Saturday, March 29, 2008

Pine Grosbeaks

These pine grosbeaks have been feeding at our home all winter. The most we have had were 23 at one time. There are still about 10 left but they will soon move on till next winter.

Earth Hour

Get out the candles at Lac le Jeune! Saturday, March 29, at 8 p.m. people around the world will turn out their lights for Earth Hour to raise awareness about climate change and to demonstrate that together we can make a difference.

Be sure to leave your comments here to let everyone know what you did during Earth Hour! If you take some photographs share them at and they will be added to the

Image from WWF Canada

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A reminder of how close we live to wildlife

This picture was taken by Hana Struss on January 30, 2008 out the front door of her house.
The cat looked at me and was not scared at all. He just slowly walked away.
We've had some discussions around the neighbourhood about these cat spottings ...Is this a lynx or a bobcat? Please respond to the poll on the main page!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fishing Report

Hi everyone! Time to start thinking about fishing. Jim Phillips, Ken Strand and I have been tying flies like crazy in anticipation of the coming season. Sadly, the earliest ice off in my records is April 18th, and I don't think we will be close to that this year (latest is May 18th). Last year it came off on April 30th.

Anyway, get ready by having lots of size 12 and 14 Chironomids on hand. Black body with red wire wrap work best early. I've also had lots of success early with small Charoboras (size 14 or 16). Small micro leeches in olive, black, or brown also should be in your fly box. These are standard patterns, but if you don't tie your own flies, see Ron at the Kamloops Fly shop.  Good fishing!


Photo by Frank Morton

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ready for summer at the Lac?


Sylvia has asked me to contribute to the Lac le Jeune blog and I don't even live there . . . yet.  Let me introduce myself.  I'm Sylvia's sister, Jenny.  My husband Jeff and I will soon  be residents at the Lac and we can't wait.  We have visited many times and think it's a beautiful place.  About this time of year I'm sure everyone  is looking forward to warmer weather, so I thought I'd include a couple of summer photos I took during one of my visits.

We'll see you soon!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Please explain

Yesterday late afternoon I was driving home on the old Lac le Jeune highway. Before the big climb up toward McConnell Lake I saw a man and a young boy standing beside a truck which was pulled off to the side of the road. While I was watching the man pulled out a rifle and shot into the bushes. I couldn't believe my eyes! What on earth would he be shooting at? And why would he be using a rifle so close to trails and people? And is it even legal to shoot a rifle from the road? Good grief, I hope not!

I hit my brakes and looked back to see what was going on but was too far past the truck. At that moment 2 cyclists with huge spring-is-here smiles whizzed by and all I could think was watch out! That guy's got a gun!

I was too shocked and confused to think about taking down a license plate number. Sheesh, so much for a relaxing, scenic drive home on the old highway.

Letter to Honourable Barry Penner, Minister of Environment

This letter to Honourable Barry Penner, Minister of Environment, was sent by Bev Lorimer. The response from Nancy Wilkin, Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Stewardship Division, follows.

Minister Penner
Ministry of Environment
Victoria, BC

Re: Trapping

Dear Sir,

I live in Lac Le Jeune, BC which is a small community approximately 20km south of Kamloops. The area includes a very popular Provincial Park, several hundred residents and abundant recreational opportunities including hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking and fishing. I moved to this area for these recreational opportunities, particularly winter activities such as snowshoeing with my dogs.

Over the past few winters, a trapper has become active in the area. I am aware that he has a legal tenure for Trapping. The Trapline Number is TR0319 T002 (Lac Le Jeune, Walloper, McConnell Lake and Connelly Lake). A second active Trapline in the area is Number TR0319 T003.

A few years ago, my hiking partners and I found a leghold trap within a few metres of the Melba Creek Forest Service Road (FSR). This was a site less than 200m from Highway 97D and less than 500m from a Highway Rest Area on the Coquihalla Highway. We had our dogs with us, but luckily a piece of the bait had fallen onto the trap and set it off.

Several weeks ago, I met the trapper on the Walloper Creek FSR which is within the same area as Melba Creek, and less than 500m from a private residence. This area is criss-crossed by designated recreation trails including Schedule ‘A’ Recreation Trails under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Forests and Range. I asked this trapper why he couldn’t place the traps farther up the mountain away from the intensive recreational use. He informed me that he had the right to trap anywhere, and that we would be safe if we stayed on the main logging road. Unfortunately, the reason I come to this area is to recreate on the trails through the forest – not on the logging road. To make matters worse, our 4 year old granddaughter has started to snowshoe with us. I am very concerned that she may be injured by these traps.

