Archery students of Lakes District Secondary School joined coach Dirk Hoffer in helping the Burns Lake Community Forest (BL Comfor) solve an ongoing problem while scoring a bonus for themselevs and their teammates.
Hoffer and his archery students spent the last couple of weeks of the school year installing a 1.6 km fence on the way up to Boer Mountain Road to protect the land from unwanted off-road vehicles that have continuously wrecked the soil.
According to Hoffer, BL Comfor donated $3000 for their efforts. These funds were used the funds to acquire new three-dimensional targets to enhance their training.
“It’s really good for them to see where the money comes from to pay for the extras that we get,” said Hoffer, who has taught archery for more than three decades. “These are 3-D foam targets. We have a bear, a deer, and a coyote and a fox. It will make archery a lot more fun for the kids in the spring next year.” All which were bought locally at Woods N Water.
Donna Brochez, silviculture specialist with the BL Comfor said that for years, drivers of four-wheelers and side-by-side UTVs have motored through the property of the community forest, tearing up seedlings planted by their volunteers and disturbing the neighbouring private property belonging to retired Burns Lake physician Dr. George Magee and his wife Bernice.
“You just need one person on a wet day to go up with a 4-wheeler and you’ve got six months to a year of rehabilitation that you have to do,” said Brochez, adding that they needed this fence completed in 2018.
Dr. Magee, who also contributed $500 to the archery students, said that motorists have been taking a short-cut through his property to get to the power line for at least 20 years. He had put down his own fences and markings in the past, but motorists cut them down and travelled through.
“Having the archery students come up and do the fence was great and they marked it, they have spoken to people, and we are not seeing any 4-wheelers up here now at all,” said Dr. Magee, who added that he does not mind if people walk or ski on his property, but 4-wheelers have torn the soil where he had planted seedlings in previous springs and caused noise disruptions at night.
Brochez said that the archery students worked just as hard as Hoffer to secure the fence. She said it is important for the community to know that there is a workforce among students looking to fundraise as well as an opportunity to teach them a new skill.
“If you can put them to work and still give them a donation, that’s much better than just handing them a cheque.”