2016 was BC Parks’ fifth year partnering to support the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup as a Conservation Supporter. We are happy to report that it was a successful year with community groups as well as BC Parks’ staff organizing and hosting cleanup events in many of our Provincial Parks. These events are a great way to support direct action in removing shoreline litter while raising awareness on the issue of marine debris.
BC Parks and the staff at the GCSC appreciate all the participation and effort this year to help keep our parks and shorelines clean. Here are some of the stories from 2016 cleanup events and projects:
Divers for Cleaner Oceans at Cultus Lake Park
This group completed three cleanups this year at Cultus Lake. In January they removed 667 lbs of garbage, in June they removed 705.8 lbs of garbage, and in November they removed 1,257 lbs. – an amazing effort! You can check out the full story of their June cleanup here and their January cleanup here.
Ruby Lake Lagoon Society at Simson Park
“This was a huge task but between us we managed to clear twelve coves and bays and removed a massive amount of Styrofoam blocks. We are very proud to say we completely filled a dumpster container with five full loads on the seatruck with the collaboration of Hiballer Water Taxi, Direct Disposal, the SCRD and BC Parks. Thank you to all of the participants for contributing to this Herculean task!! The beaches are now free of garbage and we hope they will stay that way.”
Surfrider Foundation at Nuchatlitz Park
“The volunteers arrived at Nuchatlitz Provincial Park on the Friday morning from Tahsis by a boat that has been chartered by Tahtsa Dive Charters and from Gold River by another boat that was chartered by Stellar Marine. As with previous remote clean-ups, we ensured that safety protocols were met and had a safety debrief each morning. We also had trained First Aid attendants, first aid kits, satellite phones and hand-held radios. The marine debris collected was stored in super sacks and left at a determined location to be picked up as part of the “Garbarge” project. The debris was labeled so that other park users are aware of the contents of the supersacks and the project.”
Surfrider Foundation also completed cleanup events at China Beach, French Beach and Sombrio Beach this year.
Highlander Marine Services at Duu Guusd Protected Area
(along with students of Sk’aadgaa Naay and Chief Mathews Schools)
“Volunteers from all over, including students of Sk’aadgaa Naay elementary school in Skidegate and Chief Mathews School from old Masset, collectively spent countless hours gathering and piling debris from the forests and beaches. Almost 3000lbs of debris was removed from the beaches and surrounding areas. They created several large piles along the shoreline and then, with a coordinated push involving Heli-jet, Highlander Marine and the staff at Tl’ang Stl’ang, we had the debris airlifted to our waiting vessels at Kiusta. Both vessels were loaded and on our return we had Arthur Pearson of Tanu wood and Herb of Masset services
meet us at the harbour to assist in the unload of all the garbage for transport, processing and disposal at the landfill in Port Clements. We are extremely happy with the results of this effort and particularly so because of being able to involve the students from our local schools. We are also thankful for the commitment and hard work of everyone involved that helped make it possible for the students to participate as they did.”
Campbell River Environmental Council at Elk Falls Park
“We had 25 volunteers and picked up 690 kg. The most picked up item again was fishing line. Cigarette butts were also plentiful and coffee cups. The trails around the banks were also cleaned and the upper banks. I think it was a great success. I and CREC appreciate our partnership with BC Parks.”
Sangan Streamkeepers at Naikoon Park
“On the weekend of July 16th 2016, 2 waves of helpers for a total of 32 adults and 2 children came out to clean out 5km of the shoreline of North Beach from Hiellen towards Rose Spit. 60 garbage bags were filled for a total of approximately 400 kgs of waste. These were beautiful summer days and the volunteers worked quickly under sun with a refreshing cool breeze from the sea. Thank you to all!”
BC Parks Staff at French Beach Park
It was a picture perfect day under sunny skies when a motley crew of BC Parks Headquarter staff, plus two young budding parkies, on loan from their school studies for the day, set out for another Great Canadian Shoreline cleanup at French Beach Provincial Park. With a full complement of cleaning equipment (buckets, pickers, gloves, sharps containers and garbage bags), generously lent by Capital Region District, we had everything we needed to collect garbage and recycling from the beach and other park areas. We split into teams and set out on the morning shift to comb French Beach, the day-use area and trails, and the French Beach group camping site.
After all was said and done, we had collected more than 5 buckets full of various garbage including such items as cigarette butts, doggy cleanup bags, discarded packaging and broken bottle glass. We returned to the day use area to sort the garbage for disposal and recycling and were able to build a campfire, thanks to the wood and kindling kindly supplied by the park operator; it felt great to warm up after the beachcombing! After a quick lunch, we set off to China Beach for an afternoon shift of more cleanup. By the end of the afternoon, we had scoured China Beach, the parking area and the beach trail and added another few buckets to our garbage total. All in all, a satisfying day keeping our beaches clean. Thanks to all who turned out to help; many hands make light work!
Wasa Lake Land Improvement District at Wasa Lake Park
“On Sunday afternoon, October 23rd, Improvement District trustees and community volunteers donned bright orange safety vests and walked the Wasa Lake shoreline searching for garbage. More than thirty pounds of garbage was picked up from these sites, mostly small bits of plastic and wrappers, but including golf balls, plastic toys, cigarette butts, and beverage cans. The oddest item found was an old blue plastic dingy abandoned under a bush on the edge of Cedar Road. The trustees would like to thank their families and other volunteers from the community who came out to help, and also BC Parks for funding, Skookumchuck Pulp Mill for the loan of the safety vests, and Wasa Lions for the loan of the litter pick-up sticks.”
BC Parks Staff at Boat Bay Conservancy
BC Parks staff along with the support of volunteer Larry Roy of Discovery Expeditions removed debris from Boat Bay.
Living Oceans – GarBarge Project
The GarBarge Project was a major coastal cleanup operation initiated by the Vancouver Island Marine Debris Working Group and coordinated by the Living Oceans Society. This initiative was a coordinated group effort involving the removal of an estimated 40 tonnes of marine debris from the west coast of Vancouver Island. Debris was collected and cached over the spring and summer and left to be helicopter lifted to a barge. The operation included the collection of marine debris from a number of Provincial Parks including: Cape Scott Park, Raft Cove Park, Lanz and Cox Island Park, Lawn Point Park, MuQwin/Brooks Peninsula Park, Catala Island Marine Park, Nuchatlitz Park, Hesquiat Peninsula Park, and Flores Island Park. This project was made possible by the members of the of Vancouver Island Marine Debris Working Group including: Living Oceans Society, Ocean Legacy Foundation, BC Marine Trails, Surfrider Foundation, Nu Cha Nulth Tribal Council, District of Ucluelet, and Parks Canada. You can read more about the initiative here.
‘Shoreline litter and marine debris can seem like an overwhelming problem, but through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup we encourage our volunteers to take real, meaningful action by coordinating cleanups. This year has been a big year for our program, with more than 75,000 participants registered at cleanups across Canada. We are thrilled to work with BC Parks to increase the number of volunteers caring for shorelines in parks all over the beautiful province of BC’. – Kate Le Souef, program manager, Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup