Last April on Vedder River Cleanup Day, members of 1st Fairfield Scout Group registered at the Great Blue Heron Reserve with the Cleanup Society. We grabbed our garbage bags, gloves and tongs and proceeded to our “adopted” section of the Vedder River. We have been cleaning “our section” of the river, three times a year, for more than 10 years. Our area extends from the parking lot at Hopedale Road and ends west of the rail bridge near the Great Blue Heron Reserve, along the road which runs adjacent to the river.
We too were surprised, like Bonnie Whyte (Chilliwack Progress, April 20th), to find a gate blocking vehicle access. We’ve always had our Scouts walk west to the rail bridge picking up garbage, dropping the bags at the side of the road when full and having a vehicle pick up the bags as it followed. Over the years we would collect hundreds of pounds of garbage, car tires and parts, construction debris, discarded furniture, yard waste in garbage bags, and more. At the gravel bar there would be burnt chairs, fires sites with hundreds of nails from pallets, fishing line, and plastic. There is also an area which many people camp at, where they have left food wrappers, beverage cans and broken bottles, and if we looked a little deeper into the woods we would find where people have used it like a toilet.
This is what we would find every time, three times a year. Our scouts would always ask why people pollute so much along the river, to which we would reply that some people have no regard for the environment. We then remind the scouts about the principle of “No Trace Camping” which we practice.
This year we found the least amount of garbage since I have been involved in the cleanup (three tires and five bags of garbage), and I don’t expect to see anymore large refuse items dumped along this stretch, now that vehicle access has been restricted.
It is a shame that a few thoughtless people can ruin a good thing for everyone, but don’t berate City Council for installing the gate. Without the gate the garbage dumping will not stop.
1st Fairfield Scouter