2017 River Clean-up Report
Despite the soggy weather, eleven adults and two young children turned up to paddle the Middle Shuswap River last Saturday to pick up garbage left in and around the river. During the 5th Annual River Cleanup Paddle Event organized by Charles Ruechel of Elements Adventure Co., discarded tubes, wooden tables, plastics of all sorts, cigarette butts and even an old car seat were retrieved.
Starting at “The Meadows” in Cherryville at 10 AM, it took the paddlers until 5 PM in sunshine and torrential rain to paddle and clean over 30 km of river. By the time they arrived at Shuswap Falls, they had hundreds of pounds of garbage, a whole truckload in fact.
“What was different this year” said Charles Ruechel “is that we partnered with the Mabel Lake Community Club who did promotion for us and set up some hot food and drinks for us at the end of the day and even took it upon themselves to dispose of the garbage!”. It is Ruechel’s hope that this event will bring awareness to people who use the river to clean up after themselves and protect the remaining wildness of the river.
Rita Romei, the president of the Mabel Lake Club said that this event fitted right in with the new mandate of the board which is to be stewards of the Mabel Lake Valley rather than just being a social club. “More and more people realize the important role the Shuswap River plays in this community and feel we need to be pro-active in protecting it” said Romei. Already many property owners take part in the cleanup by walking along the shore to pick up garbage. The Club has plans to make this annual event something where families can come to the river for an afternoon to learn about and experience the river environment.
Among the paddlers were people from Vernon, Kelowna and Enderby. Prizes donated by True Outdoors of Vernon were awarded to the youngest paddlers, Xenia Ruechel and Satori Tam. When asked whether she had been afraid when going down some rapids, four year old Xenia replied “No, I was just tooooooo excited!”
Prizes were also awarded for various feats during the day, including the most epic retrieval of a damaged inflatable that went to Karl Podolski who has participated in the event every year since its inception in 2013. “In the beginning, no one really even knew the event was happening. This year we even had one riverside property owner meet us on the riverbank to offer us pumpkin pie!”, said Podolski.