Conserving the Mighty Fraser: SLLP Reflections and Project Update

Conserving the Mighty Fraser: SLLP Reflections and Project Update

As the last of the fall colours fade away here in Tatlayoko Valley, and community members are busy preparing for Winter’s chilly arrival, my mind drifts back to the warm (and sometimes wet) adventures of the SLLP this summer. What an incredible experience! The Fraser River flows through so many different landscapes and we were privileged to experience each of them up close and personally.

We started in the Rocky and Cariboo Mountains, camping and hiking in thick, wet, ancient forests and canoeing the pristine clear headwaters of the River.

Day 4. Fin leading our paddle down the Fraser near Tete Jaune Cache.
Day 4. Fin leading our paddle down the Fraser near Tete Jaune Cache.
Day 7. Camping in the lush forests of the Goat River wilderness.
Day 7. Camping in the lush forests of the Goat River wilderness.
Day 10. Candice, Jacquie and Doug in the ancient interior cedar rainforest north of Prince George.
Day 10. Candice, Jacquie and Doug in the ancient interior cedar rainforest north of Prince George.

We shifted to rafts at the fascinating First Nations Heritage Village in Xat’sull, and explored the epic canyons and arid grasslands of the Fraser Plateau, bounding through wild rapids and drying-out on secret beaches.

Day 11. The magical Heritage Village of Xat'sull.
Day 11. The magical Heritage Village of Xat’sull.
Day 13. Rafting into the mid-section of the Fraser Canyon (Photo by Oliver Berger).
Day 13. Rafting into the mid-section of the Fraser Canyon (Photo by Oliver Berger).
Day 13. Exploring North Creek Cove and honoring the First Nations villagers who all died of small pox here in 1862.
Day 13. Exploring North Creek Cove and honoring the First Nations villagers who all died of small pox here in 1862.
Day 13. Ready for rapids near Riske Creek.
Day 13. Ready for rapids near Riske Creek.
Day 15. View of the epically beautiful mid-canyon and grasslands at the Cathedrals camp (Photo taken by Petra Markova).
Day 15. View of the epically beautiful mid-canyon and grasslands at the Cathedrals camp (Photo taken by Petra Markova).

Finally, we made our way through the towering walls of the Lower Canyon (including Hell’s Gate) and spilled out into the Lower Mainland, returning to our Voyageur canoe to experience the beauty of the Fraser’s Estuary and Delta, contrasted with the intense industrial and urban activities.

Day 19. Waterfall south of Hell's Gate.
Day 19. Waterfall south of Hell’s Gate.
Day 23. Canoeing past a compact car barge west of Port Coquitlam (Photo taken by Oliver Berger).
Day 23. Canoeing past a compact car barge west of Port Coquitlam (Photo taken by Oliver Berger).
Day 23. Arriving in New Westminster (Photo taken by Simran Lehal).
Day 23. Arriving in New Westminster (Photo taken by Simran Lehal).
Day 23. Celebrating our journey at the Fraser River Discovery Center.
Day 23. Celebrating our journey at the Fraser River Discovery Center.
Day 23. Celebrating Fin's 1995 & 2000 Fraser River swims (Fraser River Discovery Center; photo taken by Simran Lehal).
Day 23. Celebrating Fin’s 1995 & 2000 Fraser River swims (Fraser River Discovery Center; photo taken by Simran Lehal).
Day 24. Enjoying a gorgeous West Coast sunset at Jericho Beach, Vancouver on our last night together.
Day 24. Enjoying a gorgeous West Coast sunset at Jericho Beach, Vancouver on our last night together.

Each day, the River taught us potent and powerful lessons, inspiring us to become better stewards of the natural world and more committed advocates of sustainable living. The SLLP reignited my passion to help conserve and protect this mighty lifeline of our province. 

For the first part of my community project, I will be creating a summary report of land use and conservation patterns in the mid-section of the Fraser Canyon from Xat’sull to Lillooet. I am honored to have received a generous $1000 post-SLLP project grant from RSBC, which will allow me to start the research, assessment, and mapping, while I seek additional funding to cover the full project costs. I’m looking forward to talking with a diversity of community members about their visions and concerns for the Fraser, and exploring how both the conservation and economic values of the mid-section of the Canyon can be sustained into the future.

The second part of my SLLP project is to assist in the delivery of future Rivershed leadership programs, including identifying ways the SLLP could be expanded and/or improved. I’ve started to do this, and am thoroughly enjoying this meaningful and exciting volunteer work with Fin, Doug, Jacquie and the rest of the amazing RSBC team!