Campers Vandalize Pristine Dinner Rock Campsite

July 18, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

A cherished camping site nestled along the rocky shore of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast was left “ankle-deep” in garbage and broken glass by vandals who also tagged the site’s pristine rock bluffs with spray-paint during a rowdy weekend party, the The Vancouver Sun reported. (Click here to see a photo of the damage.)

Park staff, employed by Sliammon First Nation which runs the site, had to clean up broken glass, garbage, spent shell casings and human waste after a group of about 20 people believed to be from Vancouver visited the campsite known as Dinner Rock during the Canada Day long weekend.

Staff were able to gather most of the trash, but have no idea how to remove several graffiti tags from the rock bluffs below the site.

They will be picking up glass for a long time to come, said Tyler Peters, who works for the band maintaining the camp located about 12 miles north of Powell River.

“It’s really sad that it happened to such a beautiful place,” Peters said.

Several “East Van” crosses mar the rocks, he said. One of the tags is nearly 1.5 meters (five feet) high, he said. In other places, “Collingwood” and what appeared to be people’s nicknames were scrawled across the rocks.

Max Wilkie and his girlfriend, Sandra Miller, of North Vancouver arrived to find their favourite camping spot ruined on July 3, after the destructive group had departed.

There were “clearly signs of a massive party,” Wilkie said, adding the area was “ankle deep” in debris.

He said it looked like someone dumped a load of broken glass all around the camp and throughout the 900-foot-long bluffs, which “were completely covered in spray-paint.”

Peters said he was working at the camp periodically throughout the weekend, and took the name and licence plate number of one of the suspected vandals as part of the routine check-in on the Friday.

Dinner Rock is located on Sliammon traditional territory, Peters said.

He said the Ministry of Forests subsidizes the band to maintain and operate the site.

Because of those payments, visitors can camp for free at the location perched above the bluffs on the Malaspina Strait.

During the weekend, most of Dinner Rock’s 15 sites were full, Peters said.

Other campers told him the group had been “respectful” on Friday night, but “went crazy” the next night, drinking, partying and firing off .22-caliber guns.

After they discovered the destruction, Peters and his co-worker cordoned off the site to prevent people from getting cut by the broken glass and called the forestry service.

The ministry received the report on July 4 and has since handed the matter over to the RCMP, said Vivian Thomas, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

“It’s very disturbing for our community,” said Cpl. Joe Holmes of the Powell River RCMP.

“We’re investigating,” he said, adding it’s possible that mischief charges could eventually be laid.


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