A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)

Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

The West Coast’s ‘Locks of Love’ fence has again become a frustrating eyesore as visitors continue to bizarrely cover it with garbage in what’s become a frustrating and harmful ritual.

Visitors have long been stopping at the chain link fence along Hwy. 4 at Wally Creek on their way in or out of the Tofino-Ucluelet region. Many have placed a padlock on the fence as a romantic gesture to commemorate their West Coast experiences.

But a horrifying trend of stringing up trash has also popped up in recent years, exacerbated by the pandemic as disposable face masks have become common ‘mementos’ left behind.

A team from WestCoast WILD Adventures recently did its best to clean the fence as coworkers Anne-Marie Gosselin, Kelly Bedford and Teyah Little tackled the site on May 2.

Gosselin told the Westerly News they had seen a Facebook post showing the fence strewn with trash and were “disgusted” by it, agreeing to leave for work early the next day to remove as much as they could. They arrived at the fence a little before 9 a.m. armed with garbage bags, gloves, scissors and other debris-tackling tools.

“It hit a few nerves. It really got us passionate about what was going on up there. Somebody had to do something and we had time” Gosselin said. “We all stood there for probably about two minutes not even knowing where to start. It was disgusting. We cut off as much as we could.”

“The creativity of what people use to put on that fence is amazing. What people find in their cars or have in their back pockets that they think is OK to leave, credit to them, they’re being creative, but I had no idea how much junk was on that fence,” she said.

She said the area is an important wildlife habitat and the microplastics on the fence could be catastrophic.

“We live and play in that water,” she said. “It’s really important for us that we keep it clean and pristine as much as possible.”

She said the WestCoast WILD Adventures team left signs asking people not to leave litter and plans to keep their eye on the spot.

“We’ll do our best, but I think it’s going to take the entire community,” she said.

Goslin posted photos of the fence and the team’s work to clean it on the company’s Facebook page on May 2 and said she and her crew were surprised and inspired by the response they received.

“When I posted that, I had no idea it would go that far and reach that many people,” she said. “It was great to hear the majority of the community celebrating what we had done. It made us feel good because you never know what reaction you’ll get for taking off peoples’ potential memories.”

Local interest in removing the fence from the area gained momentum last September when Ucluelet locals Dan and Jessica Rutherford spent a day clearing debris off of it and raised their concern about how grotesque it had become.

The area sits outside the jurisdictions of both Tofino and Ucluelet and is the responsibility of B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

A ministry spokesperson told the Westerly News last week that the ministry is aware of the COVID-19 masks and other garbage being hung on the fence and continues to investigate potential signage for the site.

“There is no regular litter pick-up at this location, like there would be at a rest area. The ministry is looking at installing ‘no litter’ signage to remind people not to leave garbage on the fence itself, and in the area. While there is no regular litter removal, the ministry does remove debris once it is over a certain size and in accordance with our provincial maintenance specifications,” the spokesperson wrote via email.

“Enforcement of regulatory signage, or any applicable laws, is the responsibility of the local police agency or RCMP.”

They added that the fence will not be removed.

“Wally Creek, at the Kennedy Love Locks location, can have dangerously heavy water flows, especially when the river is high. The chain link fence was installed as a safety measure to both limit people from accessing the water and to provide a small platform for people to view the river without danger of falling in,” the spokesperson wrote. “The ministry reminds people that littering is prohibited in British Columbia and encourages people to refrain from leaving face masks on the fence.”



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: ‘Locks of Love’ fence near Tofino-Ucluelet consumed with litter

READ MORE: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation says more resources needed to keep Tribal Parks open

READ MORE: Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District looks at enforcement of illegal camping

EnvironmentGarbageTofino,Tourismucluelet

Just Posted

With high temperatures forecasted for the week and into the next, Interior Health is offering some tips on how to keep yourself safe from heat-related illness. (Pixabay)
Interior Health offers safety tips as temperatures soar

‘Too much heat can be harmful to your health’

Kurt Swanson’s dog Kona takes a break from the heat on the Summer Solstice near Cranbrook, B.C. (Kurt Swanson photo)
Very warm temperatures forecast across the Kootenays this weekend

Nelson, Castlegar forecast to hit 39, Cranbrook 37

The view from the Eager Hill lookout in the Cranbrook Community Forest. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
New ‘Padawan’ trail at Eager Hill now open and ready for use

The 5km green flow trail is suitable for all ages

The City of Cranbrook and the Ktunaxa Nation raised the flag of the Ktunaxa Nation at the arches entrance into the city’s downtown core during a ceremony on Monday, June 21. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Ktunaxa Nation flag raised at downtown arches entrance

The Ktunaxa Nation flag was raised at the Cranbrook arches — the… Continue reading

Kimberley Search and Rescue were able to quickly respond to a call for service and transport an injured mountain biker to East Kootenay Regional Hospital over the weekend. Kimberley SAR file photo.
Kimberley Search and Rescue respond to injured mountain biker on Bootleg Mountain

Kimberley Search and Rescue responded to a call for service this past… Continue reading

Pictured is Mrs. O and her grade 4/5 class at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Cranbrook. Mrs. O challenged her class to read 36,000 pages in May and they far surpassed that goal. The students were then allowed to choose her fate. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
WATCH: St. Mary’s Catholic School grade 4/5 class wins reading challenge

Teacher lets students choose fate after reading over 47,000 pages in one month

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pilots say no reason to continue quarantines for vaccinated international travellers

Prime minister says Canada still trying to limit number of incoming tourists

Six United Way chapters around the province are merging into United Way B.C. (News Bulletin file photo)
6 United Way chapters merging around B.C.

Money raised in communities will stay in those communities, agency says

Val Litwin is the latest candidate to declare his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership. (Litwin campaign video)
Political newcomer joins contest for B.C. Liberal leadership

Val Litwin a former B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO

Most Read