Shuswap

Determining how many trees can be logged

There is an important public consultation underway about our region’s forests that few people know about and even fewer people will participate in and for those that do, it is unlikely their input will make any difference to the decision. At stake is the amount of timber that forest companies will be able to log over the next ten years in the Okanagan Timber Supply Area (TSA), which includes most of the Shuswap watershed. Continue reading

Understanding the Secwepemc world – a book review

A better understanding of Indigenous peoples is now possible, thanks to the recent publication of Secwepemc People, Land and Laws by Marianne Ignace and Chief Ronald E. Ignace, with contributions from archeologist Mike Rousseau, ethnobotanist Nancy Turner and geographer Ken Favrholdt.  Ancient stories, archeological evidence, archival records, ethnographic studies, linguistic research and first-hand knowledge have been masterfully woven together to create this comprehensive examination of the Secwepemc peoples’ ancient connection to the land and the injustices they have endured for over 200 years.

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Everything Shuswap featured in popular online magazine

The Tyee is an independent online magazine that has won many journalism awards for its lively, informative news and views. In mid-December, it published a feature about my book Everything Shuswap, with an interview and excerpts from chapter four. Tyee editor, Barry Link, prefaced the interview by noting, “It is colourful and accessible and reveals the Shuswap has much of what Tyee readers adore: clean lakes, green forests, farmers markets and folk music.” Below are some excerpts from the interview.

[Read the entire feature here: A Love Letter to the Shuswap]
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The close-knit community of Cherryville

Cherryville Community Hall

Nestled beneath the foothills of the Monashee Mountains in the southeast corner of the Shuswap is the close-knit, rural community of Cherryville, a hub for adventure tourism. With a population of just 1,010 residents and only two stores, the community relies upon its strength of cooperation and sharing, given its isolation and distance from major population centres.

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The benefits of outdoor learning

The initiative to re-open the South Canoe School as an outdoor learning school is attracting significant support from parents and the local community, with over 110 “intent to register” forms completed. It is an opportune time, as Salmon Arm schools are bursting at the seams with students due to increased enrollment and the court decision mandating smaller class sizes. Interest in outdoor learning is skyrocketing, due in part to technological and social changes that have resulted in a growing disconnect between young people and the natural world.

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Hullcar aquifer review good news for Shuswap Lake


Spraying manure in Hullcar, photo by Alan Price

One of the first announcements from the new government in Victoria is that there will be a review of the Hullcar aquifer, which has been contaminated by elevated levels of nitrates likely from agricultural wastes. A significant goal for the review is to provide recommendations to improve regulations for agricultural practices province-wide in order to better safeguard drinking water quality. This process should thus assist local efforts to protect Shuswap and Mara Lake water quality.

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North Shuswap home to northernmost winery

 Celista Estate Winery vineyard

The North Shuswap is home to the northernmost winery in North America thanks in part to its ideal microclimate and global warming. A visit to the Celista Estate Winery can be mesmerizing, as the scenic view of the vineyard with the lake in the background is stunning, the mellow atmosphere and beautiful landscaping is relaxing and the wine is tasty. If you take the tour, you will be captivated by owner Jake Ootes’s story of how he and his wife moved here from Yellowknife to retire on 160 acres of paradise and inadvertently started a winery. Continue reading

The Everything Shuswap Backstory

Sometimes it takes the prying questions of a reporter to help understand better one’s own motivations for taking on an enormous task. When a CBC producer asked why I decided to write Everything Shuswap, my first response was to explain the connection between environmental protection and improving public awareness of their bioregion. However, after more reflection, the deeper reason for the dedication to the project stems from my desire to contribute to societal wellbeing.

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Bioregionalism key to wellness

Celista Farmers Market

This column marks another milestone; it is the 300th since I began writing these articles in 2005. The goal was to produce material for the first book about the Shuswap. That objective has finally been achieved and the book, Everything Shuswap is back from the printer and will be released at the May 17th book launch at Nexus in the First United Church in Salmon Arm. It will go on sale the following day at Askews Foods, Enderby IGA, the Salmon Arm Observer office, PharmaChoice Scotch Creek and the Blind Bay Village Market with all proceeds going to support outdoor learning in the Shuswap.

Recently, I was asked to give a presentation for a mini-Ted talk event on the theme of wellness hosted by the leadership class at Salmon Arm Secondary. I chose to speak about how bioregionalism is key to wellness.
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Arthur Manuel’s Legacy

Arthur Manuel addresses a group of activists in 2014

The Shuswap lost a true community leader and a powerful, effective advocate for Indigenous rights and title last month, when Arthur Manuel passed away at the age of 66. Thankfully, he wrote two books that provide a better understanding of the over two centuries of Canadian injustice that First Nations have had to endure and what actions are needed to rightfully address the problems.
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