The Haig-Brown Legacy

There is an effort underway to re-name Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park with a Secwepemc name. While it may be considered appropriate to recognize local First Nation’s over 9,000 years of life here with a name change, it would also be disrespectful to reject the contributions of one of BC’s most respected conservationists whose efforts led directly to the creation of the park. Although Haig-Brown passed away in 1976, his legacy carries on through the work of the Institute named for him that is based out of his well preserved home in Campbell River.

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The story behind the photo

Blind Bay Hall Costume New Years Party, 1920

Once Everything Shuswap is off to the printers, one of my next projects will be to prepare an educational guide to the book for use in the schools. For every page there will be suggestions for further research, study questions, links to more information and ideas for projects. Each of the hundreds of photos in the book can inspire the reader to ponder about the image, its significance, its history and its backstory, as well as to compare it with other locations or situations.

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Gifts that keep on giving

Kathi Cooperman surveys the west Shuswap from the Blind Bay Lookout

As we approach the solstice and the holiday season, it is appropriate to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in the Shuswap. It is a gift that keeps on giving, to live here, surrounded by clean air, clean water, green trees, and friendly neighbours. Plus we have four seasons to enjoy a wide diversity of recreational pursuits from golfing, swimming and boating to hiking, biking, skiing and snowshoeing.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.
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