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River of Golden Dreams added to Great Lake Clean Up

Annual volunteer event scheduled for July 10



The Great Lake Clean Up, the annual effort to keep five of Whistler's most popular lakes in pristine condition, will add another beloved local waterway to the mix next month.

After some recent concerns over littering, event organizer Roger McCarthy decided volunteers would also tackle the River of Golden Dreams at the fourth annual Great Lake Clean Up on July 10.

"I paddled up the River of Golden Dreams about six weeks ago now, and there was a lot of stuff in there," McCarthy said. Tour company Backroads Whistler organized a volunteer clean-up of the river on June 15 that was well attended, but McCarthy believes "there's probably still a bunch of (trash) we can clean up."

Now in its fourth year, the former councillor estimated volunteers have pulled "over a ton" of trash from Whistler's lakes over the years.

"It's made a huge difference," he said. "The biggest impact is that we're taking more stuff out than is going in and people are more conscious of it, so we're having a net benefit impact, which is a good thing considering how much (Whistler's lakes) get used."

The clean-up has uncovered some unusual items in the past, like the seat of a vintage car. This year, McCarthy has his sights on another sunken treasure.

"One evening I was out (on Alta Lake) on a very clear night and I saw a fiberglass boat standing on its end," he said. "We'll see if we can't get the divers to pick that up."

Alta Lake typically needs the most attention, McCarthy said, but volunteers are also needed to help out at Green Lake, Nita Lake, Alpha Lake and Lost Lake. Volunteers will be treated to a free barbecue at Lakeside Park courtesy of Nesters Market.

"It's a real enjoyable day. I just like being out there. And it gives you a purpose," said McCarthy. "We owe it to the environment to see if we can make a difference instead of just being a negative impact."

Anyone interested in helping out is asked to meet at Lakeside Park at 9 a.m. on July 10.