The Okanagan Forest Task Force cleaned up an enormous pile of garbage from the forest near Big White on May 11, and there is still more work to do.
“I will have to go back, probably with a chisel, to get the garbage still frozen to the ground,” said Kane Blake.
It took about 10 people, a dump trailer, a stack of garbage bags and a day of hard work to remove most of the junk from the homeless encampment.
He told Capital News that despite the alarming amount of trash found at the site, he was not surprised.
“I’m more shocked to go down a road and not find garbage than find it.”
Over the years Blake said he has found two ATMs, about 2,000 square feet of carpet and underlay, and a full-sized double door fridge.
“I don’t even know how they got it between some of the trees,” he said about the fridge that was found deep in the forest on single-track trails.
Blake said that the task force works on donations and uses every penny they get to buy rakes, shovels and equipment needed to keep the Okanagan’s backcountry clean.
He said that there has been a definite increase in illegal garbage dumping over the last two years.
“It’s slowly filling up our backcountry.”
Blake and the other members of the task force are avid outdoorspeople who just want to be in the backcountry.
Unfortunately, to enjoy the pristine wilderness around Kelowna the task force has to dedicate a lot of time to cleaning up the mess others leave behind.
“It’s laziness and entitlement,” he said.
The fees at the dump are not expensive, he said. If you can afford to renovate your house or buy a new mattress, Blake said that you should be able to afford the inexpensive fees at the dump, especially since illegal dumping that comes with the risk of hefty fines.
“Being able to go into the backcountry is a privilege, not a right.”