By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Sept. 14, 2013
A landowner is closing access to his Brackendale property until he can restore the natural habitat and find a way to relocate the existing trails, he says.
Tom Dowad purchased the 30 acres of land along Judd Beach last year from his father, Wilf Dowad.
The land, located behind Maple Crescent and Eagle Run Drive, is an oasis of tranquility.
Tom Dowad knows that, the reason he also wants to protect it.
Dowad has been posting No Tresspass signs on the property, and asking the public to respect the privacy of his newly acquired lands.
“Use of the area by walkers and cyclists has led to a significant damage to the riparian,” says a notice he has posted in the area.
“Restoration is required and trails need to be relocated to prevent further damage.”
Dowad said he walked down there on two consecutive Sundays and saw the spawning channel being defiled by dogs and kids running amok.
On one occasion, he saw a dog enter into the creek to nab a salmon while his owner looked on.
On another occasion, he saw a child throwing Salmon eggs out of the channel. [manual_related_posts]
“I’ve seen a high incidence of dogs and people in that channel when Salmon were present,” Dowad said.
“It pisses me off.”
A network of bike tracks laid out close to the spawning channels adds to his challenge.
“It’s what brings those kids here,” he said.
“The bridge on the spawning channels isn’t safe, and it will be removed.”
Dowad says he is also concerned about provincial and fisheries regulations, which demand a 30 metre setback from any waterway.
That is not the case on his property, where a bridge on the channel provides ready access from Maple Crescent to an inter-linking network of trails.
“The bridge on the spawning channels isn’t safe, and it will be removed,” he says.
Dowad said he is hoping, with the help of environmentalists and trail advocates, to restore the riparian and reroute the trails away from the spawning channels.
Until then, he wants the public to stay away.
He also envisions a trail pass system in the future, where users can become the monitors of trails and the spawning channels.
“Right now, we are just trying to stem the tide and get some solid support for restoration,” he said.
Allowing access on one’s property is a matter of public interest but also one of personal largesse.
Bob Fast, Merril and Ring, for instance, allow access on private property for recreational use.
Peter Legere in downtown Squamish is proud to have a Tresspassers Welcome sign on his property.
District of Squamish recently purchased a part of Rick Hunter’s property in Valleycliffe to make way for a much-needed trail.
SORCA’s Jeff Cooke said he understood Dowad’s concerns, but also expressed concern over other landowners falling suit.
Cooke said SORCA would be willing to share some ideas and work with Dowad on reorienting some trails.
Whatever Dowad’s intentions, barring people from his property will prove to be a difficult task, as he himself realises.
One of his No Tresspass signs has already been knocked out, while a look of disappointment quickly washes over the faces of those he confronts with the notice.
This Wednesday, he stopped a woman from entering his property on Maple Crescent.
He explained to her that he was restricting access to his property until he has sorted out some of the riparian and trail issues.
“I didn’t even know this was private property,” she said, before turning back.
Another man stopped by Dowad also seemed surprised and disappointed.
“There are thousands of people who are going to be pissed off, inlcuding me,” he said, walking away with his dog.