“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

River Monsters attract nearly 300 swimmers to their two-day meet

This was the third year for the now-annual event

PHOTOS: Sasquatch Days about ‘being proud of being Sts’ailes’

The joint event between Harrison and Sts’ailes returned to the village for its eighth year

‘This was my baby’: Music teacher to retire after 29 years at Kent Elementary

Brenda Di Rezze will be saying goodbye to her music room at the end of this school year

New Farmer’s Market coming to downtown Hope

Markets will be hosted every Friday on 3rd Avenue

SD78 growth plan to focus on inclusive learning, reading

Data collection and collaboration will help schools meet goals, superintendent says

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Pride flag taken down by Township of Langley

Woman said she was told it was removed from her front yard because of a complaint

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Most Read