LIFE ON THE TRAIL

HUDSON’S HOPE, BC — New research into the early guiding history of the Peace River country is underway, led by Mr. Ross Peck of Hudson’s Hope, and supported through the Royal BC Museum’s Living Landscapes: Peace River-Northern Rockies initiative. The goal of this research is to develop a series of historical profiles of some early expeditions that relate not only the perspective of the expedition leaders, but also the locals who shared their unique knowledge of the land with these explorers.

“The Rocky Mountains of northeastern British Columbia remain one of the last wilderness frontiers in the province, but have attracted numerous exploratory expeditions for scientific research, natural resource development, hunting, fishing and other recreational pursuits for well over 100 years,” says Peck, who runs a guide outfitting operation in the region. “One year it could be a survey group, perhaps topographical, geological or mineral. The next year it might be a hunting party or two, perhaps a scientist collecting for some museum back east, or a group on an exploration and adventure quest.”

According to Peck, all these visitors to the Northern Rockies had one thing in common — they relied on local residents, with their knowledge of the waterways, trails, muskeg, and mountains, to ensure they successfully achieved their goals.

“The stories of early scientists, such as Philadelphia botanist Mary Gibson Henry, who made four scientific expeditions into the region between 1931 and 1935, are made even more poignant when accompanied by those told through the eyes of people like the late Smokey Neighbor, who was a wrangler on all Mrs. Henry’s expeditions,” said Royal BC Museum CEO Pauline Rafferty. “We are pleased to support Mr. Peck in this initiative, which will help foster appreciation and respect for the natural environment of the north.”

Living Landscapes: Peace River-Northern Rockies is a research and public education project focused on the exploration of stories that highlight the diverse human and natural history of northeastern British Columbia. Research and educational material obtained through this project will become available on the Royal BC Museum’s Living Landscapes website, and will provide regional perspectives for the new BC Gallery currently being developed at the Royal BC Museum.

The museum’s Living Landscapes program is entering its ninth year, with earlier work having occurred in the Thompson Okanagan, Columbia River Basin, and Upper Fraser Basin regions.

The Royal BC Museum, recently awarded Crown Corporation status, is a cultural, educational and historic institution that was founded in 1886. It is responsible for collecting, displaying and researching the province’s human and natural history. The Living Landscapes: Peace River-Northern Rockies initiative is being generously supported by the Vancouver Foundation.

For more information on this initiative, please visit http://livinglandscapes.bc.ca, or call Living Landscapes Manager Brian Apland at 250-387-2457 or Regional Coordinator Kathleen O’Neill at 250-787-1203.