Rangers, Volunteers clean up mess left behind by slob campers

Everybody knows it’s nice to arrive at a clean campsite — and most campers make sure they leave their campsites in the same condition. But we all know there are some people who just don’t seem to care where they drop their garbage.


By Peter James
Lake of the Woods Enterprise

People are remarkably lazy,” Ontario Stewardship Ranger Emily Port said shortly after helping to clean up a filthy camp site on Keys Lake earlier this month. “You can tell all they do is chuck it, out sight of mind.”

Port and other members of the Stewardship Rangers crew have been busy this summer cleaning up after messy campers. They’ve collected the usual array of beer bottles and pop cans but have also found a baby wading pool, chairs and piles of straw left behind.

“There’s been a surprising number of diapers,” Ministry of Natural Resources employee Aaron Causyn said, adding to the list.

At the Keys Lake site the Rangers were assisted by some volunteers from Grassy Narrows First Nation. The community is close to the lake and residents had noticed how dirty it had become and notified the government.

The clean-up only took a couple hours but during that time the Rangers filled the back of a truck with debris.

“It’s upsetting, it’s such a gorgeous spot,” Ranger team leader Jordan Gauld said, adding it feels good to get the job done.

Keys Lake was only the latest site the Stewardship Rangers have cleaned-up, they also spent a few days working on Middle Lake taking away truck loads of illegally dumped garbage.

The hope is by creating awareness about their clean-ups people will be more conscientious when leaving camp sites. Causyn said it’s not only good for the environment to clean up your mess, it will save the government money because they won’t have to send in the Rangers to do the job.

Causyn said even dumping excess brush can cause a problem because it will lead others to believe anything can be left behind.

“All of a sudden you have a dump,” he said.

The Stewardship Rangers program gives high school students an opportunity to work for the Ministry of Natural Resources in the summer months. They do community-based work in and around the Kenora area. Aside from clean-up work the Rangers have done other projects this summer like cormorant banding and working with the fisheries assessment unit.

The above article was originally published in the Lake of the Woods Enterprise newspaper.