Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fraser Valley News

North to Alaska 

International paddlers take Spirit of the Coast canoe voyage June 1

Submitted by Nico Bauman, Jelly Marketing/ Website image


Paddlers in a Canadian Montreal canoe on the West Coast.


he Spirit Of The Coast Canoe Journey will begin on June 1, 2014 when Chris Cooper will endeavour to travel 1,200 kilometres to the Alaskan border by canoe.


"Spirit of the Coast is about awareness, education, culture, environment and most of all bringing attention to our beautiful BC Coastline and to share with Canadians what an amazing place we have,” said Cooper, a seasoned outdoorsmen. “It is not a protest, but about educating all that have never seen it."


Cooper, a professional guide for the past 30 years, has been featured in many newspapers and publications and will need to draw upon that experience while attempting the 90-day trek along the coastline.

“This year’s journey will help identify the features our coast has to offer; and by filming this with videographer Don Jonasson we hope that this will have a very large impact on all of us. We will also be uploading images as we travel visiting many communities along the way,” said Chris.

The name of the canoe is "Hiyakw e te Stahluxw" which is a Hun'qu'ma'num word for "Chief of the River". The name was bestowed on the newly refurbished canoe at a special ceremony given by the Kwantlen People in the summer of 2012. Brandon Gabriel, an internationally renowned Kwantlen First Nation artist and designer, was given the task of painting the artwork onto the canoe that tells the ancient Kwantlen creation story of the Great Flood.


The canoe, "Chief of the River" is over 30 years old; the red cedar used on the ribbing, seating, and gunnel of the 25-foot fiberglass canoe came from Vancouver's world famous Stanley Park in traditional Musqueam and Tslelwetuth territories that fell during the Great Winter Storm of 2006. The canoe has undergone many modifications and has transformed into a sight to behold thanks to the vision of its owners Chris and Barbara Cooper, and the artist, Brandon Gabriel.
The mission of the Spirit Dancer Canoe Cultural Project is to provide an opportunity for people of any age, from any other culture to interact intimately with the unique history, customs and hospitality of the citizens of a host culture by paddling on the host culture’s waters. Participating in the common goal of safely moving a craft of such universal nature through challenging conditions immediately inspires creative conversations, generosity and passion.
The vision for the Spirit Of The Coast is right in line with the Spirit Dancer’s past adventures. Its aim is to support awareness, education, culture, environment and most of all bringing attention to the beautiful BC Coastline and to share with Canadians what an amazing place BC is.
“I have traveled the entire BC Coast by canoe many, many times,” said Chris. “We have some of the most amazing biodiversity; so may species of life. This year it is time to make a stand and bring awareness to our most treasured coastline… the British Columbian coast is one of the most threatened coastlines in the world and having said that it is also the jewel of Canada.”
The Spirit of the Coast Canoe Journey crew will consist of members from British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, the Kwantlen Nation, Scotland, England, and the US.


The route proposed for the journey, broken down into three parts, can be seen mapped out here:



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