The Okanagan Forest Task Force (OFTF) is set to tackle what it says is the biggest encampment cleanup it has ever undertaken.
President Kane Blake and other members toured the site near Okanagan Falls on Sunday, Nov. 12.
“The camp is full of travel trailers, cars, motorhomes, metal, tons and tons of garbage, and even hidden underground locations,” Blake said.
Pictures posted to the OFTF website show a second mess, believed to have been left by the same people, a few kilometres up the road.
It consists of burnt vehicles, garbage, and a cage with a sign that says ‘warning rattlesnakes.’
It’s also believed that the presence of these camps has led to multiple fires in the bush.
“This is not the first encampment we have been to where a brush or a wildfire was started,” Blake said. “Sadly, this is the risk we take by letting these camps stay and something needs to change.”
Blake added that residents in the area have had enough.
“After nearly four years the mess has gotten out of hand. It’s now one of our main priorities for the spring and is going to take a lot of planning.”
Since Sep. 2016, the OFTF has cleaned up more than 815,000 pounds of garbage from the Okanagan backcountry.
“We are sadly on track to hit over one million pounds by next summer,” Blake said. “Without all the members, community support, and partnered businesses like ABC Recycling and Norval rentals none of this would be possible.”
READ MORE: Encampment cleaned up near Lake Country