically doesn’t sit well with island dwellers.
Our limited information on this situation reveals that even the local resort that appears to have been there for quite some time, and has a direct involvement in the area and these talks underway, has not even fully been notified of the situation. A spokesperson for the resort wasn’t even aware the top-secret talks were happening, and had been happening for several years now.
The current rumors have it that the talks could result in one of two things happening, in terms of the current residents of the lake. One scenario would be no real change at all for the folks. The other scenario sees them all being evicted, and undoubtedly the homes destroyed as these are VERY difficult to move, especially the old ones. In this end result, a new resort would be built on the lake.
For any long-term residents this would probably cause hardship. This would be the only place they’ve known for most of their lives. Well used and suited to harsh living conditions in the interior of BC, especially in the winter, these hardy people would be forced to move somewhere. Where, we have no idea.
We don’t mind progress or development, per se, it’s the way that the developers and government seem to constantly work behind the scenes to keep us all ill-informed, only to eventually hand over large swathes of pristine land to developers, that really bothers us.
Given that nature of the recent news, we felt compelled to get out there and take as many photographs as we could to document this place before it changes forever. One of Mother Nature’s prime secret locations is about to be uncovered and turned into a playground for wealthy and privileged people.
We really, really tried to go further around the lake, using the gravel logging roads. These roads are very dangerous, you have logging trucks fully loaded running at break-neck speed up and down these roads. But, even with being on the logging roads, the actual lake itself was too far away to see from our vantage-points. When we scrutinized the map and our GPS system, we realized there was no way we’d get to see the lake proper without hiring a plane. But, at least we did manage to get this series of images to share with everyone.
And just to show you the level of dedication your Toads have when it comes to breaking stories like this, when we were on the logging roads Mrs. Toad had to make a quick rest-stop. After a bit, we found a nice little place right alongside a tributary that looked quiet and peaceful. After Mrs. Toad was done here, we hopped back into our car and went further along. 5 minutes later we decided at that point this was fruitless in terms of lake access, and we should turn around…
When we drove past the spot where Mrs. Toad had just been moments before, we saw a black bear. I actually couldn’t believe it. I turned around to show Mrs. Toad that I wasn’t seeing things, and lo-and-behold… this rather large black bear was sitting RIGHT IN THE SPOT we were not 5 minutes previous, and boy oh boy was he curious as to what we were up to! Bears don’t get to see too many people up here, so they can be very unpredictable. Needless, to say, we haven’t been able to stop talking about that since it happened; yours truly, the Toads, were almost bear meat.
And finally, we have a couple of bonus shots to share here on our blog with everyone, just because they are somewhat interesting…
On our way out, we found this tree. Right in the middle of a VERY dangerous road with no pull-offs whatsoever sits this exhibit. I literally had to park on the road, jump out, grab these shots, and climb back in and take off before a fast approaching logging truck performed some extensive body work on us and our car. This tree is complete with shoes, parking cones, flags, long johns, undergarments, and even… a calculator. Not sure what the purpose of this was, but it was certainly interesting enough to grab a picture of it!
And finally, we saw this very old wooden trestle on our way out. Probably not in active use anymore, these sorts of really fascinating structures pepper the landscape of Vancouver Island. In fact, we’ve got another story coming your way soon that is wonderful and astonishing, and is loosely related to this. If you’re enjoying our running blog posts here, please do stay tuned!!
Thanks so much for taking the time to visit us today, and for spending the time to read this pretty extensive post. It really means so very much to us here at The Hollow. As always, we encourage you to leave us some comments if you have time as we truly love to hear from all our visitors.