We live in a staycation paradise

One of the spectacular views from the Blind Bay Bluffs trail

As we yearn for some level of normalcy to return, the thought of travelling anywhere for a vacation seems unlikely given the pandemic concerns and the economic downturn. Fortunately, we live in a region that is also a popular destination for thousands of summer visitors thanks to our warm lakes, magnificent scenery and fabulous recreational opportunities. Thus, this summer can be best enjoyed taking advantage of all that the Shuswap has to offer.

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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

Skiing is key to the Shuswap experience

“After several hours of slogging, the snow at Granite Peak lookout lay under the skis of Mamie Hill, Matt hill, and Yuri Maki. the year was 1938.” This Mamie Hill Reynolds photo appears in the book, “Fleeting Images.” Courtesy of Salmon Arm Museum at R.J. Haney Heritage Village

The are many opportunities to ski in the Shuswap, including three tracked Nordic ski areas, backcountry ski options, three cat-skiing lodges, a downhill resort, a heli-ski lodge, and at any number of untracked logging roads, park trails or frozen lakes. Few people realize that a significant portion of Silver Star Mountain is in the Shuswap watershed, including approximately two-thirds of the Sovereign Lake trails and the backside runs at the resort in the Putnam Creek drainage.

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The sport where the stones slide to the house

Salmon Arm Curling Club, photo courtesy of the Salmon Arm Observer

The sport of curling, often described as “chess on ice,” is an ancient game that began 500 years ago in Scotland. In Canada and in the Shuswap, the sport’s popularity is likely due in part to the large number of Scottish immigrants who settled here. There are curling rinks in every incorporated Shuswap community, as well as in Falkland and although the number of players has decreased over time, the sport continues to bring many people of all ages together to have fun competing and exercising.

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Hockey is thriving throughout the Shuswap

Sicamous Eagles lost to the Chase Heat in Oct. 2019, photo by Rick Koch, courtesy of the Salmon Observer

It was a monumental community effort, but after a few failed referendums, the last one was successful once support funding was secured from two regional districts, and in 1999 the Art Holding Memorial Arena in Chase finally opened. Community support was key, as volunteers did much of the construction, along with local contractors who provided free services. This high level of community support continues as there are three organizations, the Chase Recreation Society, Chase Minor Hockey Association and the Chase Heat Junior Hockey Club keeping the arena busy every day from mid-day to late in the evening.

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