Where's the love for Kamloops Lake?

YOU ASKED: Can you tell me why Kamloops Lake is not as well used as the Shuswap or Okanagan Lakes?

- Sylvia Weedmark

OUR ANSWER: An excellent question. There are a few reasons why Kamloops Lake isn't as popular with boaters, windsurfers and other recreational water users.

Some say it's colder than other lakes, while others say it's just as warm.

There are also railway tracks running along both the north and south sides of the lake, making it a challenge for road builders wanting to cut an access down to the water.

"Primarily, there's been a lack of access for boaters," said Lee Morris, CEO of Tourism Kamloops.

"If you've ever been to the north side of the lake - and I have, on a horse - there's only two or three spots that are really sort of accessible in terms of being able to get a boat in the water."

Of course, it's a different situation on the south side where access to the 29-kilometre-long lake is reachable through Savona and through one of B.C.'s fastest growing communities - Tobiano.

Mike Grenier, who leads the development company that created Tobiano, knows plenty about Kamloops Lake.

"When I first stepped foot on Six Mile Ranch, which is now Tobiano, 15 years ago, I asked the same question (about the lake)," said Grenier.

"And it really boils down to easy access."

About nine years ago, Grenier's team built an access road down to a new boat launch and refueling station. Last year, they added a signal-gate crossing over railway tracks, further boosting safe access to the water.

Now more and more boaters are discovering the launch and, in the process, discovering Kamloops Lake. Boat traffic is increasing on almost a weekly basis, said Grenier.

"It's funny, you know," added Grenier. "People get into Kamloops Lake and they say, 'I can't believe that I've been spending all of this time on the (Thompson) river when I could have been in Kamloops Lake.' "

And it isn't just boaters who are discovering this.

A fantastic online resource is www.KamloopsTrails.net, a not-for-profit website whose authors write about the outdoors.

Just last week, the site posted some interesting hands-on observations about Kamloops Lake from the perspective of a kayaker.

The writer noted three access points for kayakers, including the Tobiano boat launch, while also mentioning the familiar refrain of a general lack of access to the lake as the main reason for so few boats on the water.

In our chat with Grenier, the Readers' Reporter also learned that Tobiano will be making an announcement within the week about a new marina to be built at Tobiano.

That will certainly boost boat traffic on the Lake.

Who knows, maybe in a decade or so, the question won't be, "Why isn't Kamloops Lake more popular?" but "Was there ever a time when Kamloops Lake wasn't popular?"

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