War in the woods, part two, now underway

Spirit bear 3In the 1990s there was a long-running conflict in Clayquot Sound and what is now known as the Great Bear Rainforest between logging companies and environmental activists. The showdown was over the future use of the forests. The logging companies viewed the forests as “fibre” that could be harvested for quick profit. The environmentalists pointed out there were animals that lived in the forests as well, and that the forests were actually “eco-systems” comprised of rivers, woods, animals, fish, birds and the biomass of the forest floor. Cutting down all the trees destroyed entire systems.

On January 28, 2014, in a report published by the Vancouver Sun, conservation groups and forest companies reached final agreement on how they want to increase old-growth protection in the Great Bear Rainforest. Their recommendations have been delivered to the B.C. government and First Nations who have the final say on changes. The joint industry-environmental group announcement brings to a close a 14-year effort. This ends a bitter fight by environmentalists in the 1990s to preserve one of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforests, home to the so-called white spirit bear.

So ends what news media dubbed “the war in the woods.” However, on February 1st, the Vancouver Sun published my article titled War in the woods, part two. My article reports that a new conflict over the use of B.C’s forests is now erupting, this time between tourism operators wishing to promote B.C. as a wilderness destination versus the Liberal government determined to allow the extraction and shipping of raw resources at a rate never seen before. The showdown has commenced with the reduction and elimination of various ferry routes, in particular the Discovery Route ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Coola. For more information, read the entire story at the link below.

http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/Opinion+Woods+Part+begun/9455450/story.html

Website finally in construction

What you are reading here today is a blog about my travels through the Cariboo, Chilcotin region over the past 2 years. I have had the pleasure of a dozen visits to the Cariboo, half a dozen to the Coast, and a couple to the Chilcotin. Over the next several years I hope to visit as many resorts, lodges, ranches, bed and breakfasts, and tourism-related businesses as I can fit into my travel schedule.

During this month, however, (January 2014) I will be building a full website to feature and promote all the 40 properties i have had the pleasure of visiting, and those where I have stayed. The website will contain my own personal opinions and photos of all my visits. The website will allow all tourism properties to promote themselves and to secure queries and bookings. Once launched, the website will be free of charge for all participating business to join.

The purpose of a cooperative website is to join everyone’s efforts together in one location order to create a “one stop shopping” centre where prospective readers can discover all the delights the Cariboo, Chilcotin and Coast have to offer. The power of 100 businesses working together to promote these regions is far greater than the ability of each property to publicize itself.

The new website will also contain a guidebook that can be downloaded, with maps and directions, to clearly show the visitor how to create their own itinerary; how to choose what regions they want to visit; and how to select the ranch or resort that is right form the. The site will promote comments from visitors, so that participating properties can learn and share what visitors have to say.

Participating properties will be free to add their own copy, photos, video clips, links to their own social media, news and promotions, and other useful media. Working together, we can create a cooperative major website that will attract visitors from Europe, Australia, China, the USA and across Canada.

For more information, contact me directly at newscribe@shaw.ca.

My OpEd about the ferry cuts impact on the Chilcotin creates debate

The second of my two editorial columns in the Vancouver Sun about the proposed cuts to the Queen of Chillwack ferry service, and how these cuts will impact the Chilcotin region, resulted in numerous responses to the Sun’s public discussion forum. One comment from a reader, in particualr, caught my eye. The BC government can’t be expected to promote tourism to the region at the same time it is investing in mining and the extraction of fossil fuels. Could be true?  Is the provincial government willing to sacrifice tourism to the Chilcotin, and the damage it will also do to the Cariboo, in favour of the extraction of raw resources? Probably. To read the entire article, and the email responses it generated, click on the link below.

http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/Grinch+stole+Chilcotin+Christmas/9284858/story.html

 

OpEd article in Vancouver Sun shows how ferry cuts will impact the coast

Bio 7 editMy recent OpEd article published on the editorial pages of the Vancouver Sun shows how the proposed elimination of the Queen of Chilliwack ferry route from Port Hardy to Bella Coola will impact the coast. Log on to the URL below to read the full article.

http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/Ferries+needs+direction+steer+free/9238078/story.html

Website now in design phase

The Last Frontier website is now in design and production will commence in late October. Cariboo, Chilcotin and Coast tourism-related businesses will be encouraged to join during the winter months. Please check this space for news and updates.

Meantime, you can read several stories about the Cariboo I have recently published in the Vancouver Province newspapers. Simply click on the links shown below.

Cariboo guest ranches story

http://www.theprovince.com/travel/Mosey+cowboy+country/8811272/story.html

Fish Rock, Lillooet story

http://www.theprovince.com/travel/History+catch+Fish+Rock/8838472/story.html

Horse whisperer at The Hills Health Ranch

http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/Horses+find+bring+happiness/8972413/story.html

Exploring the wild west coast

Griz 2 closerRecently I enjoyed a trip to Klemtu, on the coast between Bella Bella and Prince Rupert, thereby completing the last of my dozen trips to the Cariboo, Chilcotin and Coast regions of the province in 2012-2013. Klemtu is located in the Great Bear Rainforest of BC, where I had a chance to meet some grizzlies and search for spirit bears.

Summer 2013 is finally over, and soon I will begin production of The Last Frontier website, a multimedia project I described to all the folks I met on my many trips through the interior and coast over the past two years. The Last Frontier website will start production soon. It will provide information and photos to people from BC and around the world about ranches and lodges to stay, things to do, good places to eat, and sights to see. Updates will be provided on this website. Please feel free to send queries c/o the editor.

Doing the Discovery Tour

The Quesnel River near Likley is a hot spot for fly fishing

The Quesnel River near Likley is a hot spot for fly fishing

If you look on the BC Ferries website, they call it the “Discovery Tour.” You start in Vancouver, drive north up Vancouver Island, and take the ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Coola, then on through the Chilcotin and Cariboo and back to Vancouver. It’s a very long trip, one I just drove the other way (east to west). Truly amazing, and a trip that anyone truly interested in the BC wilderness should experience.

The Cariboo – south, central and north – is all about fishing, hunting, mining and riding horses. The Chilcotin is so wide open I couldn’t believe it, truly the world’s last frontier, few people and wide open spaces. The Coast is a different world, of whales and grizzly bears and salmon. I met with First Nations people, cowboys and fly fishers, gold panners, ranchers and European tourists agog with what they were seeing.

The upcoming Last Frontier website will provide information and photos about where to stay, what to do, places to eat, sights to see, and a reminder to buy gas whenever you see a gas pump because you might not see another one for a while. Details coming soon.