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North Brooks gets a sprucing up

Cleanup by BC Marine Trails

The Vancouver Island coastline is a little bit cleaner after the BC Marine Trails cleanup in North Brooks earlier this month. Cleanups are part of our Protecting our Coast campaign.

But just how much more clean we may never know.

Last year’s cleanup removed 3.77 tonnes from the Restless Bight area at the south entrance to Kyuquot Sound. This year continued south from that same area, focusing on Side Bay, Heater Point and Crabapple Islets — all popular kayaking areas in the remote Brooks Peninsula region of north Vancouver Island.

This followed a reconnaisance trip to the area in March to gauge the amount of garbage that would need removing.

The weather blessed us for both trips.

“We had the same kind of weather that we had when we did the recon trip — it was light winds and sunny,” says BC Marine Trails trip organizer Reale Edmond.

A perk involved an afternoon off to explore.

“We had three people that went around Solander Island. That’s how good the conditions were,” she says.

Rain waited until the last day during packing up for the drive home, but otherwise the weather cooperated better than back home, Reale says.

The cleanup resulted in a pile of trash to be taken away — probably about the same as last year.

“We had two people, two friends, one from Kamloops and one from Vancouver, come and do a four-day cleanup. They gathered nine big bags. Our group had eight pickup points where there was an accumulation of two big bags, a net bag and strings of buoys,” Reale says. “Because of the way they’re doing things I don’t have a volume and I don’t think that’s going to happen, because the barge is going to come and the heli is going to come and they’re just going to pick up everything, so I don’t think they’ll take the time to weigh anything.”

Two items never made the garbage pile — two small Japanese glass balls were among the debris found, which went back home with the finder.

The rest was less styrofoam than last year, Reale says, but more glass bottles — generally an overwhelming amount of plastic. And knowing it is all gone now makes the trip worthwhile.

“Everybody felt like they were giving back, and everybody was really happy,” Reale says.

Paul Grey

Paul has been a kayaker for over twenty years and has paddled a number of locations around Vancouver Island, Thailand and Hawaii. He has his Paddle Canada I and II and level 1 kayak guide training and certification. He has worked for the BC Marine Trails as a volunteer for approximately ten years in a number of capacities including being the president of the association. He is also the co-author of Easykayaker: A guide to laid-back paddling and Kayaking Vancouver Island. Paul is a fourth generation islander with his roots in the Nanaimo-Extension area. He also enjoys hiking, traveling and reading. He has received awards in 1993 and 1996 from the Prime Minister of Canada for his work in education; Paul is a recipient of a Royal Bank of Canada fellowship to Queen's University.