A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)

Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

The West Coast’s ‘Locks of Love’ fence has again become a frustrating eyesore as visitors continue to bizarrely cover it with garbage in what’s become a frustrating and harmful ritual.

Visitors have long been stopping at the chain link fence along Hwy. 4 at Wally Creek on their way in or out of the Tofino-Ucluelet region. Many have placed a padlock on the fence as a romantic gesture to commemorate their West Coast experiences.

But a horrifying trend of stringing up trash has also popped up in recent years, exacerbated by the pandemic as disposable face masks have become common ‘mementos’ left behind.

A team from WestCoast WILD Adventures recently did its best to clean the fence as coworkers Anne-Marie Gosselin, Kelly Bedford and Teyah Little tackled the site on May 2.

Gosselin told the Westerly News they had seen a Facebook post showing the fence strewn with trash and were “disgusted” by it, agreeing to leave for work early the next day to remove as much as they could. They arrived at the fence a little before 9 a.m. armed with garbage bags, gloves, scissors and other debris-tackling tools.

“It hit a few nerves. It really got us passionate about what was going on up there. Somebody had to do something and we had time” Gosselin said. “We all stood there for probably about two minutes not even knowing where to start. It was disgusting. We cut off as much as we could.”

“The creativity of what people use to put on that fence is amazing. What people find in their cars or have in their back pockets that they think is OK to leave, credit to them, they’re being creative, but I had no idea how much junk was on that fence,” she said.

She said the area is an important wildlife habitat and the microplastics on the fence could be catastrophic.

“We live and play in that water,” she said. “It’s really important for us that we keep it clean and pristine as much as possible.”

She said the WestCoast WILD Adventures team left signs asking people not to leave litter and plans to keep their eye on the spot.

“We’ll do our best, but I think it’s going to take the entire community,” she said.

Goslin posted photos of the fence and the team’s work to clean it on the company’s Facebook page on May 2 and said she and her crew were surprised and inspired by the response they received.

“When I posted that, I had no idea it would go that far and reach that many people,” she said. “It was great to hear the majority of the community celebrating what we had done. It made us feel good because you never know what reaction you’ll get for taking off peoples’ potential memories.”

Local interest in removing the fence from the area gained momentum last September when Ucluelet locals Dan and Jessica Rutherford spent a day clearing debris off of it and raised their concern about how grotesque it had become.

The area sits outside the jurisdictions of both Tofino and Ucluelet and is the responsibility of B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

A ministry spokesperson told the Westerly News last week that the ministry is aware of the COVID-19 masks and other garbage being hung on the fence and continues to investigate potential signage for the site.

“There is no regular litter pick-up at this location, like there would be at a rest area. The ministry is looking at installing ‘no litter’ signage to remind people not to leave garbage on the fence itself, and in the area. While there is no regular litter removal, the ministry does remove debris once it is over a certain size and in accordance with our provincial maintenance specifications,” the spokesperson wrote via email.

“Enforcement of regulatory signage, or any applicable laws, is the responsibility of the local police agency or RCMP.”

They added that the fence will not be removed.

“Wally Creek, at the Kennedy Love Locks location, can have dangerously heavy water flows, especially when the river is high. The chain link fence was installed as a safety measure to both limit people from accessing the water and to provide a small platform for people to view the river without danger of falling in,” the spokesperson wrote. “The ministry reminds people that littering is prohibited in British Columbia and encourages people to refrain from leaving face masks on the fence.”



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: ‘Locks of Love’ fence near Tofino-Ucluelet consumed with litter

READ MORE: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation says more resources needed to keep Tribal Parks open

READ MORE: Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District looks at enforcement of illegal camping

EnvironmentGarbageTofino,Tourismucluelet

Just Posted

The return of Community Policing will be a welcome addition by residents. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Return of Community Policing in the works

Volunteers being sought and coordinators to be announced soon

Sonia Furstenau, MLA
Proposed Health Professions Act would eliminate barriers, guide regulations

Is your doctor a member of good standing with the BC College… Continue reading

These Douglas fir logs were found poached in April on Stoney Hill in North Cowichan’s forest reserve. (Larry Pynn/sixmountains.ca)
Fines in forest reserve could increase significantly after illegal logging

North Cowichan considering fines of up to $50,000

North Cowichan’s senior environment specialist Dr. Dave Preikshot (pictured) said there’s a wide spectrum of views on carbon credits. (File photo)
Carbon credits expected to be part of discussions around forest reserve

North Cowichan acknowledges wide range of views on issue

Letters to the Editor.
Snipes prank not worth celebrating

Is another form of bullying deserving of a bronze statue?

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ restart plan

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

Most Read