A volunteer Okanagan forest cleanup team is preparing to do its thing on a creek between Vernon and Lake Country that is littered with discarded tires, but needs approval from a government agency before the work can begin.
Okanagan Forest Task Force (OFTF) needs approval before getting started with the cleanup effort because the illegal tire dump is located in a stream, which could potentially be impacted by their activities, according to founder Kane Blake.
Blake shared images of the site showing what appears to be dozens of tires strewn up a length of the creek. He said if everything goes as planned the OFTF will be able to remove them this coming summer.
“How they got there we will never know. What we do know is this group can make a difference and have it all clean so our wildlife can have clean drinking water,” he said.
Blake said the group is still working through the bureaucracy that’s in place to ensure streams and creeks are properly handled.
Once approval has been obtained, the next challenge will be to get the large number of tires out of the remote forest area. For that challenge, Blake said a volunteer helicopter may be utilized “to lift the tires out.”
According to a Black Press article in January, OFTF assisted in ticketing up to 60 individuals for illegally dumping garbage in the Okanagan backcountry in 2020.
The OFTF works closely with the RCMP and the BC Conservation Service. The group responds to reports of illegal dumping, reports suspected stolen property to the police and keeps an eye out for reported stolen vehicles while in the bush.