Anyone who has been to The Pinery Provincial Park can tell you about our vast expanse of fine sandy beach, much of which lies within a nature reserve and is protected within a natural environment class park. Those who look more closely, however, will often have no trouble finding evidence of the many human activities and impacts both within The Pinery and across the greater Lake Huron ecosystem. While most beachgoers tread lightly on The Pinery’s shoreline, others leave behind broken toys, cigarette butts, and picnic litter. Recreational and commercial fishing are a source of fishing line and nets which can be a hazard for wildlife, and lighter items such as plastic bags, foam packaging, and balloons can float long distances from their points of origin.
To combat the accumulation of litter on our beloved beach, The Pinery hosts a shoreline cleanup every September as part of the national Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup organized by the Vancouver Aquarium and the World Wildlife Fund. This year, campers, scouts and school groups braved the rainy weather and volunteered their time to clean up approximately 8.5 of The Pinery’s 9.5 kilometres of shoreline. Together, they collected nearly 100 kilograms of litter, encompassing everything from fishing lures and food packaging to a window-squeegee and an inflatable alligator. All of the data collected has been submitted to the national event coordinators, and helps us understand the sources of shoreline litter and its threat to wildlife and ecosystems.
The Pinery staff and the hundreds of thousands of visitors who enjoy The Pinery’s beach every year owe a big thank-you to the cleanup volunteers.