2020 River Clean-up Report
Great thanks was given to the Middle Shuswap River on Thanksgiving weekend by 11 enthusiastic paddlers participating in the annual River Clean up Paddle. Saturday October 10, 2020 marked the 8th consecutive year of the clean up hosted by Elements Adventure Company and the Mabel Lake Community Club.
Donning rain gear and gloves, our crew of volunteers began cleaning around the Mabel Lake Community Hall. From there, under the guidance of Charles Ruechel at Elements Adventure Company, we set off paddling canoes, kayaks and one stand up paddleboard up towards the base of the Wilsey dam and then proceeded downstream towards Mabel Lake. Thanks to Hugette Allen and Russ Collins from the Mabel Lake Community Club for providing us with hot tea and snacks after the paddle.
We paddled through idyllic farmland past curious horses, pigs and people alike, enjoying the changing scenery of rolling fields, cliffs and forests in their finest fall colours. Over a hundred eagles oversaw our efforts from the tree tops and skies while they waited for us to pass before resuming their all-you-can-eat buffet of spawning salmon (the most eagles spotted in the sky at one time by our group was 26!).
Our group gathered all sorts of random garbage scanning the river banks as we navigated around logs and sometimes holding our breaths in spots where the spawning salmon carcasses littered the shoreline. Garbage collected from the sandbars and river banks ranged from empty cans, to farm/garden plastics, metals and even included an old camera, an unopened head of sour cabbage and a giant traffic road barrier.
We have the great privilege to have some of the cleanest water at this latitude anywhere in the world, and it is an honour to help keep it that way. This middle section of the Shuswap River above Mabel Lake typically does not see as much river traffic as the lower Shuswap River east of Enderby, but we still managed to fill half a pick up truck full of garbage in 4 hours on the water. We saw many native western pearl-shell mussels on some of the sandbars, which is an indication of a healthy, thriving ecosystem. As more and more folks take to exploring the splendor that exists in our own backyard, it will be important for us all to work together to protect this precious ecosystem.
For anyone interested in joining the 2021 paddle, stay in touch with Elements Adventure Company on Facebook or check back at (www.elementsadventures.com). Moving water paddling experience is required to participate (the sections paddled are more challenging than the flat waters of the Lower Shuswap around Enderby). As a thank you, Elements Adventure Co. offers anyone participating in the Clean Up Paddle 10% off of a river canoeing skills course in the following year