The case of Cultus Lake Provincial Park duck statue’s missing head turns out to be no mystery at all.
“Are you aware that the head has been stolen off of the loon sculpture that marks the beginning of Cultus Lake Provincial Park by Entrance Bay?” a Chilliwack Progress reader asked on Wednesday. “I think it’s happened before.”
Jumping on this act of vandalism and/or theft, this reporter asked some questions on Facebook. But it turned out the reader was wrong about two things.
Firstly, no, it’s not a loon, it’s a merganser (type of duck).
Secondly, the merganser’s head is off for repairs.
BC Parks staff asked Chilliwack woodworker Jeremy Sibley to add some TLC and reinstall the head of the iconic sculpture that was erected in 1998.
“Just in case you were wondering where the head of the Cultus Lake merganser was, it’s in my shop getting some much needed repair,” Sibley said on his Instagram account (watermilkwine_designs). “Don’t worry, he will be back in place soon to greet you at #cultuslake park. #bcparks #chilliwack #yarrowbc #cultuslake #cultuslakelife.”
Sibley told The Progress that decades of being outside had led to deterioration in the wood. He brought it to his shop and has added some spacers to fill in where the wood was rotted, and used epoxy to fill in more obvious holes.
The duck’s head was apparently on the ground next to the statue at the park’s entrance, but because of the rot inside, it’s unclear if it was actually vandalism or simply an inevitable reality. It is a popular spot for people to stop to take photos, sometimes silly ones involving climbing on top.
Sibley’s plan is to remount the head with steel support rods on Friday to keep it from falling off again.
As for the type of bird depicted by the original artist, local bird expert Christian Lodders explained.
“It’s a red-breasted merganser, a bird that’s almost never found on Cultus,” Lodders said. “A common merganser would have been a more appropriate choice, since they’re… common.”
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