In 2002/2003 I sat at the table with 20 other islanders and worked on what was to be known as the Heritage Tourism Strategy. Often when traditional economies fail(in our case logging and commercial fishing) communities often turn to tourism as their panacea. However tourism can have the same devastating affects as commercial logging and/or over fishing, turning once liveable pristine places into overrun seasonal landscapes gutting them of core services and long term viability.
The fella who helped our group through this process, Robert Sandford told us something that has never left me..."Each day remind yourself why you choose to live here and never let anything else get in the way of that." What he wanted us to remember is the essence of why we live where we live so that when we are called upon to make choices we will make the right choices. If we do not remind ourselves every single day change will happen for the wrong reasons.
I came to Haida Gwaii fourteen years ago but I had known since I was nine that I would come here! It took half a lifetime to get here but everyday I know why I am here. It is not always easy, work can be sporatic, family is half a continent away and some of them really don't understand "why" and the cost of everything going up can be daunting but I still know that this is where "my puzzle piece fits"!
It is when I take my morning walk along the beach
and see the incredible beauty that surrounds me
that I am reminded why I am here.
The human race have a tendancy to not do things in moderation, it seems to be all or nothing. We were reminded while working on the Heritage Tourism Strategy that if there were special places on these islands that we wanted to keep special we should think long and hard before identifying them or risk them becoming our "best kept secret" that everyone knows about!
Where ever you choose to live, honour it, be a part of it and remind yourself daily why you are there...a job(money) should never be the primary reason.
For me it is the connection to the land, to walk on Mother Earth and to know that we are all connected,
to appreciate the incredible beauty that surrounds us everywhere if we just take the time to look
Out side of the first four photos(the beach at Tlell) these where taken on North Beach in Naikoon Provincial Park on the northeast corner of Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands. Although others had been on the beach we were the only ones there on this beautiful low tide. The view through the cracked windshield is the stunning drive through what the locals call the "Magic Forest", a protected Ecological Zone.
For other stunning skies and reflections from around the world why not join us a