September 30, 2016 - 2:30 PM
KELOWNA – A group of shooting enthusiasts who volunteer their time to clean up backcountry target ranges is getting two big boosts to help their cause.
Okanagan Forest Task Force president Kane Blake says thanks to a local law firm and another major company, they will soon be a full-fledged nonprofit organization with significantly more financial backing.
“What this does is it opens a lot of doors for us,” he says. “You’re taken more seriously when you’re a nonprofit as opposed to just a Facebook group.”
In late August, Kelowna resident Jesse Fleming was the first to share a photo he took of a site up Gillard Forest Service Road in Upper Mission. He said he’s found couches, tables, chairs, appliances, broken bottles and car parts.
“I don’t get it,” he said. “Who does this? Most outdoorspeople like to see a pristine forest but they’re leaving their trash behind.”
Within a week a group of gun and hunting enthusiasts organized a dumpster, heavy equipment and around a dozen volunteers. Over the course of one day they managed to return one of the worst spots in Kelowna known as ‘Little Iraq’ back to it’s natural state.
Since then the Okanagan Forest Task Force has formed, a new president has been named and the group is thriving.
Now, according to Blake, the Kelowna law firm Glazier Polley will be donating their time and expertise to turn the Task Force into a non-profit organization.
We can give receipts to bigger companies for tax writeoffs, hold fundraisers and charity events and get set up with our own banking,” he says. “We become a lot more professional and effective as a group.”
The Regional Waste Reduction Office has championed the efforts of the group recently, sending out a media release expressing its support.
“For the second time in a matter of weeks, a dedicated group of volunteer outdoor enthusiasts will be out in the bush this coming weekend cleaning up illegally dumped garbage others less responsible have left behind,” waste reduction facilitator Rae Stewart says in the release.
Blake and the group are planning their second cleanup this Saturday, Oct. 1 and will return once again to the Postill Lake area, the same region where they filled a 40- yard dumpster with garbage.
“Sadly there’s lots more garbage out there,” Blake says.
The Regional Waste Reduction Office will cover the cost of heavy equipment, a 40-yard dumpster, safety gear for the volunteers and tipping fees at the landfill.
“We salute these dedicated volunteers, we could sure use more of them, and we hope they continue to connect and help us stamp out illegal dumping once and for all one day,” Stewart says.
Anyone interested in joining the group, making a donation or learning more can visit the Okanagan Forest Task Force Facebook page.
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