Careless campers and illegal garbage dumpers have made a mess of the West Coast’s backroads and the Central Westcoast Forest Society is looking for locals to help them clean it up.
“It seems that, because there’s this huge network of logging roads and backroads and, basically access, to the woods, there’s a huge amount of illegal dumping that goes on,” said CWFS staffer Megan Francis. “It’s an absolute mess right now. There’s mattresses, couches, abandoned tents that are falling apart, coolers, oil tanks that have been left and ditched; you name it. It’s an absolute mess. A lot of the time we’re coming across cars and campers and vans and all this stuff.”
Armed with funding from the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District, the CWFS will host a cleanup around Kennedy Lake on Friday, Nov. 10. Participants will meet at the Tofino-Ucluelet junction at noon and the event will run until 4 p.m.
“As much as it is important that we get the garbage out, the event is also to get people engaged in preserving the area that they live in,” Francis said. “We want everyone to take care of it, so it’s great to have people come out and pay their respects to the land.”
She added that no experience is necessary, equipment will be provided and all participants will receive a free T-shirt. Carpooling is available from Tofino and Ucluelet and anyone interested in participating can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“It’s a fun way to get involved…No matter what scale, it always feels really good to get out and volunteer. I think you get an immediate sense of accomplishment,” she said. “We’re all enjoying where we live and we are all reaping the benefits of living in such a beautiful place. It’s up to everyone to try and keep it that way.”
She said the backroad pollution is much more than just an eyesore, it’s an environmental disaster.
“It’s frustrating for sure, and also very surprising. I myself have been very shocked and dumbfounded at, I guess, how people don’t take into consideration their mess. I can’t get into the mindset of somebody who just completely leaves everything behind and just assumes that it will take care of itself. It’s just bizarre,” she said.
“You’re introducing a bunch of plastic and fuels and whatever stuff you’re leaving out there into the environment…It’s going to go into the water table, it’s going to get into the watershed, maybe it gets consumed by animals. It definitely has an impact for sure.”