“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.
It appears as if the earth is entering a new phase of global warming, as temperature records are continuously being broken and impacts are increasing, including storms, floods, droughts and fires. In the Shuswap, spring arrived very early and many seasonal events are two to three weeks ahead, including the lake level, the emergence of natural vegetation and the ripening of fruits and vegetables. Another climate change impact not often considered is the melting of local glaciers.
Tania Willard on the cover of Spirit magazine
Sometimes it takes a trip to Vancouver to learn something new about where you live. One of the goals of our recent visit to the big city was to attend a show of historical photos at Presentation House Gallery in North Vancouver. In addition to collecting art including many of Charles Collings’ watercolours, Uno Langmann had over the years amassed a remarkable collection of original photographs from British Columbia and he recently donated all 18,000 of them to the UBC Library. We chose to view many of these prints on the evening he gave a talk about the collection.
The Collings Estate, August, 2010
With the legendary Collings Tudor estate in Seymour Arm now for sale, it is a good time to examine more closely the work of the once very famous artist who began living there in 1910. On a recent trip to Vancouver, we visited the Uno Langmann Gallery to view a collection of Charles John Collings’ works and speak with Uno, a renowned art collector and an authority on the artist.
Cover of brochure
Seymour Arm holds the unique distinction of being the only community in the Shuswap and perhaps the entire province that became a ghost town twice. While its gold rush era history, when it went from boom to bust in less than a year, is legendary its reincarnation as a fruit growing centre is less well known. In 1908, Seymour Arm Fruit Lands Limited was established with its head office in Vancouver after purchasing 6,500 acres. The company began a marketing program to sell 5-acre lots to potential settlers primarily coming from England.
Frank Bugala addresses the workshop group, photo by Fred Bird
Every year a group of key Shuswap “movers and shakers” come together under the auspices of the group Plan B:E to discuss sustainable options for improving the local economy by linking business, artistic and environmental values. This year the third “Respect Lives Here” workshop was held at the Adams Lake Indian Band’s Pierre’s Point Centre and was hosted by Band Chief Robin Billy.
The 2010 Adams River Salmon Run had the largest return in nearly 100 years
The Fraser Basin Council recently released a comprehensive report that analyzes the condition of the local salmon habitat management area. Given that the Shuswap Lakes region is considered to be the “most socially, economically and ecologically important” large aquatic ecosystem in the province, high quality resource management should be required, yet the report indicates that problems abound.
Manure sprayer at Hullcar, photo by Al Price
There are significant parallels between the groundwater contamination crisis in nearby Hullcar and the decline in Shuswap Lake water quality due to increasing amounts of phosphorus. Both problems stem from how large, industrial dairy farms deal with manure, which is commonly stored in sewage lagoons and then sprayed on fields. In Hullcar the excess nitrates are seeping into the groundwater, while in the Shuswap and Salmon River valleys, the excess phosphorus is leaching into the rivers and lakes.
photo courtesy of American Museum of Natural History
Five of the Secwepemc photos in my upcoming book, Everything Shuswap, were taken by one of Canada’s earliest archaeologists, Harlan Ingersoll Smith. The images show an old pit house, a woman scraping a hide, a summer dwelling and a woman with a digging stick. These files were purchased from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, as they are part of the collection from Jessup North Pacific Expedition that the Museum sponsored from 1897 until 1902.
Passenger train heading to Notch Hill, Credit – CPR Archives
Just prior to completing the final revisions and additions to the last chapter of Everything Shuswap about the history of settlement, I rediscovered some material about the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) through the Shuswap in my history file cabinet. These papers were obtained during a visit to the CPR archives in Montreal back in 1988, when my focus was on local history. The information was significant enough to warrant including some excerpts to the chapter.