OUT ON A LIMB: Logging roads, forest recreation sites are not dumps

I really shake my head and wonder about people’s attitude towards the local environment

I managed to get a night’s camping in last weekend at Amor Lake, one of the bodies of water northwest of Campbell River that is part of the Sayward Forest Canoe Route.

Rather than paddle out onto the lake – which is fast becoming one of my favourite lakes in the region – and camp on one of the wilderness sites on its shore, we decided to park and camp at the B.C. Recreation Site at the access boat launch off of Blackwater Lake Road.

There are two or three campsites on the south side of the creek draining Amor Lake. They’re pretty nice but I was not impressed by the garbage left by previous campers. It wasn’t a lot but it was completely unnecessary to leave what was there. I mean how hard is it to toss a battery package into a garbage bag rather than on the ground?

I really like (that’s sarcasm) how the previous campers had themselves a good old bonfire but obviously misjudged how much wood they needed and left behind about 10-15 chunks of partially burnt logs. If they had used half that amount of wood, they could have burnt it all and left nothing but ash.

There was so much wood still left in these chunks that we used a little bit of the wood I had brought from home to start a fire and then burnt these charcoal leftovers for the rest of the evening!

I really shake my head and wonder about people’s attitude towards the local environment. The old adage is carry it in, carry it out. That seems to be too much trouble for some people. It’s particularly applicable to drive-in campsites. The wilderness sites are pristine because people who will make that kind of effort to camp in the wild generally care about the environment. But the drive-in sites are a mess. And what does that say about the people who use them? Well, I can leave that to you to conclude.

There’s a local group of great people who have taken to cleaning up the local logging roads where people have been dumping piles of garbage for years. Shame the Logging Road Dumpers should be knighted for their efforts.

These people are taking their own time, sweat equity and money to clean up the garbage piles being dumped on our logging roads by people who are too lazy or cheap to take garbage to the dump or recycling facilities.

The same lack of respect is shown for some of the recreation sites, at least the smaller, less popular ones. These recreation sites are a great amenity. Sure, some of them are “primitive” as they say but the off-the-beaten-track nature of some of them is part of the appeal. They’re not provincial parks but some of the locations are as nice as any park.

Users need to take more ownership of them because they’re not serviced to the same level as provincial parks. The province has started sinking more resources into them in recent years and that’s good but there’s still an onus on users to pick up their garbage.

It’s not too much to ask.