Kootenay Lake’s East Shore gets a spring cleaning

Volunteers in the Kootenay Lake area cleaned 14 different popular sites along the East Shore

Volunteers came together in April to clean up the East Shore of Kootenay Lake. Participants were asked to comply with COVID-19 guidelines and only gather with their cohort. (Photo by Carmen Marquis)

Submitted by Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society

From April 1 to 30, Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society (FoKLSS), in partnership with Trails for Creston Valley Society (TCVS), and the East Shore Freshwater Habitat Society (ESFHS), organized a beach clean-up initiative.

In early March, TCVS approached the FoKLSS about cleaning up lake-access points along shore after noticing an increase in the amount of litter at these popular spots.

The organizations called for all hands on deck to address the growing issue of garbage pollution on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake.

“It’s always exciting when organizations combine efforts to work on a common interest, thereby creating synergy,” said Debby Johnson, Lake Access Committee Lead for TCVS.

Because of COVID-19, FOKLSS could not host beach clean-ups this year like they had in the past. Instead, they reached out to residents in the Kootenay Lake area, hoping they would answer the call and clean up the beaches around them while remaining within their social cohorts.

Throughout the month, volunteers in the Kootenay Lake area responded by cleaning 14 different popular sites along the East Shore.

The garbage collected by volunteers included polystyrene (Styrofoam), tires, plastic debris, glass bottles, aluminum cans, and more. Volunteers also removed large amounts of dangerous scrap metal that seemed to populate the Kootenay Lake shoreline.

FOKLSS covered the transfer fees for volunteers so they could take the garbage they collected to the dump, and TCVS collected prizes that were given out to volunteers who participated in the Beach Cleanup Photo Contest by sending in photos.

FOKLSS, TCVS, and ESFHS want to thank Black Bear Books, Summit Cycles, Modern Alchemy, Back to Nature Apparel, Morris Flowers, Tigz Tea, and Buffalo Trails for donating prizes.

FOKLSS would also like to thank their beach cleanup initiative sponsors Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program, B.C. Parks, Regional District of Central Kootenay Area A, and Columbia Basin Trust.

“The April Shoreline Cleanup can serve as a time to celebrate our on-going commitment to thoughtfully tending to the land year long,” said Johnson. “This clean-up was a good reminder to the public that the shoreline will not clean itself of visitors’ litter, and it is up to us, the residents, to keep the shoreline safe for both people and wildlife.”

Remember to pack out what you pack in and continue to work at keeping the shores of Kootenay Lake clean.

If you would like to support these and other efforts on the lake, consider becoming a member of any three of these community-based organizations. For any questions about this event, you can contact FoKLSS Program Manager Camille LeBlanc at info@friendsofkootenaylake.ca.

Creston Valley