DEAR GREATER MADAWASKA

Dear Greater Madawaska,

Before I begin my litter rant (and it’s been awhile) I want everyone to know that I am not blaming the township of Madawaska for anything. I am simply addressing them in hope that this post may create some awareness and get their attention. Within the past two years I have tried to address this issue to them, which was unsuccessful. I then began contacting Environment Canada, the Ministry of Ontario, the Ministry of Natural Resources, as well as our local Newspaper. Most if not all would say “thank you for your concern, but I recommend you contact this person”… I never really got anywhere. The only person willing to help me was my local newspaper and as much as I loved their support there is only so much an article in a small town newspaper can do.

I have many concerns regarding the litter in our area, but there are a few spots that really stick out.

Wabun Lake

This is a lake that gets heavily camped at in the summer beginning with May 24 weekend. My husband and I have gone there the past two years, a couple times a year, to clean it up and every time we go back there is almost more garbage then the first time.

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We went there today, without any garbage bags thinking there would be enough snow to cover the litter so we would be able to enjoy our hike. Each fire pit was filled with used fire works, plastic bags, plastic bottles, beer cans, pop cans, beer bottles, shot gun shells and much more.

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After already cleaning up these campsites a couple times this year we left sad, angry, frustrated and discouraged. Other than us going back there once a month to clean it up, is there not something that can be done?

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The lake has in total 5-8 campsites with fire pits. There is no charge to camp here. It is FREE. And it is being ABUSED! I would much rather pay $10-$20 for a clean campsite than to camp somewhere that I have to spend hours cleaning up first, and where I have to wear shoes to swim because of the broken bottles in and around the lake.

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Limestone Lake

This is about a 10 minute drive from Wabun Lake and is also heavily camped and fished. With great trout fishing and fairly easy access this lake attracts many people in every season.

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Another beautiful lake for swimming and camping that allows FREE camping. The problem it seems with free camping (at least in this area) is that people do not respect the campsites and wilderness.   This lake even has the springs from a mattress that had obviously been burned there.

The sides of the lake are polluted with beer cans, beer bottles, pop cans, bobbers and fishing line.

The Springtown Culverts

If you search back through my blog posts, you can find many litter rants about this spot in particular.

I also created a youtube video showing the garbage that we saw during our visit to these two lakes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaN39loomSE

I often have people say to me “Oh it’s those city folks, or tourists that come here and have no respect for the area” – FALSE!! So FALSE!!

I have witnessed it with my own eyes, I have talked to the people camping at these spots.   It is not “city people” or “tourists” polluting the Calabogie area, it’s LOCALS. It is people from the Ottawa Valley or other nearby counties.

SO what am I asking the Greater Madawaska Township to do? Anything.   Honestly anything at all is better than nothing. The best maintained trails in the Ottawa Valley are the Greater Madawaska Trails. The trails up, around and behind Calabogie Peaks are well maintained and quite clean. The trail in Griffith did not have a piece of litter on it. Cherry’s Point is well kept and looks beautiful all year round. So what can we do about these little lakes that are well used but not well loved?

I would love to see signs, garbage cans (I am sure there would be people – like me – who would be willing to volunteer to change the garbage bags), and how about paid camping at these wonderful free campsites. Yes that’s right, I am willing to wave good bye to the wonderful opportunity to have free camping so close to our finger tips because people are destroying these lakes due to the ability to free camp there.

This is just a small step we could take to begin a big movement.

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