Following a four month hiatus due to Covid-19, Parksville AM Rotarians once again joined Little Mountain residents and members of the Back Country Hunters and Anglers to finish the job they started over two years ago - taking out the trash at the bottom of Little Mountain!

About two-thirds of the garbage has now been removed, a staggering 14 tons. This has been the result of over 10 years of dumping from the top of the cliff, resulting in a disgusting mess at its base which has disfigured an area once known for the beauty of its pristine forest setting. 
 
To the Back Country Hunters and Anglers, preserving our unspoiled wilderness is integral to their mandate, so joining in this initiative was a natural partnership.  Parksville AM Rotarians are thankful for their strong backs and enthusiastic support.
 
Because the base of the cliff is accessible only by foot, it is not possible to remove the trash at ground level, making a helicopter lift the only viable option. Mike Gillen from Kestrel Helicopters has been unwavering in his support of this project and is committed to the final lift-off, likely in the fall of 2020.
 
Larger items such as sofas and car parts have been placed in fertilizer bags or will be roped together on the day of the lift, but the mountain is still littered with smaller items such as computer parts, golf balls and glass, all of which need to be picked up by hand.

Our return to the mountain did hold some surprises, including what appeared to be an engagement ring, along with the box it likely came in.  There was a lot of good-natured speculation about what had led to it going over the cliff!
 
Social distancing proved to be relatively simple, as workers chose their section of the mountain, grabbed a garbage bag and started filling it with debris. 
 
The extent of the dumping becomes even more evident during this painstaking task as it is revealed that the garbage has accumulated in layers.  Just when an area appears clear, a glint of glass signals that there is much more work to do beneath the surface.  And the fact that this is all done on the slope of the mountain base makes it all the more challenging.

 
Still, good humour prevails, and the group is united in the feeling that this is a job that matters.  Once the final helicopter has flown and this massive clean-up completed, the next phase of this project will be to prevent future dumping activity.
 
Working with the RCMP and local officials, ideas including signage, cameras and fencing are being explored.  Nothing is off the table yet, but a deterrence strategy will be put in place so that this is will be the very last lift-off from Little Mountain!