Tubing on the Alouette River in Maple Ridge is a popular way to beat the heat during the most scorching summer days. (THE NEWS files)

Heat sends residents, visitors tubing down Alouette River

Maple Ridge waterway is a popular place to cool down.

  • Aug. 10, 2018 6:00 a.m.

With the heat wave on across B.C. and in Maple Ridge, local hot spots are getting busy with people looking to cool down.

The Alouette River, a popular destination for swimmers, river-tubers and sun-bathers, is especially busy due to the long hot stretches, according to resident Ross Davies, with the Kanaka Education and Environment Partnership Society.

“It’s been steady, but it’s weather dependant. With the long, hot stretches, it gets really, really busy.”

Davies also attributes the popularity to an overall demand from the Lower Mainland.

“The demand for outdoor experiences just keeps growing along with the Lower Mainland. Word’s getting out – it’s free. It’s getting more popular, and if you can walk, you can tube.”

Erin Gorby, manager of parks and open spaces, said the city doesn’t track numbers of visitors to areas like Davidson’s Pool and Hot Rocks, but confirmed the influx of visitors has been noticed.

“Anecdotally, we have heard and seen that it is very busy these days, especially on weekends and holidays. While there is an increase of visitors to the area, this is fairly typical during stretches of sustained hot weather,” said Gorby.

While local swimmers may notice an increase of visitors in their favorite swimming holes, Gorby said this is a common occurrence during the hot stretches of summer.

As for parking issues in the streets that surround popular river access spots, Gorby said the city’s parks department hasn’t received any traffic or parking related concerns in the area recently.

Gorby also agreed that most river-goers are respectful of shared road space and said parking only gets dangerous when parked cars are sticking out onto the road.

Areas like Maple Ridge Park and down to Davidson’s Pool and Hot Rocks are the busiest, according to Davies.

Greta Borick-Cunningham, executive director of Alouette River Management Society, said tubers need to use common sense to stay safe.

“It’s just common sense with tubing, when the river is not at its highest, there are more rocks exposed and things like that.”

As for issues surrounding human impact on nature, Borick-Cunningham said garbage plays the biggest role.

“It’s a matter of people being aware to not throw their garbage. I do know people in the area collect cans and cans every couple of days. It’s just making sure you’re not tossing your cans on peoples’ properties or dropping them in the river.”

Davies and Gorby both agree garbage is an issue surrounding river-use.

“Inevitably, you get litter that happens, and discarded floaties. Respect the river,” said Davies.

Gorby said the parks department is supportive of residents taking advantage of Maple Ridge parks and natural areas, but users must remember the natural greenbelt is also used by wildlife.

“In order to avoid having the wildlife become habituated to garbage, it certainly helps to have users pack as much of their garbage out as possible,” said Gorby.

Gorby said the city has increased garbage pick-up frequencies to accommodate higher levels of use in parks.

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