Whether you call it a community service or an environmental crusade, those who participated in cleaning up several hundred feet of Biddeson Creek here last Saturday agreed it was the right thing to do.
The Baha’i community of Fort Frances organized the clean-up project as part of Earth Day celebrations. Twelve people, ranging in age from 13 to 77, pitched in, pulling what seemed to be decades of junk from the creek.
“We wanted to do a community service,” noted Diane Cherry. “The neighbours around were invited to help.”
“People used to use these as their own dumps,” added Michael DeGagne, whose home on Colonization Road West sits at the top of a hill above the creek.
Rusty cans, broken glass, wire, and plastic were just some of the items found in abundance at the bottom of the creek—things one might expect to find since they’re easily discarded..
But the creek clean-up crew found a few more eccentric items, such as a doll carriage, an old-fashioned washing machine, lightning rods, and a stove element.
Several items had been in the water so long that identifying them almost became a guessing game for those picking up the trash.
“I think that’s a boiler,” DeGagne said, pointing to a large barrel-like structure in the middle of the junk heap.
Another object of questionable origin pulled from the creek looks to be either the underside of a wagon or an old automobile, with a few wooden spokes still left in what remained of the wheel hub.
“Some of the stuff was just sticking out of the water,” DeGagne said. “There were also 13 bags of actual garbage [we collected].”
“My dad said if it took as much energy to get it down there as it did to get it up here, it wouldn’t have gotten down there in the first place,” noted Cherry.
For now, the junk is sitting behind DeGagne’s shed. He said he may wait until the high school does its annual spring clean-up next month to get some help hauling it off to the landfill.
But for now, DeGagne is enjoying the new view he has of Biddeson Creek. And he hopes it will stay that way.
“When we first moved here in ’88, there were suckers spawning in there,” he said, noting he hasn’t seen fish in the creek for the past several years.
“We just wanted to see what we could do to make it look better and get it going again,” he remarked.