Campers have left less trash in Ghost random camping areas, but there's enough that it could attract bears and other predators.

The annual cleanup by volunteers of both the Ghost Watershed Alliance Society (GWAS) and Calgary ATV Riders (CARA) was held on June 22 and saw a 11.5-yd. dumpster filled with trash to truck out of the popular destination for random camping. Last year, it was a 21.0-yd. dumpster.

binA 115-yd. dumpster was filled during the cleanup. (photo/CARA)

"Around the campsites in general, it's gotten better, but there's still the odd bad apple that leaves stuff around," says Marina Krainer, GWAS executive director.

Most concerning was the household waste that had to be cleaned up.

"It was just a couple of sites, but that could have been a real attraction for predators, especially for bears getting into the garbage, and of course, that's not what we want. It endangers other campers and it's not good for the wildlife, either."

She says the spring cleanups remain important. 

"They are very important to keep the campers' safe and to set the stage. If you come to an area that is clean, I think it's much more likely that whoever comes into the site will keep it clean as well, than if it looks like a dump already when they arrive."


She says target shooting debris is a bigger issue, and they clean up as much as they can.

"We have found accumulations of lead in the ground in some areas that are popular for target shooting, so it's starting to show."

They may hold a second cleanup in the fall, but with a hectic schedule of watershed tours, a water monitoring program and bioengineering, they may not have enough manpower.

The next Walk of the Watershed is on July 13. It's free to attend but pre-registration is required. You can get more details and register here.