Opinion: Garbage season again

Garbage is a perennial problem in the Chilliwack back country. Volunteers do their best, but clearly more resources are needed.

Summer in the Chilliwack back country means different things to different people.

For some, it’s the solitude of a long hike to one of the area’s striking mountain peaks. For others, it might mean fishing along the streams and rivers, or on one of the lakes. Still others might enjoy the thrill of mountain biking, or ATV riding with friends.

But unfortunately for many residents, summer simply means more garbage.

They’ll find it dumped along the roadsides, or left behind in makeshift campsites.

They’ll clean it up and haul it away (spending their own time and money) only to find more garbage there the next week.

The problem isn’t new; it happens with such frequency that volunteers are mustered after every long weekend, and again at the end of the season.

The annual Vedder Mountain Clean Up, organized by a consortium of trail users, collects nearly seven tonnes of garbage and recycling every year.

Similar groups organize river cleanups along the Vedder and Fraser Rivers.

In the Chilliwack River Valley, volunteers regularly head out to clean up the mess that others leave behind.

It seems counter-intuitive that people who come to enjoy the wilderness would leave it looking like an urban back alley.

And although the offenders are a minority, their impact is substantial.

A solution seems elusive. Meetings have been held, signs installed, legislation proposed and patrols tightened.

Yet the problem remains.

Some call for tougher penalties and higher fines. But without the resources to level those fines, it’s more bark than bite.

Providing those resources should not fall entirely on Chilliwack or the Fraser Valley Regional District. It needs a broader response, reflective of the popular draw from throughout the Lower Mainland and, indeed, the province.

We need answers and we need action. Counting on community-minded volunteers is proving as ineffective in stopping the problem as it is unfair.

• What would you do? Email, editor@theprogress.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial government responds to Ryder Lake bad internet complaints

Anne Kang, Minister of Citizens’ Services, responded to a pair of letters sent to Victoria

Chilliwack Search and Rescue kept busy on B.C. Day long weekend

Six callouts in 10 hours Friday continued a trend of more outdoor enthusiasts needing help in 2020

Fraser Valley Bandits release top forward Cameron Forte

A team leader through four games of the CEBL Summer Series, Forte has been cut loose

The Happy Hiker, Art Lengkeek, recognized with bench and plaque on Mount Cheam trail

The 88 year old is a familiar sight on trails throughout the Fraser Valley and beyond

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch playoff spot with win

Bandits down Niagara River Lions 70-57 on Sunday, improve to 3-2

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

VIDEO: One wounded in Maple Ridge gun battle

Two vehicles reportedly traded shots while driving down street

Most Read