District of Sicamous public docks and boat launches, including those on Finlayson Street (photo taken before the COVID-19 crisis), remain open for use provided those using them are respectful of physical distancing. (District of Sicamous photo)

Shuswap Lake boat launches remain open though travel discouraged

Local governments ask that users respect physical distancing restrictions

Shuswap residents wanting to do a little self-isolating on the water can still use boat launches in the region provided they respect distancing restrictions related to COVID-19.

Public boat launches within the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) remain open, as do those within the City of Salmon Arm and the District of Sicamous.

On Friday, April 17, the CSRD stated its launches were open for use by Shuswap residents as long as physical distancing requirements were respected and public safety maintained. While provincial parks and recreation sites have been closed in response to the virus, as have two recreation sites within Electoral Area A (Golden), the CSRD noted there had been no recommendation from the province when it comes to restricting boating access for recreational purposes.

Read more: Would-be visitors to Shuswap over the long weekend asked to stay home

Read more: Shuswap landfills an alternative to open burning

“That being said, federal and provincial leaders, as well as medical health officers, are asking people to avoid all non-essential travel, which includes coming into the Columbia Shuswap Regional District to go boating,” stated an April 17 CSRD release. “Travelling to other neighbouring communities to go boating is also not complying with the recommendations designed to keep citizens as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

CSRD boat launches on Shuswap and Mara lakes currently open include:

• Windsor Road at Swansea Point;

• Markwart Road in Sorrento;

• Whitehead Road in Eagle Bay;

• Magna Bay in Celista.

The Harbour Road launch in Blind Bay remains closed due to low water in Shuswap Lake.

With respect to physical distancing recommendations, the District of Sicamous asked that only one person be on a boat launch or dock at a time. The district also reiterated that provincial parks along Shuswap and Mara lakes remain closed, including Cinnemousun Narrows Provincial Park, Shuswap Lake Marine Provincial Park and Mara Provincial Park.

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