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North Island campsite vandalism message targets tourists

Despite Alberta licence plates, all campers have been B.C. residents, according to caretaker
Vandalism saying ‘go home’ was found at Clint Beek Recreation Site near Port McNeill on July 17. (Tammi Beek photo)

Someone spray-painted “go home” on the site map at Clint Beek Recreation Site near Port McNeill.

The site on Keogh Lake was built by MacMillan Bloedel in the 1990s and named after employee and “prominent member of the community,” Clint Beek.

Keith Beek, Clint’s son, is the caretaker at the 14-spot site. He and his family were at the site Friday night, and noticed the sign was clean at around 7:30 p.m. when they arrived. By 8 p.m., the bright blue message had been emblazoned on the sign. Whoever painted the sign seems to have been on a mission, Keith’s wife Tammi Beek said, because they didn’t come into the site.

Her best guess is that the sign refers to out-of-province campers, in light of COVID-19 concerns.

“From what people are saying around town, it’s safe to assume that’s what it’s about. But the thing is, people don’t have all the information. I know people who live here and have Alberta license plates only because they haven’t been able to get new plates yet. There’s lots of different reasons,” she said.

Beek said almost all campers at the site have been Vancouver Islanders, and most of them are from the north Island. In a note to the vandals on her Facebook page, she wrote, “All you are doing is ruining it for the locals who love our parks. And creating a lot of work for those that have to fix and clean up your mess.” That is, her husband, who’s responsible to clean the spray paint off the sign from his father’s namesake park.

Provincial park reservations are only open to B.C. residents, but first-come-first-serve sites are open to all.

“I understand the fear around COVID-19. But seriously does vandalizing our recreation sites on the North Island going to change things? Probably not!” Beek wrote on Facebook.

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