Category Archives: Visitors of Note

Where Water Matters

On Friday April 10 the Boundary Environmental Alliance had a public info session with Biologist Mike Pearson who specializes in Aquatic and Riparian habitats.

Earlier in the day he was toured through some of the sensitive riparian zones in our area. Places like Lost Lake and the Gilpin. A number of people tagged along, amongst them local media and politicians.

The Riparian area is the space of land adjacent to the water. Around Lost Lake it is supposed to be fenced off but when we were there the fence on one side was in the water, not some distance from it as it should be.

Proper fish habitat goes hand in hand with the riparian zone. Good riparian zone promotes good fish habitat and poor riparian zone does the opposite. One of the questions the organizers had for Dr. Pearson was could the Gilpin Creek be a fish habitat? Could it support Cut Throat Trout? Could they make up from the river and through the culverts?

Dr. Pearson wondered if there might not already be some there. He advised any effort to begin with a count to see. A stretch above the highway has been fenced off and there are saplings that have been planted. But he pointed to the relatively straight run and remarked that for small fish it provided no shade, no variation in flow, no pools or resting spots. He said this was typical of a a stream in an area where the trees have been gone for a while. One suggestion to help improve aquatic fish habitat was to drop some lumber into the stream as would naturally happen. This would force the water to run under, over and around and that would sculpt out a shady pool of quieter water which fish like. Slower water means the fish aren’t spending as much energy staying in one place or going upstream.

Listen to what he has to say on the subjects of Riparian areas and Aquatic fish habitat.


Clara Hughes and her Big Ride Comes to Grand Forks

This afternoon one of Canada’s premiere Olympic athletes, Clara Hughes, came to town.

Tied with Cindy Klassen for the most Olympic medals won by a Canadian, the only person to win multiple medals in both the Winter and Summer Olympics, Officer of the Order of Canada – Clara isn’t content with resting on her laurels. She’s involved in humanitarian causes and doesn’t shirk from putting in effort in addition to adding her name.

This time she’s involved with Bell Canada bringing Clara’s Big Ride to town. That’s part of the Bell Let’s Talk campaign to open up the discussion on Mental Health issues and reduce the stigma associated with it. Having Clara Hughes speak about how it has affected her personally is helping convince others to also share their experiences and stories. And Talk about it.

Bell Canada is sponsoring this 110 day journey across this country of ours. Also sponsoring are Canadian Tire, BMO, Cisco, President’s Choice, Aimia, Lundbeck Canada and Samsung.

Watch the event below.


The Great Hike Hiker Hikes Into Grand Forks

Around 2008 Dana Meise started following his dream … across Canada from the Atlantic ocean to the Pacific ocean and then to the Arctic ocean. On foot.

Since then he’s logged more than 15,000 Kilometers in summers spent continuing the walk across the big land of ours on the Trans Canada Trail. And this weekend he has arrived here in Grand Forks. He hopes to make it to Victoria this year and on to the arctic next year.

We caught up with him as he was ending the day’s walk just before the ‘official arrival’ at Grand Forks (that will be tomorrow). He was just east of town in the Nursery area waiting with John Westaway for a ride from Chris Moslin. We knew where he was (within 10 minutes update time) because he carries a satellite communications device that updates his location every 10 minutes from where ever on the trail he might be. You can see where from this site:

We interviewed him and you can watch that below. Later we joined members of the Trails society for dinner with Dana at the Station Pub. And heard a lot about hiking in Canada. His pick for the province best set up for hiking and biking? Quebec! Of all the groups of people from different ‘walks’ of life which group shows up to walk with him the most? Politicians 🙂

He has a website:

21st Century Silicon Conestoga Pauses In town

Over a century ago the great migration of settlers to the West took place. The most often chosen mode of transport was the Prairie Schooner or Covered Wagon.  The Conestoga wagon was the archetype for the covered wagons of the era. Drawn by a team of horses theses wagons could travel, on average, 24 Km per day. Until the railroad was in place this was the mainstay of families heading out to homestead the West.
Conestoga wagon on Oregon Trail - NARA - 286056 crop

On Oct 11 I visited with a man who has come west in a modern day covered wagon. It didn’t carry as much freight and instead of horses it had an electric motor but it’s speed of travel was  twice as fast as those covered wagons of a bygone era. And it was covered. Instead of a canvas tarp this wagon was covered in Solar Photovoltaic Panels.

Solar Electric Tricycle

Solar Electric Tricycle

The man taking this trip is Rick Small and he’s come all the way from Thunder Bay Ontario on his Solarized Electric Tricycle. And in all that 3000+ Kilometers of travel he has not had to pay anyone any money to ‘fuel’ his vehicle. It gets ALL of the energy it needs from Sunshine.

With that cost out of the way all he has to worry about is food and lodgings. At an average of 90km per day a long trip will have many meals and sleeps. Sometimes he gets a room at a motel but his camping setup means that is a choice he does not have to take. A tarp, some well placed insulation panels, a cushioned sleeping bag and he has a bedroom. Add a small electric heater and he’s cozy. And if the battery gets low over night the Sun will charge it up come daylight.

Since he started his trip on July 31 he’s learned things about how to make it better the next time.

  1. Part of the structural components in his vehicle are Steel. He estimates that using alternative materials he could shave 100 to 130 lbs of weight. This would improve speed and distance.
  2. He forgot the adapter that would allow him to charge the batteries from A/C in a house. Without that the electricity for his whole trip has been supplied by the solar panels. He says he has run the trike for 6300 Km this way.
  3. The solar panels make much more power when they face the Sun. Initially they were laid flat facing upwards. He got much more power when he changed them to tilt to the south and face the Sun. After he left the prairies he found that the roads in the mountains go north and south as well as east and west. That means with panels fixed to tilt to the left of the direction of travel you get Sun when going West but not as much when you have to travel in a North or South direction. He plans to devise a more robust tilting system to cope with that.
  4. Using more powerful panels would make a real difference. The panels he has now are rated for about 50 Watts. (actually 48 Watts). He has 6 so he’s getting 288 Watts of power delivered to his motor. If he’d used 60 Watt panels he’d have close to 360 Watts – virtually another panel’s worth of power. That would allow for speedier travel for longer distances.

He’s planning on making it to Victoria – hopefully before the snow flies. And next year he might do some touring around his beautiful new home province of British Columbia. And being off the grid maybe he’ll figure out how to modify it to serve as a solar ATV …

Here’s my interview with Rick Small.

And he mentioned he had a few videos on his YouTube Channel already.