An area of forest southwest of Saskatoon has been described as the city’s best kept secret, but the findings from mass community clean-ups have painted another picture.

“I was saddened, sick to my stomach, and then I got really, really mad,” said Julia Adamson.

Julia Anderson is one of many environmental activists outraged with illegal dumping at Richard St. Barbe Baker afforestation area near Montgomery neighbourhood on the outskirts of Saskatoon.

Visitors to the park can see couches, fridges, used condoms and other debris strewn about the area.

Adamson said she often takes part in clean-up efforts across the city and said it saddens her to see beautiful land – dedicated to a prominent man – abused and trashed.

Richard St. Barbe Baker was one of the first 100 students enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan. He’s remembered as an English forester and an environmentalist.

For Adamson, illegal dumping isn’t the most disturbing finding.

In 2016 he learned from a former councillor and the public health nurse that a sex trade had been in the area, he said.

The Saskatoon Police Service could not confirm that the area is frequented by sex trade workers and a spokesperson said this topic was news to its vice unit.

St. Barbe, who died at age 92, was buried in Saskatoon in 1982.

Paul Hanley, a freelance writer, writing a book on Baker’s legacy says he shares in the outrage.

“We have this beautiful place dedicated to him and yet here it is being trashed. People are dumping garbage and construction waste,” said Hanley.

Both Hanley and Adamson said one solution to curbing the dumping is for the City to build a barricade a the park’s entrance.

“Because there’s no barricade to motorized vehicle entrance and because of the proximity to the City of Saskatoon landfill on Valley Road, it does make for an unfortunate way for people to dump their trash,” said Adamson.

Adamson said the area currently belongs to the land titles branch, which means there is no money or staff assigned to the space.

A City spokesperson said it’s working with the RM of Corman Park and are hoping to have vehicle barriers in place by the fall.