Saturday, July 31, 2010

Protecting our National Parks - Environmental Water Issues

The environment is something that I try, in my very small way, to protect. I recycle, I try very hard to re-use, and to cut back on purchasing things that are over-packaged. I also garden without using fertilizers and use compost to nourish my soil instead.

I have talked about our cabin in Riding Mountain National Park and how very special it is to us. It is a big deal to have the privilege of being in such a beautiful park. I believe we should do everything we can to protect it and that includes the water bodies that are in the park.

We do not have running water in our cabin, nor do any other of the 500 cabins that are in the Old Campground. There is a movement to have water installed which would eliminate the need to for communal washrooms, shared water taps and the communal shower building. The vocal minority (only 13%) have a desire for running water. We feel that they want to follow Waskasu's lead in Saskatchewan and where the price of the cabins jumped up to 150,000. when water was put in. The other 87% of us love our sense of community which would be long gone big-time if the water happens. Most of us just want our cabins to retain some of that sense of community that we have cherished over the years and part of what makes that is the having and sharing of washrooms, shower building and cookhouses, for us it is not about the money.

It also so much easier not to have water because there are a lot of other issues that will develop if this happens. Our little cabins are very close together and any odours from a bathroom fan will vent onto each others air space. I know I would prefer not to smell my neighbours bm's while sitting on my little patio. (Sorry for being so blunt but we are that close together!) Washers and dryers will come in as well as dishwashers. All of these appliances use an incredible amount of water and promote use of non environmentally friendly products. The dryers will vent to the outside as well and again, who wants to smell bounce or similiar products when we have such a great quality of air right now?

There is also the issue of locking up and preparing water systems in the fall. All the toilets and tanks, etc. will have to have an anti-freeze product poured into them to keep them from freezing and bursting in the winter. In the spring these products will be drained into the system and you can't tell me that this doesn't effect the watershed area. When you take that times 500 plus cabins that is a lot of anti-freeze and laundry/dishwasher products that will go into the watershed area that are currently not.

There are other issues as well, including the fact that in order to put in the water systems they will have to remove most of our spruce and other trees and that it will look like a new subdivision and become almost devoid of trees. Who wants that? Our trees are a major part of what makes this area so beautiful.

Another issue is the fact that the campground will be a construction zone for at least ten years, if not more. And so many families can't afford to pay for the the added construction of adding on an addition to accommodate bathroom facilities. It would cost a minimun of at least 15,000. dollars if not more by the time the dust settles. This is a large sum that most people would have a hard time coming up with, especially new families and retired folks.

This is an issue that is very contentious and ultimately will create a huge division in our campground. It is sad that this has to happen when summer is meant to be enjoyed and this could ultimately mar it for years to come.


  1. I completely agree with you. Water at a cabin site is just a pain. Between overuse of resources to winter preparations, it is really more trouble than it is worth. Besides, lack of amenities is part of the fun. I hope the issue doesn't run your little community.

  2. I always find it so sad that people try to modernize those special places. If you're trying to "get away from it all" then why are you trying to bring "it all" here? Never makes sense to me. I hope for you that your place keeps it magic and ease.:o)

  3. One of the beauties of camping is the 'roughing it' aspect. After a week or more it makes you appreciate the niceties we take for granted -- running toilets, hot and cold faucets, a warm, soft bed. Enjoyed my time here -- I'll be back! Gorgeous quilt backdrop, btw. peace...

  4. Laurita- I sure hope that it doesn't damage our little community too much and things can be resolved amiably or at least somewhat amiably. Getting away is definitely about having a change-Wendi and Linda - life is so much simpler there. The pace is nice a slow - we literally have a clock that has never told time since the day we purchased it. It stays between 6/7 all the time - only the minute and second hands work. I think it is trying to tell us that time isn't important there.