Fruitvale’s six-year-old Jazmine Turnbull and her mom Juanita Lankhaar were among the volunteers who rolled up their sleeves and pulled debris from the Columbia River’s shore Sunday.

Fruitvale’s six-year-old Jazmine Turnbull and her mom Juanita Lankhaar were among the volunteers who rolled up their sleeves and pulled debris from the Columbia River’s shore Sunday.

Rivers Day promotes care for the Columbia

Greater Trail residents joined forces Sunday to clean the shoreline of the Columbia River in a province-wide event that gives people the opportunity to celebrate river heritage.

Greater Trail residents joined forces Sunday to clean the shoreline of the Columbia River in a province-wide event that gives people the opportunity to celebrate river heritage.

About 70 people, including efforts from the 44 Engineer Squadron and Teck Trail Operations, scoured the river to pull away garbage in recognition of B.C. Rivers Day.

Beyond the feeling of giving back to the community by organizing the local cleanup, the Skills Centre is dedicated to the annual effort for historical reasons.

“When we first started it had to do with recognizing that the river is an incredible resource, not just in terms of generation of power and transportation, but that it’s physically beautiful,” said Jan Morton, executive director of the Skills Centre.

“Culturally we haven’t tended to pay attention to the river in a way that I think we should and so it’s the kind of love of the river and recognizing the potential, both in terms of just the physical power and beauty of it, as well as it’s potential to be much more of a focal point for the downtown core.”

Though volunteer levels were down from the 2009-high of 120 helpers, who hauled about 17,480 pounds of debris from a 1.5-kilometer stretch of the river, Morton thinks the garbage removed will still be substantial from the efforts made by Teck and the engineer squadron.

But by press time Sunday it was too early to tally this year’s results, which should be available this week.

“It was really significant because not only did they pick it up but they also went down the bank to haul it up – they put in both their backs as well as their trucks,” said Morton. “We’re really excited for it to become bigger than just us but at the same time we’re really proud that we’ve been kind of the motivating point and I think we’ll carry on.”

The Skills Centre continues to focus on cleanup along Casino Road, as people dump their trash along the river regularly. She hopes dumpers will take a moment to realize that it’s their neighbours who have to clean up for their negligence.

B.C. Rivers Day seeks to raise public understanding of rivers and the many benefits they provide us – clean water, spawning salmon, historic trade and exploration routes