ARTS & EDUCATION | FraserFEST Xat’sull: Everyone lives in a watershed…. Come celebrate yours

FraserFest-1By Jenny Noble, Scout Island Nature Centre —

Rivershed Society of BC (RSBC) is hosting a family-friendly celebration at the Xatśūll Heritage Village on September 7 to honour the Fraser River’s history and culture, to raise awareness of issues threatening its health, and to explore solutions for change

At 3 p.m., there will be a guided tour of Xat’sull. There will also be a craft-making session before dinner. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. Contributions of food and/or money are invited to make this a true community sharing. Please bring your own plate, utensils, and water bottle—after all, this is about sustainability.

Local vocal quartet Synergy (Sharon Hoffman, Harry Jennings, Leo Rankin, and Sandy Aleric) will perform River songs, and Marin Patenaude will offer songs she wrote as part of her Sustainability Living Leadership Program (SLLP) journey in 2013. After dinner, a rousing game of lehal will round out the evening.

Between festivals, RSBC offers two ways to experience the Fraser River. You can raft the Fraser Canyon or paddle the Lower Fraser. Raft trips vary in length from single day trips (e.g. Xat’sull to Williams Lake) to several day excursions that include remote camping. Details www.rivershed.com/fraserfest/raft-the-fraser-canyon. In the Lower Mainland, you can canoe a section of the Lower Fraser River (Fort Langley to North Vancouver) on one or more day trips, with a group of up to 17 friends or coworkers. See www.rivershed.com/fraserfest/paddle-the-lower-fraser for details.

The Rivershed Society of BC and Xatśūll Heritage Village are working together with Scout Island Nature Centre, the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association, Fraser River Raft Expeditions, New Pathways to Gold, and the Province of BC.

Given the alarming state of BC’s waterways – including high temperatures, low water levels, pollution, and poor salmon returns – this is a great time to come together and give the river some love.

The Rivershed Society owes its inception to Fin Donnelly, who twice swam the length of the Fraser to raise awareness of watershed issues before becoming Member of Parliament for New Westminster-Coquitlam. He was inspired to organize the first SLLP expedition in 2002, to draw attention to the environmental impacts on rivers, stimulate critical thought, and promote community stewardship. Each participant designs and implements a community project that will further those goals.

Williams Lake’s own Potato House Society was Mary Forbes’ project, pledged in 2009. The inspiring annual youth expedition follows the 1,400 km salmon migration route along the Fraser River Basin by canoe, raft, and shuttle van. Fraser Fest events are being held in seven communities along that route, from Xatśūll to North Vancouver.

 

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