There has been a huge increase in the amount of garbage found along the Columbia and Western Trail, according a post on the trail’s Facebook page.
Jeremy Nelson, president of the society that helps to maintain the trail, says huge amounts of unburned garbage have been found at many of the fire pits along the trail.
Empty beer cans have also been found in the middle of the trail to the dismay of local residents.
Nelson believes one reason for the uptick in garbage is the two-fold increase in the amount of people using the trail since the start of the COVID-19 crisis in March. He said there have been more quaders, cyclists and motor bikers using the trail from across the province and country.
“It’s not uncommon to go down to the trailhead in Castlegar on the weekend and see 30 or 40 cars parked there,” said Nelson.
“Sometimes it’s impossible to go up and down the trail because there’s so many people on it.”
Despite the increase in traffic, the society is calling on everyone to clean up their garbage on the trail.
“We all have to do better than this,” said the society on the Facebook post.
“Please pack out what you bring in, and if you see some cans or garbage that may have accidentally fallen off someone on their way through, please be a part of the community and pick up and dispose of it properly.”
A 67-km portion of the CWT got reclassified as a “resource” trail back in July, meaning companies have to pay and maintain sections of it when they use it for logging. Nelson doesn’t think this has attributed to the increase in garbage.
The entire 162-km trail connects the communities of Midway to Castlegar.