Opinion: Ignorant people are ruining this brilliant Burnaby trail

Chris Campbell

The City of Burnaby takes a lot of heat, but they do get things right.

One thing it did during the COVID-19 pandemic was make the Deer Lake trail a one-way path. It was a simple, yet brilliant idea aimed at letting people get exercise outside while still maintaining distance.

The problem is that some ignorant people can’t - or won’t – follow a simple rule to only walk one way on the trail.

I went for the 40-minute hike with my mom last Friday during a sweltering afternoon. It was a lovely day, except for the muggy conditions.

Oh, and the dumb people who refused to follow the rules. I lost count at 11 people who were walking the wrong way on the trail.

Now, before you start emailing me some excuses because you can’t handle anyone “being negative,” there is absolutely no way that somebody can’t know which way the path goes.

There are signs everywhere. Direction signs. “Wrong way” signs. Giant maps with big arrows saying “go this way, please.”

deer lake burnaby
How did some people miss the signs at Deer Lake in Burnaby? Or do they just not care. Chris Campbell photo

There were old people walking the wrong way. Young people walking the wrong way. Families pushing strollers going the wrong way. Cyclists going the wrong way. Yes, cyclists, which is also wrong because there are signs everywhere saying you can’t cycle on the trail – or at least some parts of it.

The big problem is that many parts of the Deer Lake trail are narrow and so you are literally unable to keep your distance from someone walking the other way. It seemed like such a simple solution.

I kept pointing out the signs to people and some pretended to be confused, but I’ve seen better acting from my teen daughter when she was trying to make an excuse for staying out past curfew. Others just didn’t give a damn. It really is incredible when you catch grown adults blatantly breaking the rules and they get this 1,000-yard stare in their eyes. Not a trace of guilt.

The one-way trail isn’t a perfect distancing experience. Some joggers refused to wait until we got to a wider patch and they’d squeeze by and I’d try and avoid the sweaty spray coming off of them.

Other than that, Deer Lake is an amazing place to walk. Fragrant flowers. Plenty of wild life (we saw baby turtles on a log with a duck family). And that tranquil water.

Too bad it all comes with the whiff of stupidity.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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