RDEK Area B director Heath Slee is pictured at a popular Koocanusa camping spot beside the reservoir on Monday

RDEK Area B director Heath Slee is pictured at a popular Koocanusa camping spot beside the reservoir on Monday

‘Wreck-reation’ leaves appalling mess at Koocanusa

Long weekend campers leave behind trash, toilet paper, abandoned camping gear on East Kootenay Crown land.

South Country residents are left with a horrible cleanup this week after long weekend campers left behind a pile of garbage on Crown land near Koocanusa.

Area B director Heath Slee said he visited a popular camping spot beside the reservoir on Monday, May 19 and found a scene that he called a sign of “wreck-reation on Koocanusa”.

“For a moment I thought I was standing in the middle of (the) landfill – the only difference being, there was no equipment in place to bury the litter,” Slee said.

Victoria Day weekend signals the start of summer camping at Koocanusa, when people from Alberta and elsewhere in the Kootenays flock to the reservoir.

South Country residents have long complained about the condition of Crown land around the reservoir after campers have packed up and left. But this time, it’s much worse.

“I was appalled at the level of disregard for the landscape, and disrespect for local residents,” said Slee.

The site just north of Kikomun bridge was littered with garbage, used toilet paper, and abandoned camping equipment. Ash from campfires littered the ground, and several trees were destroyed without being used for fuel.

Slee was so horrified that he sent an email to fellow Regional District of East Kootenay elected officials to ask them to join him at a clean-up of the site on Tuesday, May 20.

“This would be a great opportunity for folks to see firsthand, what local residents in the area are having to deal with and clean up during the summer months.

“Sadly, it’s a poor reflection on our neighbours to the east.”

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