Long time lake-goers will remember that CRD Parks used to bring washed sand down to our tiny shoreline each summer, but that practice was discontinued in recent years. Since enquiries are made about sand each year, we would like to outline the background to the decision that was made by CRD Parks to discontinue bringing sand some years ago. The addition of sand at Prior Lake has been examined by various individuals at the park management level, and we have been told by both our previous CRD Parks contact and our current contact that fresh sand will no longer be brought down to the lake, and they are very definite about adhering to this decision.
Here is a quote from a letter we received from CRD Parks management in 2016:
Regarding the importing of beach sand to Prior Lake, I recognize that in the past sand was brought into the lake subsequent to obtaining proper permits from the Ministry of Environment. I have researched why Regional Parks stopped bringing sand into the site several years ago and it appears it was because there were concerns that the practice could result in negative impacts to the small lake’s ecosystem. Due to Prior Lake’s size anything we introduce to the lake can have a large impact on the lake’s water quality. On small lakes, eutrophication is a very real threat to the lake’s overall health. When you add materials such as beach sand to the surrounding land area, the winter rains tend to flush a lot of that material into the lake. With this increase in nutrients entering the lake plant growth tends to increase, and death of animal life may occur from lack of oxygen. Essentially the lake ecosystem will die the more nutrients we add to it. … If any of your members notice anyone dumping sand or other materials please have them contact the CRD Bylaw Enforcement Services office immediately as this action violates CRD Bylaw No. 4225 Section 7.1 H and Section 17 of the Provincial Water Sustainability Act.
As it turns out, CRD Parks has had timely foresight. Even without imported sand, this and last year’s blue-green algae blooms are clear evidence of deteriorating water quality at Prior Lake (the eutrophication referred to above) — both environmentally and for its suitability for recreation. This is why we must be proactive in trying to minimize the environmental impact of all types of human activity on the lake, especially avoiding swimming after having applied chemicals such as sunscreens and oils to our bodies. If we want to both swim and use sunscreen, it would reduce our impact on the lake if we swim first, then apply sunscreen afterward to avoid it washing off in the water. The effects of these foreign substances on the natural environment are cumulative, and the lake needs an opportunity to recover to a more balanced, natural state.
As is becoming clearly evident on a world scale, it is all too easy to disregard the impacts of our normal daily activities on the local environment until either drastic action is needed, or it is too late for a recovery. Now more than ever, Prior Lake deserves the utmost of respect and preservation in its natural state, just as we wish for ourselves as individuals. Please remember that the lake, dock and beach area are shared resources, and not one’s backyard wherein we can do whatever we wish for our own personal use and enjoyment. We need to consider our impact on the environment in all that we do while visiting Prior Lake, and collaborate and work together toward the common goal of limiting ourselves to sustainable practices at this unique and very special naturist paradise.
William and Danny
Now that swimming season is in full swing, we suggest that lake-goers be mindful that human activities can have an impact on the water quality of our small lake. There have already been reports of blue-green algae appearing in the lake — which is earlier than it appeared last year. It would be helpful if everyone does their part to minimize the likelihood of another full-blown blue-green algae bloom from occurring this year.
University research has shown that urinating in a lake by humans is known to change the lake chemistry and contribute to toxic algae blooms. Urine can also be harmful to fish and other wildlife, particularly when unmetabolized pharmaceuticals are excreted into the water. When nature calls, it is worthwhile to take the small added time and effort to cover up and use the portable toilet up the path.
Additionally, “A growing sheaf of studies shows that the tiniest components that are added to sunscreen to block harmful ultraviolet rays — nanoparticles of titanium dioxide, copper oxide, zinc oxide and cerium oxide, so tiny it takes 100,000 of them to make up the width of human hair — pose grave risks to small aquatic organisms.” (Source)
In keeping with the naturist philosophy of “going natural”, please consider that the products we put on our bodies are released into the lake water when swimming, and can therefore potentially impact water quality and the lake ecosystem. Even “natural” oils introduce substances that are unnatural to lake environments, and leave a film on the lake surface that can reduce the ability of the lake to breathe and function naturally.
