A cleanup of the backcountry in the Peachland area recovered more than 12,935 pounds of trash.
The Okanagan Forest Task Force teamed up with the Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance to haul out everything from vehicles to appliances, mattresses, and thousands of nails from wooden pallets that had been burned in large bonfires.
“As most people know, we are partnered with ABC Recycling, so wherever we attend, they come along with their big magnet truck,” said Kane Blake, OFTF founder.
The other partners include the District of Peachland, Peachland Fire and Rescue Service, the Regional District of Central Okanagan, GFL, Peachland Lions Club, and Peachland Rotary. The cleanup took place Saturday from Princeton Avenue to Brenda Mine.
“The sheer variety of garbage tells the sad story that illegal dumpers are a diverse group, from commercial outfits to supposed outdoor enthusiasts,” says Taryn Skalbania, PWPA co-founder. “The disrespect for the wilderness is quite depressing to see year after year. It’s not getting better.”
She adds that one bit of good news for the volunteers was the early winter last year as it snowed early and deep, preventing access to some of the favorite dumping locations. Crews were able to tackle a backlog of trash they didn’t get to last spring because there was less cleanup needed in the upper reaches of the forest.
Another area the OFTF will be targeting for a cleanup, on June 3, is Postill Lake Road. A recent video shared on social media showed one area of the popular backcountry spot littered with hundreds of shell casings and a fire left burning.
“Every time we go up there, there’s always lots. That’s one of those roads that no matter what we do, within a month or two, you’d never know we were there,” Blake points out.
He says until they get more cameras installed to help track down dumpers, it’s going to be a constant problem.
Another video posted to the OFTF Facebook group showed a woman following a pickup truck overflowing with what looked like trees and other yard waste. She asked the driver to take it to the landfill and reminded him that it’s illegal to dump such debris in the forest.
“A lot of people still don’t understand that yard waste is still considered illegal dumping,” said Blake. “With invasive species, things like that. Not to mention we live in a place well-known for its wildfires, and it’s a potential fire fuel.”