Registration at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve was brisk at the 36th annual Chilliwack-Vedder River Cleanup event which drew more than 100 people on Saturday.

Cleanup volunteers tackled Foley Lake near Chilliwack

Pristine spots around Foley Lake up Chilliwack Lake Road were littered with shotgun shells, diapers, mattresses and camping equipment.

Once pristine spots around Foley Lake up Chilliwack Lake Road were littered with shotgun shells, diapers, mattresses and camping equipment.

Three truckloads of trash were taken away that hard-hit area last Saturday, as part of the 36th Annual Chilliwack-Vedder River Cleanup.

Volunteers made the trip and tackled the area up the valley because it was such a mess this spring, said organizers.

A total of 104 people from Chilliwack and other parts of the Lower Mainland, showed up Saturday morning to don work gloves, and pick up garbage along the world-class river system. The total was up by 25 volunteers over the last time.

“It’s one of the best things I’ve done in a long time,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz, who was actively helping out this past weekend. “It’s so rewarding.”

Chilliwack MLA Gwen O’Mahony was spotted pitching in as well.

Mayor Gaetz said she handed out garbage bags to a family that was camping nearby, and found they were eager to pitch in once asked.

“Part of the problem is educating visitors from the city who don’t realize that what they bring in, they should take back with them when they leave.”

The most common item was carelessly dumped beer cans — everywhere you looked.

“They just toss them out of the cars,” she said.

Although the collected garbage totals were less than past events, there was a solid turnout by dedicated river stewards. One of the large items was a discarded pool table, along with an old television and lots of tires.

Since the first cleanup about 10 years ago, about 80,000 tonnes have been taken off the riparian zones of the Vedder-Chilliwack system.

Check out this video http://youtu.be/0C9tr0pWvag.

Plans are under way for the group’s BC Rivers’ Day celebration on Sept. 30 with registration at the Chilliwack Fish and Game club house. More at www.cleanrivers.ca for more details.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/CHWKjourno

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