If you've got this guidebook in one hand, better grip your paddle with the other. Tania Millen and friends have detailed 47 whitewater runs and 10 play spots that comprise the best paddling in northwest British Columbia.
From the Sacred Headwaters of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine rivers in the north to the Morice and Bulkley rivers in the south; from Butze Rapids (a northern Skookumchuck Narrows) in the west to the salmon-rich Babine and Kispiox rivers in the east, each description contains the information you need to find the goods and have fun when you get there, all enriched by Millen's historical and cultural notes.
Rafting the Babine, paddling a canoe up the Gitnadoix or challenging the bedrock slides of the Khtada in your creek boat, there's world class water here for novices, experts and crazies with something to paddle in every season. There's even a description of the Grand Canyon of the Stikine, a run portrayed by Millen as "one of the toughest runs in North America." So pack your dry bags and see northwest BC from a very different perspective.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Much has been written about the riches of northwest British Columbia - the mountains and lakes, wildlife, scenery and First Nations cultures - all of which contribute to this unique area. This guidebook explores another major asset of northwest BC - the world-class whitewater paddling.
The book was started in 1995 but then life got in the way and the project was shelved. Every few years thereafter local and visiting paddlers discussed resurrecting it, but again life (and paddling!) prevented serious efforts. In 2011, heeding gentle nudges from the paddling community, the project was restarted. It was certainly a great time to put together a guidebook. There were more paddlers around than a few years earlier and many of the accessible rivers in northwest BC had been paddled, yielding plentiful data.
This guidebook is truly a community effort. It simply wouldn't have been completed without the generosity of local (and not so local) paddlers, their honest assessment of 'the goods', and their unswerving support and enthusiasm for the project.
But there are some who consider that by writing a guidebook, the mystique of the included paddling runs might be lessened. I disagree. This book is simply one source of information that paddlers may choose to access. That's one of the beauties of guidebooks; they provide choice. Readers can access as much (or little) information about a run prior to paddling it as they wish. The choice is entirely up to them.
And there are other reasons for writing a guidebook. As more people move to densely populated areas and become less connected to the natural world, our understanding of the intrinsic value of wilderness is decreasing. I believe that producing this guidebook may help reverse that process. Simply put, it will encourage more people to get out there. So, the rationale for writing this guidebook includes:
* Providing, for the first time, information for paddlers on the world class whitewater that exists in northwest BC, and;
* Stimulating those not-so-frequent paddlers to take advantage of one of the most abundant, renewable resources in BC. I also hope that this book goes a long way towards increasing awareness of the special places that exist in northwest BC and the value of their wildness. Enjoy! November 2011
Tania Millen was born in Ottawa but her first encounter with moving water was canoeing down the Red River in Winnipeg with her parents in 1974. A year later she moved with her family to West Vancouver but spent her summers sailing, canoeing, beach combing and helping to build a cabin on 28 acres of wilderness at the south end of Texada Island.
She started riding horses at age 10 and has since gone on to compete at the national level as well as working with horses in Alberta, Ontario, England and Australia. She has participated in many outdoor sports including paragliding, rock and ice climbing, ski touring, hiking, mountain biking and has competed provincially as a body builder.
Her first whitewater experiences coincided with her move to Terrace in 1992 where she now lives, working as an environmental consultant. She has canoed and kayaked several of the runs described in this book and has visited the put-ins and take-outs for most of them. Her favourite paddle is the scenic Terrace to Exstew River run on the Lower Skeena.
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