Recent incidents in the Pend d’Oreille have responsible outdoor recreators shaking their collective heads at the garbage left behind.
After irresponsible campers left debris and detritus, and even a burned out RV along the road of the popular Pend d’Oreille Reservoir recreation range, a local group is offering to clean it up.
A Facebook group called ‘Clean up the Pondy and Casino’ is taking the initiative and organizing volunteers to remove garbage and a burned out RV they came across while out for a drive along the Pend d’Oreille River on the weekend.
“It is bad, you should see it out there, it’s so sad,” said organizer Darelyn Stuart. “I heard that something happened (to the RV), and we’re glad your safe, but clean up your mess. If you don’t, we’re going to get it closed down like we did Fort Shepherd.”
Although provincial campgrounds and rec sites are shut down, camping is still legal in B.C. The Pend d’Oreille Reservoir ranges about 15 km from the Seven Mile Dam to the toe of the Boundary Dam in the U.S. There is only one campground, Buckley’s, along that stretch, but many enjoy camping at make-shift pullouts along the rough, unmaintained road or the shore of the Pend d’Oreille or Salmo Rivers, where people can dry camp on Crown land.
Although many have lost jobs and income, the number of people abusing the privilege is becoming more apparent in the recent climate of COVID-19. A Fruitvale man was out rock hunting in the area on Sunday, and came across an unattended campfire still burning, with no one in sight. He put it out, and posted the photo of the burning fire on Facebook, saying, “There is no quarantining stupidity.”
The group have also offered to clean up the burned out travel trailer in Casino that went up in flames in August.
“I want to get a crew out there, we need a bunch of trucks out there, to clean that mess up, and now we’re talking about cleaning the site at Casino too.”
Stuart spoke to the Conservation Officer and looked to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) for direction.
However, the burnt out RV/trailer in the Pend d’Oreille and Casino are located on Crown Land, and the RDKB does not have jurisdictional authority to provide access to the property to allow clean up.
“Darelyn has been directed to FrontCounterBC to obtain the required authorization,” replied Janine Dougall, General Manager of Environmental Services for RDKB. “The RDKB supports clean up efforts by waiving tipping fees at RDKB solid waste management facilities, based on policy, to help community groups in reducing costs.”
Although, permission to clean up the area is pending, the plan to organize the clean up will continue.
The group has also recieved help from Rob Hanik of Scrap King, who has offered to take the burned RV and all the metal from the Pend d’Oreille site, and Tyler Paynton who offered the services of his excavator.
The group is also doing their due diligence regarding COVID restrictions and is asking volunteers to come only with individuals in their households, maintain their six-foot distancing, and wear gloves and protective masks.
For residents willing to help, they can join the effort by going to the Facebook group, ‘Clean up the Pondy and Casino’.