Mushroom mess on Crown land

Again, as in years past, seasonal mushroom pickers have left trailer loads of refuse and even raw sewage behind at the end of the season.

  • Nov. 19, 2014 7:00 a.m.

Trisha Shanks

Arrow Lakes News

Property owners heading out to the great outdoors to spend time in the pristine forested area of Fosthall, across the lake, stumbled upon discarded camping gear, piles of garbage, empty cans and even a makeshift latrine. They notified the Arrow Lakes News to the fact that again, as in years past, seasonal mushroom pickers have left trailer loads of refuse and even raw sewage behind at the end of the season.

A concerned citizen, who requested to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, said, “We are tired of them leaving garbage out there for private citizens to deal with. They don’t clean up after themselves and it doesn’t seem to be in anyone’s (government) jurisdiction.” The owners have had their cabin broken into and items stolen by what they assume to be unprepared campers needing items like bedding and lanterns.

Greig Bethel, Media Relations’ Public Affairs Officer with the Ministry says, “(We do) not have any specific concerns with seasonal mushroom pickers as long as they pack in what they pack out, don’t litter and don’t cause any environmental damage. Generally, people are well-behaved.” He goes on to say, “Under the Environmental Management Act, people can be issued violation tickets for littering. Fines can range from $115 to $575.”

There have been similar issues at this location in past years. The current concern has already been reported to the Natural Resource Officers (NROs) from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations’s Compliance and Enforcement branch but a solution is not at hand as of yet. In the past, the Ministry has assisted with cleanup, and other times the locals have gone about it too, at their own expense.

As far as what is going to happen with this year’s remnants, “NROs are unsure what will happen with site cleanup ­­­­­— it is the responsibility of the people who dumped/discarded the items on Crown land. NROs could try to determine who left the items behind and require them to clean up the site, but the likelihood of determining the culprits at this time is very low.”

There is an unwritten rule for making use of the great outdoors: “Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints,” In other words: leave no trace. Items like tents, tin cans and man-made outhouses don’t biodegrade and can cause environmental problems as well as destroy others’ enjoyment of natural undisturbed areas.

“NROs will target the area for patrols next fall during mushroom season, as well as do some education and follow-up enforcement,” offers Bethel.


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