Volunteer hauls his last tire from Shuswap Lake
It’s 324 tires and counting.
That was the total Friday as Salmon Arm resident Kenneth Stengler pulled his last tire out of the thick mud of the Shuswap Lake foreshore.
Determined that visitors to the community be spared the sight of tires and garbage on the wharf and along the foreshore trails, Stengler began a clean-up campaign last winter.
He co-ordinated a team from the Shuswap Trail Alliance and removed the unsightly tires with the help of local volunteers, the City of Salmon Arm and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District – from about 500 metres west of Peter Jannink Park to 1.5 kilometres north of Raven subdivision.
But while he offers sincere thanks to those who have helped him in his clean-up efforts, the avid environmentalist says he’s picked up his last tire.
“I have, for years, suffered back and sciatica issues and this task absolutely beats me up,” he says. “It’s brutal, heavy work and there was just so much of it. I am done.”
Stengler got stuck in the mud – literally – last Friday, near one of the viewing platforms on the foreshore trail.
He needed a wakeboard he found along the mud flats to kneel on while he pulled his boots out of the mud.
And it was take a step, kneel on the board, haul his boots out of the muck, put them on, take a step and repeat – a 20-metre trip to solid ground that took him about 15 minutes.
Stengler says he’s very appreciative of the many people who stopped by to thank him for helping the environment, the lake and the city.
“My response is, ‘yes it’s been nice for me and the partners to do our small part in healing the earth,’” he says, pointing out there will be more tires to remove.
“A lot of this has come from past breakwaters and boat docks and some of these tires are very old and have been there for years.”
Stengler says that while attitudes to the environment have changed dramatically, there are still those who throw their garbage away wherever they are.
“It’s probably about 10 per cent,” he says, asking trail users to take small bags with them in order to pick up small garbage items for disposal.
“The 90 per cent of the rest of us, we really do have a concern with where we live… It is not beneath us to pick up garbage, it is a higher energy to pick up garbage to help enjoy our own environment.”