The illegal dumping of garbage at remote forest sites continues to be a hard-to-control problem in the Okanagan.
But now one group that’s working to keep area forests green has a new high-tech tool to help them catch culprits in the act.
Using money donated by Big White Ski Resort, the Okanagan Forest Task Force purchased several trail cameras and has set them up along many forest service roads that are ‘hot spots’ of illegal dumping.
Trail cameras are remotely activated cameras most often used by hunters to monitor game movement. They are triggered by movement sensors and can be left unattended for long periods of time to catch still photos and in some cases video.
“Cameras typically get checked once a week, and that’s when investigations are triggered,” said Kane Blake, founder of the Okanagan Forest Task Force (OFTF).
“We have a few long-time members in various areas around the Okanagan who help monitor cameras, analyze photos and gather evidence.”
The OFTF turns in all evidence of illegal dumping to the Conservation Office for further investigation.
Illegal dumping can result in hefty fines.
Kane says work done by the OFTF has led to more than 60 individuals being ticketed for illegal dumping.
“Illegal dumping has not seemed to have slowed down, and the number of incidents continue to rise,” Kane said.
“We have encountered some scenarios where a single ‘hot spot’ will have seen three illegal dumping violations in a week.”
Kane says since the creation of the group in 2016, the OFTF has cleaned upwards of 300,000 pounds of illegally dumped garbage in the Okanagan backcountry.
“It’s our hope that our continued efforts in this New Year will help keep the backcountry clean and enjoyable for all.”