Who doesn’t love a sunny day at the beach? In 2017, downtown Edmonton got the surprise of the summer when a sandy beach appeared, completely by accident, on the shores of the North Saskatchewan River. The beach formed during construction of a bridge along the river, when temporary berms changed the currents of the river and thus “Accidental Beach” was born.
Jaynne Carre, local resident, avid birder and longtime Site Coordinator for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, explains that until Accidental Beach came to town, “beach” activities were uncommon. But Accidental Beach changed that. “The sandy beach enticed many Edmonton residents and visitors throughout the summer months to enjoy a close-up experience with the river,” she says.
While the new beach appeared just in time for summer fun, higher foot traffic also meant more litter building up along the shorelines. This was a concern for many residents, especially Jaynne. So, she and her group did what comes naturally to them: they led a cleanup at Accidental Beach at the end of the season. Jaynne wore her blue-footed booby bird outfit, which drew attention to their amazing cleanup efforts.
“At first glance, we were very impressed with the cleanliness of the beach” Jaynne says, but then she noted that after a closer look they did find lots of litter. “The number one item was cigarette butts, followed by food wrappers and drink containers.” Jaynne credits many of the beachgoers with looking after their waste and taking care of their now beloved temporary shoreline.
And now in the summer of 2018, Accidental Beach is back! Water levels rose during the winter, but by spring, the river level once again exposed the sandy shoreline. In preparation for a busy summer, new waste bins have been put in place nearby and are a great reminder to “pack-in, pack-out” waste or use waste bins to keep litter off shorelines.
This year, Jaynne’s plan for Accidental Beach is to return in September for a final cleanup before the water levels rise. In the meantime, she and her group continue to do their annual shoreline cleanup of their favourite shorelines along the North Saskatchewan River.
Love your local shoreline? You can help keep it clean this summer by leading your own shoreline cleanup with friends and family. Register your cleanup at www.shorelinecleanup.ca, learn how to lead a cleanup of your own by watching the How-To Video.
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited, is one of the largest direct action conservation programs in Canada. A conservation partnership by Ocean Wise and WWF-Canada, the Shoreline Cleanup aims to promote understanding of shoreline litter issues by engaging Canadians to rehabilitate shoreline areas through cleanups. Find out more at www.shorelinecleanup.ca.