I understand that this is a historic use of the Crown landbase. However, that doesn’t mean that it has to continue with practices dating from the early 1900’s. Many other Natural Resource Sectors have undergone drastic changes to bring them in line with current natural resource management techniques and public expectations. For instance, our forest industry is one of the best managed in the world. There is legislation that allows for commercial extraction while managing for other values including recreation, wildlife, and general biodiversity. This is addressed through an intensive planning tool called a Forest Stewardship Plan. The introduction of the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) also brought the ranching sector up to current management standards through the introduction of the Range Stewardship Plan. All of these industries operate on a principle of public input and involvement into the management of the Crown’s resource. Even the mining industry is now subject to extensive public involvement through the Environmental Assessment Process.

It is time to revise the applicable legislation that governs trapping so that other values can be incorporated into the management of this industry. Some possible suggestions include:
  • For each Trapline, the tenure holder should prepare a management plan that addresses all resource management values and their plan to manage the wildlife species affected by their activities. As it is with the industries mentioned above, this plan should be signed and sealed by the applicable member of a professional body (i.e. Registered Professional Biologist). The public has already shown that Professional Reliance is the minimum standard acceptable.
  • The management plan should be advertised for public input. Currently, a 60-day referral period is the standard.
  • Areas should be identified that are unavailable for trapping. For instance, a buffer around communities should be in place were trapping is prohibited. We have been told by Trappers that they could even snowmobile on our local groomed cross-country ski trails that prohibit motorized traffic under FRPA. These trails are managed by a volunteer group within a Forest Service Recreation Site. It appears that there are very few restrictions on the placement of traps.
  • In areas heavily impacted by the Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB), trapping should be decreased to address the significant loss of habitat for small mammals. This should be defined by staff biologists for the Ministry of Environment.
Although I find the indiscriminate use of these traps to be a deplorable and inhumane practice, I am primarily concerned with the apparent lack of management for this industry. This activity must be undertaken in a manner that addresses sound principles of natural resource management and finds balanced solutions that meet economic, environmental and social requirements.

I look forward to your response.

Yours truly,

Beverley Lorimer

Here is the response from Nancy Wilkin, Assistant Deputy Minister:
Reference: 96859

Dear Ms. Lorimer:

Thank you for your letter of January 28, 2008, addressed to the Honourable Barry Penner, Minister of Environment regarding trapping in British Columbia. Your letter has been forwarded to me to respond on the Minister’s behalf.

The Government of British Columbia has long considered trapping to be a responsible and sustainable use of our natural resources. All trappers in the province are required to pass the British Columbia Trappers Education Program, or its equivalent, if they are from other jurisdictions. This course teaches trappers humane trapping techniques, as well as how to wisely manage the fur-bearing animals on their trapline. Trappers in British Columbia are licensed and their harvests are monitored by the Ministry of Environment. Trappers must comply with strict regulations concerning seasons and management quotas to ensure that furbearer populations remain healthy and productive.

The registered trapline system in BC gives trappers exclusive privileges to trap in an area. This system, which has been in place since 1926, fosters stewardship and encourages proper management of furbearers on an individual’s trapline. Over-harvesting a species on a trapline would be detrimental to both the animal population and the livelihood of the trapper who manages the line. The BC Government is satisfied that this system, along with regulations on season lengths and quotas, works to properly manage furbearers in BC.

There are questions about the potential effects of Mountain Pine beetle and associated logging on furbearer species. Studies are being conducted in the province to increase our knowledge in this area, and ministry biologists will adjust trapping seasons if necessary.

In your letter, you mention that you had found a leg hold trap while out hiking. I would like to provide some information on these types of traps. In British Columbia, the conventional leg hold trap, also known as the non-modified leg hold trap, has been prohibited for live capture of all animals since 1983. Modified leg hold traps are legal only for wolf, coyote, fox, bobcat and lynx, and only if the steel jaws are modified to be either “offset”, “laminated,” or “padded” to reduce and eliminate injuries. These non-conventional traps work so well, that they are often the preferred method of capturing animals for scientific or educational purposes when the animal must be released unharmed.

The Ministry of Environment does place some restrictions on where trapping can take place. Under the current regulations, it is an offense to set a trap on land, within 200 meters of a dwelling, unless the trap is a live box or cage trap, or an egg trap (a small trap designed to hold raccoons). This law is to prevent people from setting large traps in populated areas which may potentially harm domestic animals or people. In addition, it is an offense to trap on private land without the permission of the property owner or occupier.

