“The weirdest thing they brought up was a toilet, like you’d see in a BC Parks outhouse,” said Janet Rigby. Submitted

‘You pack it in, you pack it out,’ says volunteer after divers clean bottom of Lake of the Woods

Six divers scoured the bottom of the popular swim spot for garbage and debris

Decades of senseless littering have left a hazardous mess at the bottom of Hope’s most popular swimming lake: Lake of the Woods or Schkam Lake, a few kilometres north of Hope on Highway #1.

The rocks at the south end of the lake have been a popular spot for sunbathers and partiers since at least the 1960s and while some have packed out what they packed in, it’s clear that many have not — choosing to toss their beverage cans, bottles and other garbage into the lake.

While an ocean can grind down broken glass, a lake has no way of mitigating the danger, so it sits there, waiting for an unsuspecting swimmer to step on it.

READ MORE: Keep the Lake of the Woods area free of garbage

There’s hope, though, as a group of concerned citizens has taken on the challenge of removing what hundreds of other people should have been doing themselves.

Hope resident, Janet Rigby said she was at a BC Parks volunteer luncheon last year and was seated at a table with some scuba divers. She was there as a member of Hope’s Black Bear Committee and the divers were invited as a thank you for the work they do cleaning up waterways in the Lower Mainland.

“I asked them if they’d like to do a dive in Hope — and they came up twice last year, once for Lake of the Woods and once for Kawkawa Lake,” said Rigby. “They usually just ask for their gas money to be covered.”

The BC Diver’s Association also throws in free air tank refilling for the volunteers, said Rigby.

The scuba group, led by Henry Wang of North Vancouver, returned for their second day on ‘The Rocks” on Saturday, May 25, with six divers. Local volunteers came armed with support kayaks and a hearty lunch.

“We pulled the divers over to the spot with our kayaks,” said Rigby. “It conserves their air supply, but it was a lot of extra drag for us.

“Henry had a gadget like a little torpedo that would pull him over — and he could bring back trash with it,” said Rigby.

READ MORE: Frozen Kawkawa Lake becomes winter activity central

As for the submerged trash, Rigby said, “There’s a mother lode out there. They only made a dent in it, so they’ll have to come back again.

“Henry said the broken glass was in fairly shallow water and he was surprised people hadn’t been getting injured,” she added.

The haul of cans and unbroken bottles brought in $22.75 at the Hope bottle depot. Divers had to carefully pick up the broken glass and bring it back to the main beach, where it was added to the car tires and other treasures that were hauled away by Emil Anderson road maintenance staff.

“The weirdest thing they brought up was a toilet, like you’d see in a BC Parks outhouse,” said Rigby.

It may be next year before the divers get back to the lake for another stage of clean-up. In the meantime, Rigby reminds lake users: “You pack it in, you pack it out.”


 

@SarahGawdin on Twitter
SarahGawdin on Instagram
Sarah.Gawdin@HopeStandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Lake of the Woods. Submitted

The haul of cans and unbroken bottles brought in $22.75 at the Hope bottle depot. Submitted

Volunteers hauled garbage to shore for divers. Submitted

Comments are closed

Just Posted

VIDEO: Car goes off Highway 1 and into a ditch in Chilliwack

Eastbound vehicle left the highway ending in the ditch on south side of Luckakuck Way

Emergency crews respond to ATV rollover near Harrison

ATV rolled over on or near Harrison East Forest Service Road near Harrison Hot Springs

Guilty verdict for one of two men in large illegal marijuana grow-operation in Chilliwack

Charges dismissed against property owner where 3,200 plants, 32 kgs of dried weed found in 2017

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

Missing Chilliwack woman has not been in contact with family for several months

The RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating 35-year-old Chantelle Chenier of Chilliwack

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting in front of slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

Most Read