LETTER: The downside of Slocan River floating

From reader Chris Berger

I have lived on the Slocan River for the last 30 years and for the past 12 to 14 years, since the poker float started, people have been floating on our river. It is becoming more and more popular and something needs to be done as many issues are arising. I love floating as do many.

Last year on August long weekend I counted 400 floaters going past my place in two hours. Remember this is only one access point. It wasn’t even the busiest day. I’m glad so many are enjoying themselves, but I’m wondering about the cost to our water way.

• Where do all these people go to the bathroom? There are no porta potties at the bridges (except on the rail trail). Bring on some toilets please.

• How many people like myself and my neighbours live on the river? Has there ever been a study? How many households does it take to make a consumptive use watershed? And are people floating down watersheds in Nelson, Vancouver, Slocan or anywhere else?

• There is limited parking (at this jump-in point anyway) and there are many, many cars. There are even people in the middle of the road blowing up their floating devices who don’t seem to care if you want to pass. We need secure parking.

• Then let’s talk about the garbage people throw in the river. A biologist told me the number of cans in the river are changing the chemical structure of our precious waterway which in turn will affect the fish. I see countless loose cans floating down, lost tubes etc. Come on people, it’s time to take responsibility.

• Then let’s talk about all the drunk people on the river. When I did my survey I’d say 90 per cent were drinking alcohol. Hope they all have designated drivers. There is never any police checking, so let’s just cross our fingers I guess.

• Also it’s very very rare to see anyone in a life jacket. The occasional child maybe, but that’s good because they are in their boats alone. The water is cold and fast.

I’m not saying let’s ban floating, I’m just saying something needs to be done by whomever is responsible for our waterways, please and soon.

Chris Berger


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