Volunteers target illegal dumping in Okanagan forests

Okanagan Forest Task Force will clean up Postill Lake Road this Saturday. They can use your help.

Mess left in Okanagan forests.

For the second time in a matter of weeks, a dedicated group of volunteer outdoor enthusiasts will be out in the bush this weekend, Oct. 1, cleaning up illegally dumped garbage  others less responsible have left behind. And if you want to pitch in and lend some elbow grease to their cause, they could sure use your help.

Kane Blake, spokesperson for the newly formed Okanagan Forest Task Force, the group behind the clean-up, says their slogan is Working to Keep our Forests Clean.   Blake says their members are from all walks of life, like-minded people who love and respect the great outdoors, from hunters, to hikers, trail riders, ATV-ers, snow-mobiler’s and campers.

“We all love the bush. What we don’t love is taking our families out there for a weekend of fun, only to come across piles and piles of garbage that others have left behind.  Old furniture, construction waste, appliances, you name it…it’s just sad and sickening to see it. This is our backyard, we respect it, and we want others to do the same.”

Blake says this weekend’s  clean- up will focus on the Postill Lake Road area, the same region this same group  cleaned up just two weeks ago and filled a 40 yard dumpster full of garbage. “Yes, we’ve accomplished a lot already, but sadly there’s lots more garbage out there.

“We’ll start Saturday at 8 a.m. where Postill Lake Road turns from pavement to gravel.  We have all the equipment and gear lined up already, what we need is more help.  Everyone is welcome, it’s a family event, kids are welcome too.”

Rae Stewart with the Regional Waste Reduction Office says their office fully supports the OFTF cause. “We salute these dedicated volunteers, we could sure use more of them, and we hope they continue to connect and help us stamp out illegal dumping once and for all one day.”

The Regional Waste Reduction Office will be assisting once again by covering the cost of some heavy equipment to support the clean- up, paying for a 40 yard dumpster, plus supplying the safety gear the volunteers require, and covering the tipping fees at the landfill.  Stewart adds “It’s a beautiful wilderness corridor that’s heavily-frequented by outdoor groups and nature enthusiasts, so for someone to sully it with their garbage is a real travesty and unfortunately garbage begets more garbage.  When you consider the time and gas it takes to drive out into the bush as well as vehicle wear and tear, illegal dumping is completely senseless.  We have many options in our community for the proper disposal of waste, many of which are low cost and some are free.” This site is also designed to be a “home base” to facilitate the connecting and the networking of concerned citizens who would like to contribute to the cause of keeping the Okanagan’s forested and rural areas in good condition.

If you find any dump sites or littering while out enjoying our local natural areas here are some things you can do.  Start by filling in the online report form or call the Regional Waste Reduction Office at 250-469-6250. Be sure to include:

• a detailed description of the area (or GPS coordinates) for the illegal dump site

• the size of the dump site

• the type of items that were dumped

• information on how we can contact you (all information will remain confidential).

The Regional Waste Reduction Office will supply any groups interested in cleaning up their community with bags and gloves to support their efforts, and will arrange for the collection and disposal of the garbage collected. For information on how to get involved with this Saturday’s cleanup at Postill contact the Okanagan Forest Task Force through its Facebook page.

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