Currently, the Ministry of Environment does not require trappers to mark or post signs in areas where traps are set. Although there are no specific signage regulations, many trappers do place signs warning people that they are entering a trapline area, or that a trap is set nearby. Other trappers, however, do not do this as such postings can result in their traps being vandalized or stolen.

In more rural and back-country areas, it is expected that dogs will be allowed to run off the leash. Pet owners need to be aware that if they allow this activity, there is a very small chance their dogs may come across a trap set during the winter trapping season. Pet owners should keep their dogs under control if they have concerns about the area they are in. No trapper wants to see domestic animals or people harmed by traps. It adversely affects their business, and damages the reputation of trappers province-wide.

Current management of trapping in the province is working well. The trapping industry in the province is fairly small and normally, trapping activities do not come into conflict with recreational land uses. It is important that all wilderness users apply common sense and an awareness of their own safety while conducting their activities, recognizing that they share the land with other user groups.

Thank you again for writing and expressing your concerns.

Yours truly,

Nancy Wilkin
Assistant Deputy Minister
Environmental Stewardship Division

pc: Honourable Barry Penner, Minister of Environment

Letter to Kamloops Daily News

Thanks to Bev Lorimer for her great work, this letter was published in the Kamloops Daily News.

Many of the residents of Lac Le Jeune would like to express our disappointment with Cam Fortems’ article, “Tracking the Wolf,” in the February 2, 2008, edition of the Kamloops Daily News. While this article gives insight into one man’s career in the North Thompson, it unfortunately glamorizes the practice of trapping, and neglects to mention the distinctly unromantic realities of today’s outdated harvesting practices. It also avoids the impact such practices have on neighbouring communities.

A number of residents in our rural community participate in many outdoor winter activities, but, with apprehension due to active and escalating animal trapping in our area. A number of years ago leg-hold traps were discovered beside groomed ski trails in the Lac Le Jeune area. These trails are very popular with local and Kamloops skiers and their dogs. In November an active leg-hold trap was found 5 meters off Melba Creek Forest Service Road, another area used regularly by snowshoers and skiers with their dogs and children. Also, a trapper, who currently holds a trapping license for a 300 square mile area, including Chuwhels Mountain, Lac Le Jeune, Connolly, McConnell and Bush Lake (old Canada Games trails) areas, is trapping in a busy recreational area and near a farm residence on the Walloper Creek Forest Service Road. His motivations for pursuing his harvesting in close proximity to pets and people remain unclear, and the public has only been made aware of his activities through signage erected by a Lac Le Jeune resident – not the trapper.

While these activities are worrisome enough, recently evidence of such reprehensible pursuits has been found much closer to home. Last week the carcases of three coyotes were discovered on Ridge Mountain Forest Service Road – less than 500 meters from a resident’s home. Two of the coyotes were skinned, while the third still had its fur intact. These are not sights one wants to encounter while out for a walk in the community!

Ministry of Environment trapping regulations state that “When trapping in areas near recreational areas or communities …. Warning signs should be used to inform people of trapping activities.” This is certainly not happening in our area. The same regulations also state that trappers need “to remember that the landscape is utilized by a number of different user groups and that the safety of non-target species is vital to good trapline management” (Ministry of Environment, 2007-2008 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis, pg. 92.)

As shown, these regulations have not been adhered to by local harvesters, and they illustrate the increasing dangers that these activities have generated. Recreational users of any crown land have to be aware there is likely to be an active trapline in their proximity. The Ministry of the Environment not only needs to address the conflict developing in these recreational and rural areas, it must also properly enforce its regulations.

We live in an area rich in wildlife and with outstanding recreational opportunities. Hopefully, with improved management this area will provide a safe place to enjoy the outdoors.

Signed by the following Lac Le Jeune residents:

Ross & Bev Lorimer
Pam & Casey Sheridan
The Upton Family
Jim & Carolyn Phillips
Kecia & Mike Turunen
Edel & Monica Mattfeld
John Dumesnil
Miro & Hana Struss
Hugh & Pat Burton
Mike & Janet Jones
Bob Brown & Sylvia Currie
Brenda Mohebbi
Darren Twidale & Sonia Walczak
Pat Endersby ( Chuwells Mountain Road)

Higher resolution photos from Google Earth

This just in from my brother-in-law who calls himself a "Lac Fan". Google Earth now has higher resolution photos of the Lac le Jeune area. Download Google Earth and check it out!