Friday, March 2, 2012

Getting To Know Our Backyard

Knowledge is a wonderful thing to acquire and most of the time we take it for granted without giving thought or credit of how, who or where it came from. Having lived in the Pacific Northwest most of my life I have to say that I have been somewhat “blind” to some of the opportunities and issues that are basically in my backyard. While developing our kayaking skills Robyn and I have also been very interested in gaining knowledge of our playground and the past couple of weeks we gained so much from a couple of amazing organizations. 

The first took place at the February SISKA meeting with a presentation of the BC Marine Trail Network Association (BCMTN) by president Stephanie Meinke. The BCMTN is a series of interconnecting marine trails along the entire BC coastline designed with frequent access points, stopovers and campsites for users of small, beachable watercraft. The BCMTN volunteers working closely with BC First Nations, private land owners and the Government partners secure the continued rights of public marine recreationists to travel the BC coast and to land and camp along the way. Very recently the BCMTN launched their new website and I was very surprised to see the work that has been accomplished by this group of passionate kayakers. Even if you don’t play on the water, take the time to visit the BCMTN website as I think you will be pleasantly surprised as well.

The second “gain” came a few nights ago when we attended a Secrets of Clayoquot Sound presentation at UVIC. Now… once again I have to admit that I have been blind to what has happened in our backyard over the past 33 years. Sure I have heard about Mears Island and the logging protests but I simply had no idea of the majestic beauty of the area and what it means to the First Nations and local residents. There are very passionate people working hard to save this special oasis and sea kayakers Dan Lewis and Bonny Glambeck of  Tofino presented a very informative lecture on behalf of The Friends of Clayoquot Sound (FOCS). They woke me up to not just a great place to kayak but also an area at great risk to destructive logging and mining practices.

If you were to ask Robyn or I when we first started kayaking what we expect to experience in our new passion, I think the answer wouldn't have been gaining knowledge of our backyard. So I ask you ...... do you really know what is in your backyard or just over the fence??

Happy Paddling!

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