Dorothy Lake is a tiny body of water that sparkles at the edge of Kinsmen Park in Invermere. Strictly speaking, Dorothy Lake is by definition a pond — a “body of water which is shallow enough to allow sunlight to reach the bottom to support rooted water plants.”
In the centre of the lake a fountain makes a picturesque splash during the summer months and a walkway borders the shoreline, providing a pleasant spot for an afternoon stroll. Just a hundred metres or so away, on the shore of Lake Windermere, Kinsmen Beach is alive with the happy sounds of bathers and picnickers. But here everything is peaceful.
The lake is a micro wetlands environment, an ideal habitat for dozens of species of wildlife. At various times of the day you may see different species of ducks, perhaps some Canada geese, various small shore birds and once in a while you may even spot a blue heron fishing for its lunch. Overhead, atop a tall pole at each end of the lake, a couple of osprey families have nests. Bring your binoculars and definitely bring your camera for some great shots!
Although the lake is posted with no-fishing signs, it is designated by the BC Government as one of the province’s 19 “youth-accompanied waters,” meaning that the following are permitted to fish in the lake:
- kids and youth under 16 years of age (no fishing license needed) if accompanied by up to two adults
- disabled anglers with valid fee-reduced angling licenses if accompanied by up to 2 adults
- If the accompanying adults have valid fishing licenses, they may also fish.
For more information about “youth-accompanied waters” read http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/fish/regulations/docs/2001/age_restricted_waters.pdf.
The lake is regularly stocked with trout by Kootenay Trout Hatchery and we hear that the fishing is great! Boating is prohibited on Dorothy Lake because it is the habitat of the western painted turtle.
The highlight of your visit to Dorothy Lake will undoubtedly be catching a glimpse of the blue-listed* western painted turtles swimming just beneath the surface of the lake or basking in the warm sunshine on a small raft floating on the water. You may even see one crossing the road to get to Lake Windermere –- in turtle fashion, of course. The western painted turtle is the only native pond turtle left in British Columbia. If you remember having a pet turtle as a child, you will recognize the Dorothy Lake turtles as being very similar to your pet turtle. There is a sign along the pathway featuring interesting facts about this vulnerable species.
* What does blue-listed mean? It means that the western painted turtle is considered to be vulnerable to habitat loss and susceptible to human and natural disturbances. If you happen upon one ambling across your path, please do not disturb it. Just enjoy it from a distance.