Vernon paddleboarder Aaron Nasipayko brought out this haul from a shoreline cleanup on Okanagan Lake in Carrs Landing. (Aaron Nasipayko - photo)

Vernon paddleboarder expands lake clean-up goal

Aaron Nasipayko starts cleaning Okanagan Lake shorelines and is hoping for help with a lofty goal

Long thought to mean “Lake of Many Colours,” though historians say there’s no evidence to support it, Vernon standup paddleboarder Aaron Nasipayko has a different reason to call Kalamalka Lake by that name.

Nasipayko set out earlier this year to clean the shorelines of Kal Lake one paddle at a time and he is posting his journey on Facebook and Instagram (@aaron_nasipayko). His latest entry includes a colourful collage of crap he’s pulled from the lake’s shoreline.

There’s a blue plastic pail. Green bag and bottles. Purple/pink plastic flower. Red cans. White sandals. Clear plastic bottles. And a black VCR.

“This image hits me hard,” said Nasipayko, who is slightly more than halfway done his goal of the entire Kal Lake shoreline.

RELATED: Vernon paddleboarder cleaning up Kalamalka Lake

He presented his journey to more than 370 kids at Hillview Elementary and, to them, he made a commitment to continue his efforts into Okanagan Lake – he even wrote the commitment on his paddleboard as a reminder to himself – and put his board into Okanagan Lake last weekend.

Nasipayko collected 16 cans and three bags of garbage around the Pixton Road area in Carrs Landing in Lake Country.

“I completed the first 2.7 kilometres of Okanagan Lake shoreline,” he wrote. “Okanagan Lake has 270 kilometres of shoreline so this was the first one per cent, and I think it’s the most important one per cent because it’s a start.”

Nasipayko said he’s not going to be able to complete or accomplish all of Okanagan Lake on his own, and acknowledged the many people that have reached out to help.

READ ALSO: Paddleboarder completes Okanagan Lake crossing fundraiser

“This will be a great opportunity for everyone to contribute as this project could stretch over 2019, 2020 and possibly 2021,” he said. “Just think that if only 50 people completed four kilometres of shoreline how feasible this actually is, and would only take someone a couple of hours, if that. That would be 200 kilometres of shoreline.”

Now is the perfect time to help out, he said, as the lake level is low and the “leaves aren’t hiding everything.”

“I realize this is my goal and maybe not yours but collectively it should be important to all of us,” said Nasipayko. “If not now, when?”

If you do help out, Nasipayko asks that you document the shoreline and what you collected in terms of bottles and total bags of garbage, and send him a detailed map of the area you completed. He’ll calculate the distance covered and add it to a master map.

“Fortunately most of the shoreline is accessible via roads and it is evident that where people live on the lake that there is pride of ownership,” he said. “The problems are where no one resides.”

From the first haul out of Okanagan Lake, Nasipayko said it’s in worse shape than Kal Lake.

“Discouraging is the only way to describe it,” he said.

“As you can see from the first haul, it’s daunting and I’m afraid that Okanagan is in worse shape than Kalamalka Lake. This was the shoreline between Pixton Road and the Paddle place. Discouraging is the only way to describe it.”

Kalamalka Lake will remain the focus for Nasipayko until its completion.

“The remaining shoreline left will go quickly when I have time as it’s very accessible,” he said.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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Nasipayko created this collage of the items he’s removed from Kal Lake’s shores in 2019. (Aaron Nasipayko - photo)

Nasipayko presented to more than 370 students at Vernon’s Hillview Elementary and wrote his commitment to continue cleaning the lakes on his paddleboard. (Aaron Nasipayko - photo)

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