A picnic table is hacked up. One had been tossed into the forest. Some are missing altogether.
This was the scene at Marble River Campground after the last weekend in May. The 16-spot recreation site on the north Island is owned by Western Forest Products (WFP) and managed by B.C. Recreation Sites and Trails (RST).
A notice went up on the RST website, saying “the site will remain closed until further notice.”
By Wednesday, June 3, the site was tidy, but damage was still visible. Nearly every picnic table had been damaged, some to the point of being unusable. Some were gone altogether, and one was still upside-down in the forest. It was obvious a large campfire had been built far beyond the iron confines of a camp grate.
Several trees were cut down, although this is part of danger tree removal done by WFP.
The user-maintained campground on the Port Alice Road has a boat launch, day use area and a trailhead that leads into the Marble River Provincial Park to the west.
RST expects to have repairs completed by late June.
Recreation Officer Graham Cameron manages the Discovery Coast region — six million hectares of the north Island, some 400 sites and roughly 1,000 kilometres of trail — with a budget he says isn’t large enough to buy a house. He’s frustrated that vandalism forces him to reallocate that small budget to repairs, when he could be investing it to improve the site for the users.
Marble River gets vandalized every year — including drivers doing donuts in the gravel parking lot and damage to picnic tables — but this year is the worst he’s seen. Cameron had planned to install a common fire pit and picnic shelters in the day area, which gets the most use at Marble River.
“With the same type of damage every year, it leads us to believe it could be the same folks doing it. I don’t want to point fingers, but it seems like it could be people who live in the area doing this.”
RST relies on the public to report wrongdoing. Unlike BC Parks, RST sites mostly do not have wardens on site. Suspicious activity can be reported to the RAPP line: 1-877-952-RAPP (7277).
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