I have been following the stories in The Daily News regarding the death of a woman from a falling tree while camping at Murtle Lake (Aug. 16) and after Tracy Gilchrist’s column in Saturday’s paper (Fatality Deserves Living Response), I felt compelled to comment.
First, let me say no one wishes to deny nor diminish the fact that this was a tragic event, but let’s face facts: Murtle Lake is part of Wells Gray Park, at 540,000 hectares plus, one of Canada’s largest provincial parks. Brochures describe it as “offering visitors the chance to experience a truly wild part of the province.”
After spending time in it over the past three summers, I can assure you that this is absolutely true. Part of that wildness stems from the fact that virtually the entire park is inaccessible by road, only by boat (or float plane).
The sheer majesty of its scenery on a beautiful summer day is truly breathtaking. But Mother
Nature can change that in a heartbeat. Sudden storms can transform a placid lake into something entirely different, with huge waves which toss small boats and canoes about like matchsticks. And just as suddenly, your serene campsite can become a scene of chaos as winds bring limbs and even healthy trees crashing to the ground.
To suggest that the Ministry of the Environment can or should be able to prevent or even predict this danger is, at best, pie in the sky. People have to realize that, when they embark on a boating and camping adventure in Wells Gray Park, they must assume and accept that there is inherent danger involved. “Wilderness adventures” always include potential danger. To portray the ministry as either negligent or “the bad guy” in this is just wrong.