Marin Patenaude (seen centre front) and seven other participants

Marin Patenaude (seen centre front) and seven other participants

Patenaude: trip ‘absolutely inspiring’

Horsefly’s Marin Patenaude and seven other participants have been adventuring down the Fraser River.

Tara Sprickerhoff

Tribune Staff Writer

Floating past mountains, forests and bridges, Horsefly’s Marin Patenaude and seven other participants have been adventuring down the Fraser River as part of this year’s Sustainable Living Leadership Program.

Last Monday, Aug. 12, the group stopped their rafts under Sheep Creek Bridge for a Fisheries and Oceans Canada juvenile fish net demonstration and fisheries discussion before heading into Williams Lake to visit the Potato House and Scout Island.

“I have a lot of fervour for environmental stewardship right now,” said Patenaude. “I really found another passion in wanting to protect our backyard.”

The Sustainable Living Leadership program seeks to help the participants learn about stewardship, watersheds, salmon and sustainability, during a month long trip canoeing, rafting, hiking and bussing 1,375 km from the headwaters of the Fraser River down to its mouth in Vancouver.

On Monday, the group was 12 days into the trip and had just switched from paddling down the Fraser to rafts.

“Past halfway, it starts to feel like water going down a funnel,” said Fin Donnelly who swam the Fraser in 1995 and founder of the Rivershed Society that puts on the voyage.

During the trip participants also work on developing their own unique sustainability projects.

“This is an excellent group. Every year the group is different and that is what makes the program,” Donnelly said.

Patenaude plans to create a compilation CD of artists around the province singing songs about the Fraser and its watershed.

Proceeds from the CD will go to the Potato House, she says.

The Potato House itself was once a project taken on by a participant of the program, Mary Forbes.

“They are all doing exciting projects,” said Donnelly.

Some of the other projects include implementing a food composting program at a church, establishing a community garden at a school and a relay swim of the Fraser River set for 2015 commemorating Donnelly’s swim.

The trip so far has been “absolutely inspiring” for Patenaude.

“Everyone is extremely compassionate but individual at the same time,” said Patenaude. “Everyone is extremely diverse too. I appreciate the age range, it makes for an interesting pace change.”

“There’s a lot of space for vulnerability.”

Patenaude has thoroughly enjoyed the trip so far, with one of her favourite places being the headwaters of the Fraser River in the Robson Valley.

“The headwaters in general are just beautiful and entirely new Fraser country for me,” she said. “It’s cold and clean and fresh.”

Although her journey down the Fraser is not yet over, Patenaude encourages anyone to apply for the trip in the upcoming years.

“I think any person who is able to should do this trip. It’s beautiful, it’s inspirational, the leadership and the learning skills you get out of it are so complete,” she said.

“We use these skills every day but we don’t get a chance to refine them, and that’s what I feel we are doing here — refining those skills.

“If you need to refuel your passion for B.C. in general than you should do this trip.”

Just Posted

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Williams Lake Tribune.
FOREST INK: Agroforestry alternative to some commercial forest practices

We do need to seriously look at some of our practices

2021 graduate Annaliese Hunt-Owega with Burton Astleford in advance of the Reverse Grad Parade held Saturday, June 12 in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Jenna Harvey. (Photo submitted)
RCMP looking for missing woman between 100 Mile House and Williams Lake

Jenna Harvey was last heard from a week ago and claimed to be hitchhiking north

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Williams Lake’s Robert Webster, who helps operate the organization’s Parking Lot Clothing Drive, and Angela Kadar, executive director, collect clothing at BBBSWL’s new, permanent cargo trailer location at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds infield. BBBSWL will be at the infield parking lot from noon to 1 p.m. every Tuesday until the fall collecting soft goods including men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, outerwear, boots, shoes, hats, mittens, scarves, ties, socks, purses, wallets, bags, bedding, towels and jewellery. Kadar thanked the Williams Lake Stampede Association for being so accommodating and for allowing them to use the space to park the trailer. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Williams Lake Parking Lot Clothing Drive gets new, permanent location

BBBSWL will be at the Stampede infield parking lot from noon to 1 p.m. every Tuesday

Williams Lake Stampeders forward Dylan Richardson thwarts a Quesnel Kangaroos defender as he skates in for a shot on goal during the 2019/20 Central Interior Hockey League season. (Patrick Davies photo - Black Press Media)
Stampeders plan post pandemic return to ice in Williams Lake

The eight-team Central Interior Hockey League includes franchises in Quesnel and Williams Lake

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Most Read