There's lots of ice on the lakes still, with this cold weather. The sun is just hot enough to soften the top layer, so it's pretty good for running snowmobiles still.
That boathouse has an ice-away machine running. As do most of the boathouses around the lake, in an attempt to reduce ice damage.
But look again... See that dark line extending from the point across to the left of the photo? The line just above the shadows cast by the trees, the long thin line heading for Lumina... It goes at least half way across the distance between the two points, and what you are looking at is open water. From the ice-away.
Maybe it's not on a timer, which they should be. The idea is to keep the ice free from the boathouse, not to open up the whole lake. Maybe it is incorrectly angled. We'll bet the owners don't even know it's doing this, because -- like the majority of cottage owners, they just aren't up here much this time of year.
But that is a huge hazard to anyone travelling the lake. It's not just here -- I'm using this only because it was an easy photo to take, and a good example. We've got friends who live up here year round. He loves to snowmobile, and ice fish. She loves to snowshoe. They can no longer get out onto the lake in front of their cottage because both their neighbours run ice-aways that aim toward each other, rendering the ice in front of their property completely unsafe.
There's a couple of things wrong with this. One, the waste of energy. All ice-aways should be on timers, that are connected to thermometers, so they are only working when they need to be. That's a lot of hydro being wasted. Another is the amount of open water these, in their multitudes, create along the shorelines. The lakes never really get to freeze over any more, and that open water absorbs sunlight that should be reflected back in winter. Then there's the hazard created for people -- an animals (that route between the two points in front of Bondi is a popular highway for the deer crossing the bay).
There are supposed to be signs posted, and markers in the ice, to delineate the area cleared by the ice-away, but all too often, there are not. So, just a wake up call, to all of us -- if you're using these devices, please think about HOW you are using them, and WHY.
I have no idea what the outcome would be if a snowmobiler, at night, ran into open water where there shouldn't be any open water, but there are doubtless plenty of places now along the lake where this scenario is being created.
Something to think about. Especially coming into Earth Hour.
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