Friday the 13th is typically known for bringing bad luck – but last Friday brought some very good fortune to an often-overlooked area just outside Grande Prairie. Often missed by the annual ‘Dunes Cleanup’ event due to its out of the way location, this area is used by gun enthusiasts as an unofficial shooting range, and accumulates lots of other garbage – even abandoned, burned-out vehicles.
But the area’s piles of trash were no match for volunteers from the TAQA North energy company’s office in Grande Prairie. The crew spent a total of seven hours cleaning up the area last Friday, armed with quads, trailers, and bins – and when it was all over, they had removed almost 7 tonnes of trash.
The day wouldn’t have been possible without the energy and enthusiasm of the group – and the generosity of others in the community. County Disposal delivered large garbage bins and picked them up free of charge, while Aquatera donated disposal of the trash. The spirit was contagious – a gentleman who arrived around midday for some target practice ended up staying and helping clean up instead. This kind of dedication is inspiring – and we continue to see it all across Alberta. These kinds of events confirm what we already know: that those who live in an area and use it for recreation often care about it the most.
Unfortunately, the hard work of a few people isn’t always enough to make up for the irresponsible choices of others. Dumping is such a recurring problem in this area that we’re considering restricting public access to it – and we’re relying on Albertans to make sure that isn’t necessary. Our public lands are a shared resource and a shared responsibility – use areas like this one responsibly and encourage others to do the same.