New strategies are needed to recover from the pandemic

Wildflight Farm near Mara on the Shuswap River

The pandemic has been a massive shock to humanity and as a result, there may never be a return to the same lifestyle we have always deemed to be normal. In fact, the disease has actually exposed all the flaws in our society and thus, it could become a catalyst for the changes needed to improve our lives. While most of the key decisions are made in Ottawa and Victoria, there are ways that regions, like the Shuswap, can change for the better.

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In search of the Shuswap’s most significant trees

Local conservationists join former Sierra Club executive director Vicky Husband on a visit to the Seymour Giant, 1996

Retired Fernie city engineer and author Terry Nelson is on the hunt for British Columbia’s southern interior’s exceptional trees for an upcoming book on the topic. His first book, a Fernie and area trail guide and natural plant compendium was a big success, and now Terry is keen to provide, data, photos and background information about the significant trees found in and near each community, including celebrated “urban trees.” Our challenge is to determine which Shuswap area trees deserve to be included in the book and why these trees should be deemed significant.

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SAS grads making a difference in our complicated world

University of Arizona biology professor Michael Worobey and Neuroscientist and Mobio Interactive CEO Bechara Saab

Out of the thousands of graduates from Salmon Arm Secondary, a few stand out because of their outstanding contributions that are helping make the world a better place. Biology professor Michael Worobey, who graduated in 1991, credits his “absolutely first rate” educational experiences in Salmon Arm that gave him the foundation he needed to achieve success in academia.

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Nordic skiing thrives in the Shuswap thanks to active clubs

Skmana Lake, photo courtesy of the Skmana Ski and Snowshoe Club

In the hills to the north above Chase is Skmana Lake, which has a rich history, beginning with its likely use by the Secwepemc people for hunting, fishing and traditional food gathering. According to local elders, the word Skmana is difficult to define as it could refer to the shape of a head or shoulder, or the base of a hill and it has an underlining meaning as a sacred place. The Adams River Lumber Company diverted the creek in the early 1900s and dammed the lake to use as a holding pond for logs that were sluiced down a massive flume to the Adams River below, then boomed and towed down the lakes to the mill in Chase.

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It’s the end of the world as we know it


These two graphs describe the global situation

The famous 1987 song by REM foretold the current crisis we are facing, given that the world of American dominance is over as Republican greed has “Trumped” the common sense needed for a government to adequately care for its citizens. With its inadequate early response to the then epidemic and no public health care, the U.S. sits now on a precipice and will likely soon be faced with tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousand or even more than a million deaths and a collapsed economy.

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How Reino Keski-Salmi’s idea for a ski club became a resounding success

Phil Wallensteen, Reino Keski-Salmi, Margo Hartling (nee Wallensteen), and Stig Keskinen after a race. Photo courtesy of the Larch Hills Nordic Society

While Nordic skiing was a popular winter sport in the Shuswap, especially for Scandinavian immigrants during the settlement era, its popularity declined after WWII. Thanks to college instructors Tom Crowley and Connie Crowley, interest in the sport began to grow again in the early 1970s when they offered lessons to adults at local schools. In 1973, they joined with a group of avid cross-country skiers to form Shuswap Outdoors!, a club that continues to engage in year-round outdoor recreational activities. Continue reading

Fifty years of Shuswap Passion


At the wheel of “Lucy” the day we left Berkeley, California 50 years ago, note the ‘Gods Eye’ on the aerial 

April 2019 marks a milestone in my life, as 50 years ago I crossed the border as a landed immigrant to begin a new life on our treed property above Shuswap Lake. The border guards must have chuckled when they saw us arrive in our 20-year old pick-up truck with my homemade camper that resembled a Conestoga wagon, two dogs, a cat and homesteading tools.

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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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