British Columbia

More than 660 kg of trash dumped in Okanagan backcountry near popular access road

The RCMP is investigating the dumping of hundreds of kilograms of garbage in the central Okanagan backcountry.

Colossal amount of garbage removed near Beaver Lake Road by Okanagan Forest Task Force on March 14

Over 660 kilograms of garbage was left March 13 at a site off Beaver Lake Road in B.C.'s Lake Country. The RCMP is looking into the illegal dumping incident. (Submitted by Okanagan Forest Task Force)

The RCMP is investigating the dumping of hundreds of kilograms of garbage in the central Okanagan backcountry.

Last Sunday, a Kelowna-based volunteer group cleaned up more than 660 kilograms of trash at a site on Beaver Lake Road, a popular 15-kilometre route to local recreation spots in B.C.'s Lake Country.

Kane Blake, the president of the Okanagan Forest Task Force, says on March 13, his volunteer team encountered a couple who had spent two weeks camping at a site along Beaver Lake Road.

"We just had a chat with them and said, 'You know, we don't want to see a mess left behind," Blake said Thursday to Chris Walker, the host of CBC's Daybreak South. "We got promised the stars and the moon that it would be spotless when they left."

An abandoned tent is part of the huge load of waste left on Beaver Lake Road. (Submitted by Okanagan Forest Task Force)

The next day, police received a report of a colossal load of rubbish dumped at the site — ranging from clothing and jewelry to pots and pans.

The task force says it believes the couple came from the B.C. coast and reported the vehicle's licence plate to the Mounties.

Kane says the task force has collected more than 136,000 kilograms of garbage in backcountry areas across the Okanagan over the past four years. 

"I'm not going to say a losing battle, but it's definitely a battle to just get people to realize this is … our backcountry [and] we share it," he said. "I like being in the bush, but I don't like seeing everybody's garbage in the bush that belongs in the landfill."

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Terry Myroniuk says he isn't sure which agency is responsible for monitoring and removing garbage dumped on Beaver Lake Road, but he encourages people to report any dumping when they see it.

"It's apparent that there's going to be environmental impacts [from littering]," Myroniuk said. "Different agencies will typically get ahold of each other and sort out jurisdiction and deal with it that way, just to make sure that the issue is dealt with."

The Okanagan Forest Task Force has reported the licence plate number of the vehicle believed to have been involved to the Lake Country RCMP. (Submitted by Okanagan Forest Task Force)

Myroniuk says the B.C. Conservation Officer Service has been working with the B.C. Forest Ministry and RCMP to deal with junk left in the countryside.

Backcountry littering issues in the area can be reported directly to the District of Lake Country website.

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With files from Daybreak South


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