Couple collects 32K empties from logging road, donates proceeds to search volunteers

32K cans picked from bush

An Okanagan couple’s summer spent picking up empties in the backcountry has gone to a good cause. 

Raymond Imbeau and Barbara Kitz collected 32,000 beer cans from along the 201 Forest Service Road during eight weeks of camping and ATVing in the area. The gravel road stretches between Idabel Lake and Penticton/Okanagan Falls.

While travelling the road, every time they saw a can, Ray would stab it and put it in the bag.

“There were days we would fill the bags on the front and back of the ATV, plus Barb, who was riding behind me, would often have a full bag in each hand,” said Ray.

If you laid 32,000 beer cans end-to-end they’d stretch 2.94 kilometres. Crushed, they’d fill 111 garbage bags. Taken to the bottle depot, they are worth $3,200.

Which is exactly what Ray and Barb did last week. The pair then donated the funds to Central Okanagan Search and Rescue.

This is the third year that the couple have made a donation to COSAR. In 2018 they cashed in 8,000 cans. In 2019 they ended up with 20,000. 

Barb says Bud Light and Old Milwaukee seem to be the most popular beverages of backcountry slobs. 

“But we're seeing more craft beer. We even found a can for a garlic and basil beer. I mean, what?” said Barb.

To date Ray and Barb have travelled over 25,000 kilometres on their trusty Can-Am ATV and have donated $5,700 to COSAR.

COSAR used the money to help buy a TrailRider wheeled chair to use when extracting an injured subject who can’t walk but doesn’t require a stretcher.

“They are some of the most generous supporters we have,” said COSAR president Dan Schlosser. “We rely on fundraising to stay fully operational and this certainly helps.”

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