Photos posted to social media by Campbell River resident Jenny Doyle show garbage strewn about at Mary Lake, northwest of Campbell River. She led of group of volunteers that cleaned up the site on Sunday. Photo courtesy Jenny Doyle

Vancouver Island volunteers reclaim outdoor playground-turned junkyard

Crew removes garbage from Mary Lake northwest of Campbell River

A group of volunteers spent hours cleaning up a wilderness site near Campbell River after illegal dumping turned the outdoor recreation area into a junk yard.

Piles of garbage at Mary Lake, 25 minutes northwest of Campbell River, included a full shower stall, said Campbell River resident Jenny Doyle, who organized the cleanup effort.

“There was a lot of garbage there,” Doyle said. “One thing about that spot on the lake is that a lot of people use it to shoot guns, so there’s lots of shotgun shell casings and broken skeets, there’s lots of glass.”

Photos posted to social media show piles of trash and a fire pit littered with casings. Garbage included a full shower stall, speakers, a television and what appeared to be a burned-out box spring or couch, Doyle said.

The ground was also littered with nails from pallets used for firewood, and fragments of black and orange clay pigeons used by hunters, she said. Surprisingly, there were very few beer cans, possibly a sign that deposit programs work, she said.

Doyle organized the cleanup as a project that involves giving back to the community for a program called the Excellence Seminars. A group of 11 people, including classmates and friends, spent about four hours cleaning up the site. The group included volunteers from as far as Parksville and Nanaimo. Some passers-by also helped out, she said.

In a Facebook post, she thanked everyone who took part.

“Thank you to everyone who is a part of the solution, to those who are committed to leaving the wild places better than they found them for everyone to enjoy,” she said in the post.

Photos taken by Doyle after the cleanup on Sunday show a relatively pristine site. But there’s still a lot of work to be done, she said.

“You could be on your hands and knees picking up little tiny pieces for an eternity,” said Doyle, who manages the Valhalla Pure Outfitters store in Courtenay.

Story continues below image.

Doyle said the response to her initiative has been universally positive.

“I’ve had lots of personal messages and people come up to me and say they’d be interested in doing the same thing,” she said.

READ MORE: Good Samaritan rescues cat found in heaps of garbage at B.C. landfill

READ MORE: MARS seeing influx of sick, injured eagles from north part of Vancouver Island

Doyle hopes that people will treat the restored natural area with more respect.

“Now that it’s cleaner, I think people will be less likely to just throw stuff on the ground because there’s not already a big pile of garbage there,” she said.

She said that people have a responsibility to take care of the beautiful countryside around Campbell River.

“If we all get to use it, I think we should all be stewards of the land as well,” she said.

The group sorted and recycled as much material as possible, and Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM) waived tipping fees, Doyle said. She praised Recreation Sites and Trails BC officer Graham Cameron for helping facilitate the waiver.

The fees were waived under a policy that’s meant to reduce environmental impacts, said Stephanie Valdal, CSWM services coordinator. Groups can also apply for waivers for tipping fees related to community projects and emergency situations, she said.

More information is available on the CSWM website, or by contacting the waste management service directly.

Mary Lake is a recreation site under the jurisdition of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD).

In an email statement, the ministry said it “extends its thanks to the local resident who led a garbage clean-up effort at the site this past weekend.”

Illegal dumping and littering is a problem on Crown land, said Vivian Thomas, communications director for FLNRORD in an email to the Mirror.

People are liable for a ticket of $115 or a fine of up to $2,000 and up to six months in jail for littering under the Environmental Management Act, she said.

She added that depending on the materials involved, “non-compliance could result in a violation ticket of $575, a penalty of up to $1,000,000 and/or imprisonment up to six months.”

Anyone who comes across an illegal dump site or sees dumping taking place can report it to the Natural Resource Violation hotline at 1-877-952-7277.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Photos posted to social media by Campbell River resident Jenny Doyle show garbage strewn about at Mary Lake, northwest of Campbell River. She led of group of volunteers that cleaned up the site on Sunday. Photo courtesy Jenny Doyle

Photos posted to social media by Campbell River resident Jenny Doyle show garbage strewn about at Mary Lake, northwest of Campbell River. She led of group of volunteers that cleaned up the site on Sunday. Photo courtesy Jenny Doyle

Just Posted

Tofino douses Atleo Air firefighting heroes with support

Community says thanks after chopper volunteers extinguish remote brush fire

Mitchell’s Musings: Time flies faster in new millenium

Like Steve Miller before him, columnist feels time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping

Vancouver Island Chronicles: meet the man who brought sawmilling to Alberni

Capt. Edward Stamp was a walking contradiction who built sawmills in outrageous places

World’s largest hockey stick getting new lights

New lighting system can change colours and patterns

Efforts begin to convert Kingzett Lake into a park

Victoria radio announcer begins initiative with petition

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Kraft Heinz brand baby food recalled in B.C. due to possibility of insects

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the product should not be consumed

Most Read