Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ashlu Call Out

Former Bellinghamster and Costa Rica cohort Ethan Smith just forwarded this e-mail to me from Bryan Smith with The Range Life. I thought it was worth posting. Sounds like I'll be heading up to BC tonight for the paddling film fest, and back again on Monday:

"I realize this comes late and it would be very difficult for some of you, but it is REALLY important in the scheme of things here in the Sea to Sky corridor. If you care about rivers or kayaking in BC and want to have rivers to paddle in August, you really have no excuse for not coming up here on Monday. In fact you should come ski on Sunday, because it is looking epic! Monday Feb 26 at 10:30 there is a public hearing in Pemberton on the Ashlu. This is a very interesting turn of events and many feel it will set big precedent with the SLRD and local government. I will try to explain.

Bill 30 was enacted to allow Ledcor to start construction on the Ashlu despite being denied zoning by the SLRD (local government) by an 8-1 vote. As many of you know they are well underway with construction. BUT...Ledcor has been taking a lot of bad PR and many in the community have tagged them as "operating without permits". Their future in this corridor and on other projects (they own the water license for Callaghan) depends on them manufacturing local public consent. Well guess what is happening. They have gone back to the SLRD after the fact and applied for the permits. The same permits that they were denied after all the public hearings. If no one shows up in Pemberton on Monday and supports the local government, it will be very easy for this to turn into another back door deal, where Ledcor walks away with permits and ultimately permission from the local government. We have to stand behind the SLRD on this issue. I can't explain how critical it is.

I'm starting to uncover a lot on this issue working on a documentary of the Ashlu and micro hydro in the Sea to Sky. Hopefully there will be some funding to keep efforts moving forward. So many people have dropped off the fight. We can't give in.

Thanks for your help. I will have a lot more coming at you soon, but I have been swamped in trying to get things done locally as well. Pass this email along. A good showing is really important.


Some Video Stills from 2005:

Chris Tretwold, Callaghan Creek

Ethan Smith, Callaghan Creek

Shane Robinson, Tatlow Creek, Ashlu watershed

Shane Robinson, Tatlow Creek, Ashlu watershed

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Canyon Creek (SF Stilly) and Sauk

Saturday was spring in the Northwest. 66 degrees and sunny and the rivers, they were up. I joined up with Bellingham boaters Jon and Tim, and headed to Canyon Creek, a super short and fun run about an hour south, running at a healthy 6'. The class IVish run seemed like a good candidate given our early-season rustiness, and the Bellingham crew had a score to settle with this little run. Unfortunately, few that experienced the earlier epic wanted to join us this time.

We met up with several Seattlites, including a trio that (mostly) successfully rafted the creek, which was impressive to watch given some of the tighter drops on this run. Though the prospect of paddling along with a floating undercut is never that appealing.

Poogies and excess insulating layers were shed with abandon, and we started the run.

The run begins with a good sized rapid with hungry ledge holes, but quickly tapers into a scenic canyon with clean, aesthetic drops. Tim probed his way down most of the drops while the less intrepid among us scampered about along the canyon walls, debating lines, all of which went well. And then we were done (it is pretty darn short).

We put on for a second lap, which involved 4 swimmers in a prolonged spin cycle in the top drop, including all three rafters (I still feel a little bad about boofing onto the first swimmer, but the raft was hot on my tail), and then we proceeded to cruise the lines in under 45 minutes.

Beer and chips and salsa awaited us at the take-out thanks to the foresight of the Seattle contingent.

Tim in the first ledges. The right side of this one goes smooth.

First ledges.

Seattlites in Headwall Rapid (?)

Jon Dufay, Headwall Rapid (?)

Last larger drop.

Tim, last munchy hole.

On Sunday, Hale, Jon and myself headed out for some early season playboating on the Sauk. Unfortunately, the evil Northwest weather gods had returned from their Saturday reprieve, and we were greeted at the put-in with giant snowflakes that muffled our quick descent.