I was born in Vancouver in 1946 but spent all except the first of my grade school years in South Burnaby. Following that came Simon Fraser University and a Bachelor of Science degree in 1970. The job market for university graduates was particularly poor at the time. Employment of that shiny new degree came on graveyard shift in a MacMillan Bloedel planer mill in south Vancouver. A break came a year later when a neighbor arranged an introduction to senior staff in the Victoria office of the Province’s Department of Recreation and Conservation. That resulted in a seasonal job in the Elk River valley at the time the now sprawling coal strip mines were just beginning to leave their signature. Next came a move to the Victoria office to work with the Department’s Habitat Protection Section. In 1975 a senior fisheries biologist position in Nanaimo came open, thus beginning an eleven year stint in the steelhead management arena. A leave of absence to obtain a Master of Fisheries Science degree from the University of Idaho was included in that period.
After building a foundation for steelhead management on Vancouver Island the opportunity to tackle the infamous Skeena steelhead commercial fishery interception issue beckoned. A move to Smithers came near the end of 1986. That assignment consumed another 13 years most of which is best characterized as trench warfare between those on a mission to save a truly remarkable steelhead resource and those who viewed them as a nuisance and impediment to livelihoods.
A baker’s dozen years of some of the most memorable events in the history of federal/provincial fisheries relations closed out with a return to the Vancouver Island regional office in Nanaimo in 1999. Not long afterward came the role of supervising the Fish and Wildlife Section. That filled in the remaining years, 37 in total, before retirement in January 2008.
The passion for steelhead did not retire when I did but the climate for influencing their future has become more difficult than ever. The inertia of government drove me to assemble my first book, Skeena Steelhead – Unknown Past, Uncertain Future. It stands as the one and only historical reference for those interested in gaining an appreciation for how the world renowned Skeena steelhead resource has been treated over the 130+ years we’ve known it. More recently I completed another manuscript, this time to record my personal experiences that bracket more than 50 years as an angler and those 37 as a fisheries professional. A dozen of British Columbia’s better known steelhead streams are covered. Hopefully this second effort will help inform those that remain in the game of salvaging a piece of what remains of British Columbia’s steelhead heritage.
Look for it in October 2017 from Rocky Mountain Books.