WO Access Agreement Testimonial: Crowe Bridge, Lucille Orlando

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-How did you get involved in the WO Crowe Bridge Access agreement?

Over 15 years ago, my husband Joe and I started clearing a portion of our 5 acres in order to build our dream home. We would be at the property almost every weekend. We had a front gate installed which we left open while at the property. We noticed eager kayakers accessing the Crowe river from numerous difficult access points. We realised that part of our property might present an access opportunity for kayakers.

-What were your experiences before the agreement?

The kayakers were getting out of the river (once they had done their amazing feats in the swells) and walking along our shoreline to get back in front of the swells. They seemed apprehensive about walking on the shoreline. A few of them finally approached us and asked if it was ok for them to walk along the shoreline. We weren't happy about trespassers getting used to using the shoreline - especially since this was going to (someday) be our retirement home. A few years later, after giving it some thought we gave them the green light. We realized they weren't doing any harm and we started enjoying the 'antics' and amazing concentration required to do kayaking feats.

-What are your experiences after 2 years of the agreement being in place?

The kayakers are always waving at us whenever we're outdoors and they're getting out of the river/walking up the shoreline. It's kind of funny, as I mentioned to Joe, my arm is so busy waving that I sometimes have little time to carry on with whatever outdoor chore I'm tackling :) Nice, happy people, those kayakers are!

-What advice would you give to other landowners who have kayakers accessing rivers on or near their property?

Approx 3 years ago, two members of Whitewater Ontario asked if they could build a ramp to go over our fence so the kayakers could access the river. They also wanted to know what our needs as landowners were. We simply asked for no litter to be left behind and respect our property. They asked if signage could be erected saying this and we said yes. They showed us their suggested location for the ramp- far enough away from the house and yet close enough to the road/river to make it worthwhile. They also showed us where the signs would be installed. A few weeks later a very nicely constructed ramp was in place. Signage was erected and so begins a harmonious relationship. In late spring, prior to the May long weekend, the signs and ramp are removed so that we are not overwhelmed with summer tourists trying to access our shoreline. A few years ago we found a Tim Horton's gift certificate with a note of thanks left at our front door. Another time a case of 6 beers was left at our door - what nice gestures!

Submitted by Lucille Orlando, March 2012


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