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PHOTOS: Surrey Trekkers go ‘plogging’ at park where litter is a problem

A man jogs by Surrey Trekkers club members picking up trash at Bear Creek Park in Surrey on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Litter can be a big problem in Surrey parks. Just ask the Surrey Trekkers, a local walking club.

“People need to be reminded to put trash in the garbage cans,” confirmed Sandi Walton, a Trekker since 1999.

On Thursday (April 18), a few ahead of Earth Day, Walton and others went “plogging” at Bear Creek Park, near the picnic tables, north of the new stadium.

“They have birthday parties here and pop balloons and we pick up all these little pieces,” Walton said with a shrug.

“And the wedding stuff, all the silver bits, confetti, it was horrible last year,” added Betty Agren, fellow Trekker.

“The animals eat that, the birds, and it’s not good, people don’t realize that,” Walton added.

First coined in Sweden, “plogging” means picking up litter while jogging, and walkers do it too.

Wearing customary red shirts and jackets, the Trekkers have made litter cleanup an annual tradition at Bear Creek Park.

“It’s a great way to give back to our community,” said Walton, club president. “We usually pick up garbage for an hour or so.”

Surrey Trekkers club members Dennis Hutton, left, and Sandi Walton at Bear Creek Park on Thursday, April 18, 2024. Hutton, a retired school teacher, walks close to 1,200 kilometres a year, mostly in Surrey parks. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey Trekkers pose for a group photo at Bear Creek Park on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Surrey Trekkers launched 33 years ago, in 1991. Today, close to 150 avid walkers are members of the “volkssport” club.

“I heard about it from a friend I worked with, and she’s now deceased,” Walton recalled. “We started walking on the tracks in Surrey, at Holy Cross and here (Bear Creek), and then got onto the trails. That’s when we heard about the walking club. But you know, Surrey Trekers don’t just walk in Surrey, we’re in New West, Coquitlam, right up the Valley.”

Wearing red glasses, Agren has been a Trekker since 1995. Like Walton, she’s now 78.

“It’s just become a way of life,” Agren said. “You gotta get up in the morning, eat and go for a walk, and it just makes you feel good. If I stay home and don’t go walking, the rest of the day is gone.”

She lives in the Guildford area and often walks at Green Timbers Urban Forest Park.

“That’s very close to our heart,” Agren said. “When I pass on to the other world, I’m going to be in Green Timbers, I want everything to be scattered there. Don’t tell the city, right?”

Brenda Dudfield, a member of Surrey Trekkers since 1992, at Bear Creek Park in Surrey on April 18, 2024. “I developed spinal stenosis last year so I can’t walk very far anymore, but I want to support them here,” Dudfield said. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Patches on Brenda Dudfield’s jacket show some of the walks she’s done around the world. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Agren was a medical office assistant for 40 years, and Walton managed an orthodontic office.

“The City of Surrey provides lots of parks that we all use, so why not give back a little and clean them up? Hopefully we can encourage other people to do the same,” Agren said.

The Trekkers’ motto is fun, fitness, friendship and food.

“We do like to eat post-walk,” Walton noted. “Green Timbers Pub is where we’re going after this, so we support the local businesses. We keep the walk boxes with maps at coffee shops, and we see the Lower Mainland. We’re so lucky to have all these parks to walk, especially here in Surrey.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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