Like the swallows of Capistrano, they return every year.
Only there is nothing welcome in their arrival.
Instead of harbingers of spring, they are bringers of garbage.
Evidence of their return was strewn all over Cultus Lake and Chilliwack’s backcountry this weekend.
The species is fairly rare, but it is invasive. They usually travel in herds, damaging not only the natural beauty of the landscape they inhabit, but also its serenity.
Their actions can easily drive off others, leading to anger, frustration and disgust.
Much of that disgust was evident on social media posts this weekend as the first wave swept through.
But the animosity they inspire seems to do little to deter them. They seem to revel (even wallow) in it.
Indeed, public outrage, community townhall meetings and volunteer action have failed to overcome the inherent stupidity and arrogance of this group.
They arrive every spring, but are the most active in the summer. And while their population diminishes somewhat in the winter, they’re never truly gone.
Their presence has prompted tighter restrictions on where they can inhabit. However, that only seems to push their migration deeper into the backcountry.
Although easy to track, both by the trail of garbage they leave and the noise they create, their capture and containment is limited by the resources available.
That is unfortunate, because their numbers are disproportionate to the damage they do.
Patience for a solution is wearing thin. However, there is something we can all do. As we’ve said in this space before, “Become an outspoken advocate for a clean backcountry. Lead by example by packing out what you’ve carried in. Don’t hesitate to report a polluter. And don’t miss an opportunity to tell a politician you are fed up and tired of waiting for action.”
~ Greg Knill, Chilliwack Progress