April 22 2019 is Earth Day, a day to increase our awareness of our natural surroundings and to encourage us to adopt more environmentally-friendly practices. This seems like an appropriate time to report on a new venture in the Valley.
On April 16 residents near Carson Lake attended a presentation about the Adopt-A-Highway program given by the Ministry of Transportation (MOT) and Emcon (highway maintenance). Cory Beckstead from MOT and Gerard Lorbetskie of Emcon met with members of the Carson Trout Lepine & Greenan Lakes Association (CTLG) in a private home. (group pictured above)
CTLG members had long bemoaned the amount of litter in the municipality, both from irresponsible dumping and from careless transportation of materials to landfill sites. At CTLG’s Annual General Meeting in May 2018, members not only raised these concerns but also committed their time to help reduce littering. In response, CTLG Vice-President Wendy Wolak applied for an Adopt-A-Highway designation in two areas in the Madawaska Valley closest to CTLG members: Highway 60 west of Barry’s Bay and Siberia Road. Renfrew County erected Adopt-A-Highway signs on Siberia Road and provided safety training for the dozen volunteers in that area last summer. So far two clean-ups have taken place along Siberia Road, with the next one scheduled for May. The meeting at Carson Lake held in April was for a group of up to fifteen volunteers who offered to tidy Highway 60 east of the Bark Lake landfill site.
Cory Beckstead MOT (left) and Wendy Wolak CTLG
Beckstead and Lorbetskie gave practical training to the Highway 60 group, showed a safety video, and distributed brochures about procedures and potential hazards. They answered questions, explained how equipment (signage, high-visibility vests and garbage bags) would be delivered and when they would collect the full bags after each clean-up. They warned the audience about poisonous plants and provided information to identify Giant Hogweed and Wild Parsnip. Beckstead said although MOT works with plenty of volunteer community groups nearer Kingston and Trenton, this was the first time he had ever been to Barry’s Bay.
The CTLG volunteers have committed to conduct three seasonal clean-ups along both roads annually. Although many residents are unable or unwilling to volunteer in this way, there are other ways you can help to reduce littering in the Valley. When you transport materials to landfill sites, please ensure the load is tied down securely. If something flies off, when it is safe to do so, please go back and pick it up yourself before disposing of it responsibly. Above all, please don’t litter.
The volunteer clean-up crews ask that whenever you see the warning signs and groups of volunteers wearing High-Visibility vests on the roadside, please slow down and give them a wide berth as you pass.