Collingwood named this year’s ‘Protector’

Ray Collingwood received Northern BC Tourism's Protector award.

Ray Collingwood shown holding up his Protector award from Northern BC Tourism.

Ray Collingwood shown holding up his Protector award from Northern BC Tourism.

Ray Collingwood had no idea he was nominated to win a “Protector” award but he’s happy all the same.

A local eco-pioneer, Collingwood received the Protector award at Northern BC Tourism’s annual education and networking conference.

In a release from the organization it said that Collingwood’s commitment to the Spatsizi has spanned over 40 years and that he and his family have been advocates for the area, working with government and conservationists.

Collingwood gives his family as much credit as he can.

“I’ve won this award but my daughter Carrie and my brother and my son-in-law should have won it equally,” he said.

Collingwood first came to the area in 1965 when he was a property appraiser for the government. He left that job in 1967 but continued his interest in the wilderness, spending a lot of time around the Spatsizi where his family’s fly fishing lodge is now.

Explaining the award, Collingwood said, “the award is for people who have contributed their life in protection of a particular project or area that is for the betterment of the people of British Columbia and retaining the ecosystem that nature has given there.”

He continued, “In our case, making the public aware of the impact of coal bed methane, [and] the way that we’ve conducted our business. We cater to a lot of fly fishermen and we introduce barbless hooks 40 years ago. We didn’t have to wait.”

The Spatsizi Wilderness Lodge, is operated with that eco-concious frame of mind. For instance the place is run off  solar power and has a very extensive recycling program in place.

If you go to their website at spatsizi.com you’ll even find a whole section on conservation and stewardship.

Collingwood is a busy person. Earlier in 2011 he was named the Professional Hunter of the Year in North America by the Safari Club Foundation