We understand the importance of using skincare products that offer protection from the harmful rays of the sun, and are simply suggesting to use a little forethought in the amount, type and way it is used. Making well-informed decisions can help to maintain the natural healthy balance of the lake water, and also ensure naturism continues at Prior Lake for ourselves and future generations.
William and Danny
CRD Parks has informed us that the water at Prior Lake now tests negative for blue-green algae, so it is safe to resume water-based activities.
On August 23, 2018, the Capital Regional District (CRD) advised that water samples taken from Prior Lake have tested positive for a type of blue-green algae that produces cyanotoxins. Visitors are advised to avoid swimming at Prior Lake and to keep animals on a leash to prevent them from drinking or swimming in the lake until the advisory has been lifted.
Read the full Public Service Announcement issued by the CRD. Please visit www.crd.bc.ca/alerts and Twitter @crd_bc for updates on the status of the algae bloom.
For further information please contact CRD Regional Parks at 250-478-3344.
To learn more about blue-green algae visit these sites:
Hello fellow naturists
We continue to liaise with CRD Parks on a number of current happenings. In addition, they have asked us to comply with the following:
A letter to us from CRD Parks states: “please ask your members to remove all of the rolls of carpets and chairs at the end of their visit.” Carpeting, in addition to being unhygienic, contains toxic chemicals that could leach into the lake, and are not appropriate to bring into the park. Please note that any household effects left overnight in the vicinity of the lake will be subject to removal by CRD Parks.
CRD Parks is concerned with damage to the environment caused by the use of areas that have been clearly signed as “Area Closed to Restore Vegetation” in the vicinity of Prior Lake. Please respect and abide by CRD Parks’ request “to only use the authorized trail that leads down to the lake from the parking lot.” All other areas of the park near Prior Lake, in particular the rock bluff immediately behind the dock, are closed to the public, as they are environmentally sensitive and easily damaged by human activity. Many of these trespassers are not from our group, but in support of naturist values, we should be expected to do our part to maintain the integrity of the park’s ecosystem.
Compliance with requests that CRD Parks makes from time to time is important in maintaining a mutually respectful and cooperative relationship with CRD Parks. We are guests of the park, and just as people do in any other public environment, we need to be mindful of conducting ourselves in ways that ensure our continued presence is welcomed in this unique and special naturist enclave.
We encourage everyone to spread the word about these requests to other lake-goers, as not everyone has signed up for our PLNPC posts.
William and Danny
With lake season fast approaching, are you wondering what the weather is like at Prior Lake? We have just added The Weather Network’s beach report for Prior Lake to the menu/sidebar of the PLNPC website. This report includes lots of handy info, including the current temperature and weather conditions, weather forecast, UV index, probability of precipitation, pollen count, etc. The Weather Network also acknowledges Prior Lake as a clothing-optional beach. Check it out and consider adding the beach report to your Internet bookmarks (in addition to ours) for easy future reference.
Vincent, a regular lake-goer for most of his life, passed away on November 20, 2017 at the age of 88. He exemplified the naturist philosophy of having a strong spiritual connection with the natural surroundings, which he expressed skillfully through his insightful poems about the lake and dock. These poems have enhanced the Prior Lake The Bare Facts newsletter, and more recently, this PLNPC website. Vincent was known for his reassuring baritone voice, gentlemanly demeanour, and his big green Cadillac convertible. He always set up a lawn chair on the same corner of the dock and treasured deeply-satisfying extended swims in the lake. He was the great-grandson of J.D. Pemberton, surveyor-general of the Colony of Vancouver Island, and became an astute real estate investor. Business success did not change Vincent’s approach to others. He stayed humble and down to earth, and regarded everyone as an equal, consistently treating all he met with respect and dignity. There will be a graveside service for Vincent on Friday, December 1 at 1:00 pm at Ross Bay Cemetery.