Putting pen to water to save the Babine

The book is not your typical angling tome.

Pierce Clegg (left) and Peter McMullan

Pierce Clegg (left) and Peter McMullan

The book is not your typical angling tome.

Babine, a new publication authored by Pierce Clegg and Peter McMullan, takes a new angle on angling.

“It’s part history, part angling anthology, it’s part romance, part conservation, all pulled together within the covers of a single volume,” said McMullan. “It’s a very different book.”

In some ways you could say the book is the authors’ way of securing the river’s future.

“The book makes a strong stewardship statement and the Bulkley Valley is noted for a lot of passion with land use planning and being outspoken,” said Clegg.

Right off the bat in Clegg’s introduction in the book, he writes that “we need to do a better job of assessing our fishery and the many streams, creeks and tiny waterways that make the river rich in fish and wildlife.”

But it’s also not an environmental book. Through its nearly 200 pages readers will encounter the stories of people who have mattered to the river over the past 50 years.

“The river seems to have this spirit that sometimes even seems to talk to individuals,” said Clegg.

“It has a such a grip on people that they come back to be buried, to have their ashes spread on their favourite pool,” said McMullan.

Clegg said he even has the ashes of anglers waiting to be spread on the river when the season starts.

Throughout the book are first-hand accounts written by people who have in some way or another depended on the river.

By having this book available in the public, they consider it a chance to make sure it is preserved for years to come.

“Pierce and I felt that the river deserved to have somebody to speak for it, and I think Pierce and I are those spokespeople and the book is our voice, is the river’s voice,” said McMullan.

“It is truly a crown jewel but it also can be lost and be in the ash heap of the great rivers that have been lost, and it will be lost unless people really pay attention to what’s going on out there,” added Clegg.

The authors are serious about preservation. All the money that is made from the book will go directly to the Babine Watershed Monitoring Trust.

At the recent book launch at Driftwood Lodge, they handed over a cheque for $6,572 to the Trust.

The Trust was established in 2005 to monitor natural resource management in the Babine watershed.

“This book is a way to encourage people not to forget about all these land use plans, not to forget about this river and to find a way to keep working on doing a better job of logging, mining, whatever,” said Clegg.

In the end this book could just be the way to ultimately save the Babine river.

“Maybe it’s days are numbered but at the moment we still have a chance and the opportunity to keep it from being another crappy story about a great river that got trashed.”