It seems fitting that Earth Day fell during National Volunteer Week and thanks to community volunteers there’s been a lot of clean-up lately in the Valley. Above from left: Brian Moore, Frank Burchat, Grant Grzywniak with some of the litter they collected (Photo supplied). This year an early spring revealed the unsightly piles of litter along Valley roads that was hidden during the winter. But where does all this stuff come from? And why? Whatever happened to those childhood lessons about picking up after yourself?
First, I’ll let volunteer Frank Burchat tell the most disgusting part of their story, in his own colourful but descriptive style:
“We came across a dumpsite beside the railbed where it slopes into Carson Lake. Some inconsiderate, scum of the earth, F#$&%&G JERK dumped 11 oil filters (looked like they were from small engines like ATV or outboard), four pairs of work boots, empty oil jugs, 2 pairs of running shoes, much other garbage, and to top it off, 2 FOUR litre containers of waste oil. These were within three steps of the shoreline of the pristine waters of Carson Lake. Over time the containers would have succumbed to the sun’s UV rays and deteriorated, dumping EIGHT liters of waste oil into our beautiful Lake. This would have been disastrous!!!!!
“Eventually cameras will catch the LOWLIFE who is dumping on the railbed between Barry’s Bay and Carson Lake. I have brought this problem to the attention of the Township over the past several years, and when caught, I hope the sentence is life in prison, with hard labour, in a third world country, and without a chance of parole for 962 years. If you want to know how I really feel, ask me next time we get to chat.”
Burchat is a member of Carson, Trout, Lepine and Greenan Lakes Association (CTLG) and he provided the above comments in a report copied to the CTLG board. (Full disclosure: I currently serve as a CTLG Director.) The association participates in two Adopt-A-Road programs in the Valley, one along Hwy. 60 west of Barry’s Bay and the other on Siberia Road between Biernacki Mountain Road and Yakabuski Road. His report stated that several volunteers from the Carson Lake area did a recent litter pick-up along the Snowmobile/ ATV trails west of Barry’s Bay. Their effort covered approximately 50 kms of trails including parts of Trail Numbers 155, 157, 158, and 159, as well as the “B” Trail from Barry’s Bay to just west of Aylen Lake Rd. They were able to divert much stuff to recycling, some to the beer store, and the remainder to the landfill.
This evidence of blatant environmental vandalism resonated with me as I recall throughout my childhood summers and weekends in the Valley that the first outdoor job my parents would assign was always picking up litter. Every morning I was sent to inspect the roadsides and shorelines to clean up after whoever was out drinking the night before. Once I was old enough to operate a rowboat or canoe by myself, I had to clean up the rock point after whoever had been fishing, drinking or lighting campfires across the lake. Now a year round resident, I still do it. Last summer I had the pleasure of retrieving a plastic bag of human feces someone had left behind, while earlier this year we discovered some ice fishermen had abandoned a campfire on our shoreline that was still smouldering among the roots of a tree the following morning.
To be sure, volunteers from lake associations and waterfront property owners are not the only ones who help keep our community tidy. The Current has previously reported on the clean-up and beautification work done by committed, hard-working community individuals, and by organizations including gardeners, heritage groups, and motorized sports enthusiasts. They deserve our appreciation and our thanks — so if you haven’t yet nominated someone in the municipality’s new Volunteer Awards program, please consider showing your appreciation for these folks by recognizing them publicly. Nominations are due by May 15.
But the question must be asked: What explanation do the perpetrators have for their deliberate acts of vandalism?
You know who you are.
And you already know: It’s not cool to leave your crap behind.