“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.

 

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

Just Posted

VIDEO: Organization’s stolen wheelchair van recovered on backroad near Hope

Wheelchair accessible van is only transportation for some people in Hope and Fraser Canyon

Kennedy, Cartier Roads could see upgrade in Kent’s next budget

Residents living and working on Kennedy Road wrote to complain about the dust from the gravel

Police ask public’s help locating missing Hope woman

Penelope Leslie Lackey has not contacted her family since mid-June

Get a free sneak peek at modern ballet performance in Chilliwack

New ballet @giselle is putting the final touches on its show at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Rescuers pluck climbers off rock face near Mt. Slesse

Chilliwack SAR team members used long-line suspension to assist climbers

VIDEO: Facebook rolls out tool to block off-Facebook data gathering

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the “clear history” feature more than a year ago

B.C. rainbow crosswalk covered in mysterious black substance

Black substance spilled intentionally near Vancouver Island school and difficult to remove

New anti-drone tech deployed at Abbotsford Airshow

Operators could locate drones from up to 23 kilometres away

RCMP originally planned to arrest Meng Wanzhou on plane, defence lawyers say

The allegations have not been proven in court. Meng was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver airport at the behest of the U.S.

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Ethics commissioner ready to testify on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin: NDP critic

A new poll suggests the report hasn’t so far hurt the Liberals’ chances of re-election this fall

Inflation hits Bank of Canada 2% target for second straight month

Prices showed strength in other areas, including an 18.9 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

Pregnant teachers fight to change WorkSafeBC compensation rules

Agency does not recognize risk to unborn babies when mother catches illness from work

Most Read