Graduation has finally arrived and so have the parties.
Local residents have expressed concern about grad parties this month because there have been several major clean-ups due to teenagers who are allegedly taking wooden pallets and burning them for firewood.
“I don’t know if they’re stealing them or the businesses are giving (pallets) to the kids but it’s a problem,” said Terry Hanik, president of the Trail Wildlife Association.
“After the pallets are burned, it leaves behind piles of nails everywhere.”
Hanik said the clean up that’s required is hefty and often asks youth with trucks full of pallets to leave the area that he’s responsible for in Fort Shepherd.
“We don’t need that in Pend d’Oreille or in Fort Shepherd,” said Hanik.
He would like to see local business owners lock up their supplies to prevent theft and he encourages them not to give pallets away.
But he’s not the only person concerned about the surge in pallets being burned in the area, the West Kootenay ATV Club (WKATV) recently removed 70 pallets from the Pend d’Oreille.
“We got 10 minutes notice that it needed to be done,” said Joya McIntyre, president of WKATV. “It was on private property and we were asked by the RCMP and BC Hydro to have the (pallets) recycled. It took two and half hours to clean-up.”
Hanik, the self-proclaimed warden of Fort Shepherd, said that the problem is ongoing but that graduation doesn’t help.
“I did turn away two trucks full of pallets because they told me they were going to have a fire,” said Hanik. “I told them they weren’t having any fires out here and told them to get out of here. I took their license plate numbers and they said they were probably going to go up to Pend d’Oreille.”
According to Hanik, the RCMP is well versed in the problem and has been monitoring the situation carefully.
Members of the WKATV club usually volunteer to help out with clean-ups in the area each year.
“We usually do the first clean up of the year after grad and it normally takes about six hours,” McIntyre said. “The year before the last we took out four trucks and two trailers of garbage out of there.”