The Pacific Rim National Park is hosting a massive cleanup and celebration this weekend to clear its shores and cheer its volunteers.
The Park has partnered with the Surfrider Foundation, Ucluelet Aquarium and Vancouver Island University to bring West Coast locals and visitors a day’s worth of cleaning, learning and celebrating on Aug. 27.
The event, dubbed Tideline Tidy, will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include information booths set up outside the Kwisitis Visitors Centre to spread knowledge on micro-plastics, marine debris and local cleanup efforts. Local artist Pete Clarkson will be on hand to discuss how he uses debris to create art.
The Tideline Tidy is targeting Wickaninnish Beach, Long Beach and Schooner Cove and volunteers should show up at the Park’s Kwisitis Visitors Centre at 9 a.m. to sign up and receive a safety orientation before heading out to beautify the beaches.
Collected debris will be weighed and discussed with potential awards being dished for the coolest items and the items that traveled the furthest distance to reach local shores, according to the Park’s promotions officer Crystal Bolduc.
Along with removing debris, Bolduc told the Westerly News the event will serve as an appreciation party for volunteers.
“This is a celebration,” she said. “We have so many people that love this park and spend a lot of time out there collecting and making it clean and helping us preserve it for our visitors and future generations and local people as well so we felt it was a good way to recognize that.”
She added the Park “absolutely” attracts environmentally-minded visitors.
“Everyone who comes here cares about it. That’s why they’re here to see it,” she said.
She said volunteers bring huge value to the Park and, in turn, the Park provides valuable volunteer opportunities.
“It’s a chance for people to make a positive difference for wildlife and for wildlife habitat and also to help restore the ecological integrity of one of Canada’s most beautiful national parks,” she said.
“By restoring this ecosystem, we ensure that it’s a special place for future generations.”
Anyone interested in participating in the Tideline Tidy is advised to pack water, snacks and a lunch as well as sunscreen and a hat to protect themselves from the predicted sunshine. Closed-toed footwear is recommended and organizers are asking participants to leave pets at home.
Volunteers will have free entry to the Park and the family-friendly event is open to all ages, though all young children must be accompanied by an adult.
Educational interaction will be ongoing around Kwisitis from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“If people aren’t really interested in going out and cleaning up, they can still come and ask questions from our partners and see some of the artwork,” Bolduc said.
She hopes to see a large turnout at the event and encourages all locals and visitors to attend.
“You’re going to have the opportunity to learn about local initiatives for cleaning up marine debris from a variety of organizations and you’re going to also learn about the marine environment and how you can help to preserve and protect it,” she said.
“There’s going to be lots of people. The sun’s going to be out there and we’re all going to have a good time. You might even find a treasure too…You never know, you might find a glass ball.”
The Park plans to publish the amount of debris collected, and the sort of materials found, at parkscanada.gc.ca/pacrim.