I use Inuvik’s Boot Lake Trail almost every day.
In fact, walking around the trail was the first thing my new Inuvik friends took me to do when I first arrived here in January, so the trail has always been something of a highlight of the town for me.
The trail is also part of the The Great Trail, or the Trans Canada Trail, the longest recreational trail in the world.
The three-kilometre loop around the boot-shaped lake is a beautiful walk all year round.
In the winter, it looks like a scene out of the Chronicles of Narnia, and in the summer, it reminds me of being at a friend’s cottage in Northern Ontario.
The dog my boyfriend and I are taking care of for a friend also loves the trail – it’s an unofficial off-leash area for dogs as it is a safe place for them to explore away from busy roads.
It’s really the only easy-to-access walking trail in town, unless you can make the drive out to Ja’k Park or Gwich’in Park.
For all these reasons, I am disappointed by the vandalism the trail has fallen victim to this summer.
In June, the trail’s gazebo burned to the ground.
What makes this incident especially unfortunate is that the gazebo was constructed by volunteer members of the Canadian Armed Forces as part of Operation Nanook in 2012, so it is unlikely that it will be replaced anytime soon.
Early last week, I came across a discarded caribou carcass that was left in Duck Lake Park (which is part of the trail).
A few days later, as I was crossing the bridge to get from the southern part of the trail to Duck Lake Park, there was an upended, vandalized picnic table at the end of the bridge with a single caribou leg left in front of it.
Not only was this creepy and jarring, but it was also highly disrespectful to the animal.
It is likely these incidents were caused by mischievous youth who thought they were taking part in harmless late-night shenanigans, but these acts are nonetheless unacceptable.
Not only do these incidents make the trail less enjoyable for its local users, but things like discarded animals could be hazardous to curious dogs and children.
These senseless acts of vandalism also don’t paint a positive picture for any tourists that might be using the trail.
Please, let’s have more respect for Boot Lake Trail.