Land Development

Why Did the Turtle Cross the Road?

I met a beautiful person yesterday evening, in the north part of town. Here is half of her habitat in an unreasonably wet year …

BX Creek just south of Swan Lake

and turned from a wetland into a waterway.

… and here is the other half of her habitat, just a few steps away, created, no doubt, after a full environmental assessment and with some version of her needs in mind …

Highway 97 North, Vernon

(Preferred nesting grounds of Western Painted Turtles. Behind this asphalt desert, this house on wheels, and these hotels is a sea of industrial equipment lots built up on gravel poured into the former wetlands and sandbars south of Swan Lake. 

And here she is, the Western Painted Turtle who tried to cross the road …

Western Painted Turtle

Waiting for me to go away.

And here she is after some encouragement, going back down the slope into the grass, the willows, and way too much wet…

A Sad but Prudent Retreat

Maybe she’ll try again in the dark when the humans are wrapped up in their sheets, and maybe she’ll build her nest in an auto wrecking yard, and maybe at least one of the little ones that will come might make it back across the road without mishap.

This is what happens when creeks are considered to be surface water courses acting like pipelines and not integral parts of the sandy areas on their flanks. Why call the mountain in behind Turtle Mountain if her turtles aren’t given the respect they deserve as living creatures? When humans don’t respect life and its processes, the things they build don’t, either, even if erected to support human life. Period.

4 replies »

  1. There are painted turtles here on the Sechelt Peninsula and a group active on their behalf, creating sand banks for them to lay eggs in, etc. But now and then I see one in a completely dangerous place — crossing the highway near Trout Lake one early July morning, for instance. We stopped the car and John carried the turtle back to the lake while I stopped traffic so he could escort her safely. This year there are lots of Turtle Crossing signs which at least alert motorists to the prospect of a turtle crossing the road (to get to the other side, as the joke goes). Yours has a beautiful face.


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