The transformative, gateway community of Sicamous

Sicamous from the hang gliding ramp lookout. Photo by Ian Clay

At the eastern gateway to the Shuswap is the municipality of Sicamous, a transformative community that is poised to re-invent itself again. Its unusual name is a derivation of the Secwepemc word “Shick-a-mows” meaning  “squeezed in the middle.” The early surveyor and explorer Walter Moberly first used the written word on his 1866 map of the region to describe the narrows between Shuswap and Mara Lakes.
Continue reading

Shuswap’s first trail guides


Long before the Trail Alliance was even a glimmer of an idea, seven outdoor enthusiasts produced the first trail guide for the Shuswap region. In 1973, this group of like-minded friends who enjoyed exploring the backcountry obtained a federal Opportunity for Youth grant to publish a thin book with maps, photos and descriptions of local trails as well as canoe and cycle routes.
Continue reading

Malakwa – Gateway to mountain adventure

Swinging Bridge over the Eagle River

Malakwa is a resourceful community that when faced with challenges, finds a way to continue thriving. Most of us speed by the tiny hamlet of 500 people on the four-lane freeway unaware of its virtues, its possibilities and its rich history. Despite Malakwa’s shuttered sawmill, burnt-out truck stop, public school closure and decrepit community centre, the Community Centre Association has persevered to provide services and help maintain a strong community spirit.

Continue reading

Return to Wright Lake

Wright Lake, circa 1995 Photo by Myron Kozak

Back in the early 1990s, the diminutive Wright Lake was at the centre of the controversy surrounding the effort to protect the Anstey Arm, Hunakwa Lake area as a provincial park. The logging company, Federated Co-op, had plans to log there and build a road nearby to access more timber on the peninsula. Shuswap Environmental Action Society (SEAS) worked hard to raise public support for protection by slashing a trail, sponsoring ecological inventories and making presentations to both the government and local groups.
Continue reading

North Fork Wild dream now a reality

One of many new walkways in the park

Peter Jennings would be extremely pleased with the progress made towards his vision of North Fork Wild. The Shuswap is a richer place thanks to Peter’s generosity and foresight, as he donated his 21 hectares to the CSRD in 2012 for a park. The network of trails constructed by Peter and his close friend Gerald King have been vastly improved and are already being well used by the public and school groups.

Continue reading

Living the dream in Seymour Arm

Bughouse Bay & Seymour Arm with Hunakwa Lake in the distance, circa 1995 Photo by Myron Kozak

If any of the 80 full-time residents of the Shuswap’s most remote community of Seymour Arm were asked why they choose to live there, the answer would likely be because they appreciate the peace and quiet. And it was certainly peaceful on September 12th when I drove there to interview a few locals, take some photos and enjoy a hike. Serenity can be elusive however during the summer, when most of the 500 homes and summer cabins are full, campgrounds are packed and boats of all sizes and shapes fill the bay.
Continue reading

Bear time in the Shuswap

As the fruit ripens in the fall and the berries in the backcountry dry up, black bears become a regular sight in our backyards. Over the past 47 years of living in the woods above Shuswap Lake, I have had many encounters, including often chasing them out of our plum and apple trees. Only one bear ended up getting shot after it attacked a dog, and it was very old, undernourished and quite mean.
Continue reading

Ernie Philip – Shuswap’s living legend

His smile is infectious, his spirit boundless, and he offers warmth and friendship to everyone he meets. Legendary dancer, Ernie Philip was born in Tappen in 1930, lived on the coast and returned home in 1989, where he continues to live today. Over his lifetime, he has earned countless awards, danced in countries around the world, worked in film and TV, and inspired many First Nation youth to take more pride in their ancient culture.
Continue reading

Many opportunities for camping in the Shuswap

Visit the Sites and Trails website to find a camping site or trail to visit

One need not despair over the lack of camping spaces in BC Provincial Parks, because there are over 40 recreations sites in the Shuswap. And, as a bonus, these sites provide more of a wilderness-like experience than the parks. You can locate these campgrounds using either a map book or the website, sitesandtrailsbc. As well, there are a number of smaller, lesser-known parks that do not fill up with pre-bookings.

Continue reading

An art show that is not to be missed

“Lily pad haven” Humamilt Lake photo by Jim Cooperman

The light bulbs were shining brightly above their heads three years ago when Trail Alliance Director Phil McIntyre-Paul and Salmon Arm Art Gallery Director Tracey Kutschker jointly conceived their collaborative project to meld experiencing Shuswap trails with art and photography. The result, an exciting and unique show, is open for the summer and deserves to be seen by everyone. Prepare to be inspired, as the paintings, the photos and the stories will both engage you and encourage you to experience these remarkable areas yourself.

Phil McIntyre-Paul

Continue reading