LETTER: Skimboarders, please respect beaches of Semiahmoo Bay

The Editor, Re: "The dog days of skimboarding," the Now, Aug. 21.

Matt Law’s feature story was of interest and I would like to comment and also share information that can further inform and be distributed to raise awareness.

Skimboarding participants, while enjoying their sport, need to conduct themselves responsibly, with consideration and respect for the natural environment. In 2005, we worked with skimboarders, the Breaknecks, to develop the ‘Skimboarders Decorum’ to address environmental damage caused by skimboarding on the mudflats of Semiahmoo Bay.

In the story, you made the comment, "Once you have a spot, be sure to clear the

pool of shells and rocks to save your feet from cuts." While encouraging personal safety, you forgot to remind about the damage to the mud flats that removing rocks and shells can cause. It is better for skimboarders to find a pool with no rocks or shells or eelgrass to disturb. Our "Beach Etiquette" poster promotes more appropriate beach behavior.

The beach of White Rock is named Semiahmoo Bay and is a part of Boundary Bay (as is Drayton Harbor, Mud Bay, Beach Grove, etc.). It is internationally recognized as an environmentally sensitive area (ESA). All recreational users in an ESA need to conduct themselves responsibly.

Furthermore, Semiahmoo Bay is a part of the Boundary Bay, BC Wildlife Management Area, a provincially designated area protected for its important habitats, all red-coded as environmentally sensitive. Boundary Bay is also a part of the top-rated Important Bird Area of 600 designated sites in Canada.

While it is great for people of all ages to enjoy the beach, there are more appropriate activities than others, that cause little damage. Skimboarding can be enjoyed responsibly, as can paddleboarding, kayaking, swimming, nature viewing and walking. And while folks are out there, why not pick up some litter and remind others that this very special place needs our care and respect.

Margaret Cuthbert

President, Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society

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