10/30/15 Update – In the interest of full disclosure we would like to modify this post with some new information. While we still question why the entire northeast side of the meadow adjoining the lake was closed, it turns out that you can still get out to see the drained lake bottom if you come in from the southwest side of the lake. On this side the KEEP OUT signs are at the shoreline, which makes sense considering the lake bottom is mucky mess. It’s best to park along Soda Springs road and hike in through the forest. Not sure if we’ll see sign creep on this side too?
Remember back a few years ago when you would see the NO TRESPASSING signs everywhere in Van Norden Meadow. Then we all got together and gave our money to an organization that was going to buy the land and make it open space and “remove the signs forever”. Well the signs are back.
A not so amusing story about the signs
When the heavy equipment starting showing up at the dam a couple of weeks ago many of us went down to observe. The first thing you probably discovered was there was this nice woman that immediately came up to you. After a minute of talking you realized that as nice as she was, she was the PR woman for handling any issues about draining the lake. She announced herself as a “third party” (whatever that is) and that she was responsible for making the process “transparent”. In that spirit the first thing she did was put caution tape everywhere to attempt to keep everyone away from the spillway where they could see what was going on.
Our first encounter with her when we tried to get up on the dam to get some pictures, well away from any of the equipment, was we were nicely asked to leave the property. Next time we went down to the spillway we saw a sign the area was closed and to enter the meadow via “the road to the left”.
So we drove down the county road to the first parking area and walked the 1/4 mile over to the lake to get pictures as it was being sucked dry. Next day when we returned to the same spot there was a hastily scrawled sign that said this area was closed. So the next day we went over to the west side of the lake and got more photos of the disappearing lake. So what do think happened the next day when we returned to that spot. You guessed it. There were keep out signs along the western approach to the lake. Now the Land Trust has effectively closed the entire east end of the meadow where they are draining the lake.
A cruel joke?
Probably the cruelest cut of all is the final line on the NO TRESPASSING sign, please do not trample new shoreline – its delicate. It’s hard to imagine a more harmful insult to the lakebed than removing the lake above it. To try to keep people out of the area under the guise that it is an effort to protect that lake bottom and shoreline really goes beyond the pale. Like a few footprints in the mud can compare to the damage done by removing the water. You have to wonder why the whole east end of the meadow, hundreds of yards away from the lake bottom and any “wet soil” needs to be closed. Of course I do have to admit that it is a somewhat effective way of making sure that people can’t see (or photograph) the dried out mud hole that was once the beautiful Van Norden Lake.