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Clean-up crews tackle Columbia River

Trail's annual Rivers Day clean-up gears up for the shoreline initiative on Sunday.
(From left to right) Skills Centre project coordinator Denise Robson

Some things don’t go away in the wash.

In an attempt to clear litter from the shoreline of the Columbia River, Greater Trail residents are encouraged to participate in a clean up this Sunday with the annual B.C. Rivers Day.

Volunteers are asked to meet in Gyro Park at 9 a.m. for registration, followed by a walk up the banks of the river for clean-up between 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Afterwards, everybody is invited to return to Gyro Park for a celebration featuring kettle corn snacks from the Trail Rotary Club, a live performance from Max Hawk and the Raptors and a Kiwanis barbecue.

There will be children’s activities ranging from a climbing wall to kayak demonstrations, carnival games and activities, to an inflatable caterpillar and a rope and log bridge from the scouts.

The Trail Skills Centre, the 44th Engineer Squadron/39 Combat Engineer Regiment and Teck Trail Operations have combined to add in a twist. For the first time ever, the Vancouver Aquarium Aquavan will visit the area.

Thanks to a contribution from Teck Trail Operations, people can get a free tour and learn about marine life in a very hands on and active environment, said Teck spokesperson Catherine Adair.

“So any kids, families or youth that want to touch a sea star or play with a barnacle can,” she said. “And there will be experts on hand who can explain what the marine life they’re seeing is. So it’s a great educational experience and it’ll also be a lot of fun.”

Teck also loaned the volunteers two trucks for the clean up and made a $2,000 contribution to aid the shoreline clean-up event.

The 44th Engineer Squadron/39 Combat Engineer Regiment has planned training exercises for the weekend, and opted to utilize Sunday to help raise the public’s understanding of rivers.

“We always want to help out where possible,” chief warrant officer Sharman Thomas of the 44 Engineer Squadron said. “It only makes sense  that we help out to maintain and beautify the community that we live in.”

Last year’s event hauled roughly 17,000 pounds of debris from a 1.5-kilometre stretch of the river as well as 25 tonnes of material from the Columbia River’s banks below Glenmerry.

“Shoreline litter is one of the biggest threats to our lakes, rivers, estuaries, oceans and other waterways,” said project coordinator Denise Robson of the Skills Centre. “Ninety per cent of the trash removed from our shorelines came from car bodies, water tanks and large metal waste.”