Community Event- Eagle Ridge Clean-Up
February 13, 2003

Written by Sean F.

Our club had gotten word this past week that the garbage situation up on Eagle Ridge was getting out of control. With just a few days to go until the weekend, an emergency cleanup was declared and the club decided to band together. We cancelled or changed weekend plans and got together to do our best to help out.

We all met at the trail-head early Saturday morning. A pretty good turnout for such short notice. Everyone pulled on gloves and got out the garbage bags. It quickly became apparent that our small labour force would only put a dent in the problem but every little bit helps.

Pretty quickly our garbage bag supply was running low as they were filled up with fast-food garbage, empty plant pots, carpet, insulation and household garbage.

It was quickly apparent who the primary litterbugs were - contractors, who probably work building the houses in the local area. There was a lot of debris related to house construction scattered about and tossed over the nearby embankment. The next most prevalent form of trash that we found was likely deposited by local homeowners looking for a convenient dump site - primarily household garbage, TV's, computers, etc.

With our first pickup truck full to bursting and in danger of disappearing under the pile of garbage, Karl and myself took it to the Coquitlam Fire Department. They use the area for training purposes so we thought they might be interested. They were very interested and thankful. They were even kind enough to let us dump the first load in one of their garbage dumpster's. Thank you very much guys!!

By the time Karl and I made it back to the trailhead some drug paraphernalia had been found so a call was made to the local RCMP. They sent a cruiser out in short order and the constable filled out a report on our find and then loaded the evidence into some of our garbage bags for proper disposal.

With that taken care of, we went back to collecting the garbage. Soon there was enough garbage collected to fill another pickup truck. We were reusing some of the garbage by this point. One of the items thrown out up there was huge sheets of heavy polyethylene. These were quickly transformed into ultra heavy duty garbage bags for some of the heavier garbage we found.

The area has long been used by four wheel drive vehicles who in recent years have born the brunt of the criticism for the garbage. To test this theory out we decided to go up to the lookout, a popular destination for the 4x4 crowd as well as other users of the area.

Upon arriving at the lookout we found it to be quite clean. A few empty cans and butts but otherwise very clean. This was a good thing as our garbage bag supply was getting critical. We managed to collect one bag of garbage at the lookout and then picked up some garbage off the trail on our way back down to the trailhead.

The garbage we had collected at the trailhead for the second half of the day ended up filling one pickup fully with some excess in another pickup.

So after 5 hours work we had filled up just over 2 pickup trucks with garbage, mostly collected at the trailhead. Very little of this garbage seemed to come from people who actually used the area for recreation. We met a number of mountain bikers over the course of the day who all gave us big thumbs up for the work we were doing. A big thank you to the Coquitlam Fire Department and RCMP for each doing their part to help us with the clean-up.
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