Lisa Bland and Oliver Berger are heading to Mt. Robson to start their month-long trip on the Fraser River. The trip is part of the Rivershed Society of British Columbia’s 2018 Sustainable Living Leadership Program.

Williams Lake pair to immerse themselves in challenges facing Fraser River

Lisa Bland and Oliver Berger take part in 2018 Sustainable Living Leadership Program

It hasn’t even started yet, but Lisa Bland knows she is about to have a life-changing experience.

Bland and fellow lakecity resident Oliver Berger are embarking on a 26-day trip down the entire length of the Fraser River as part of the Rivershed Society of British Columbia’s 2018 Sustainable Living Leadership Program.

“Water and adventure has always been a part of my life,” said Bland. “To be with other people who are as concern about the watershed and the salmon as I am is an incredible experience.”

Last year the two got a taste of what they’re in for this year during a condensed eight-day trip, shortened due to the 2017 wildfires.

“Just eight days was life-changing,” Bland said.

Bland grew up as a child with a strong sense of being tied to the land and water on Haida Gwaii.

“It’s a very strong, experience-based community, where there is lots of opportunity,” she said of Haida Gwaii. “It made me feel I could do anything.”

Bland found herself in Horsefly in the 1990s, discovering there were many people in the Cariboo with that same care and concern for the environment. She lived in Horsefly for 10 years, and overall in the Cariboo for the past 25 years.

“It has been the people who have kept me here.”

Bland has throw herself into being the editor and publisher of the Green Gazette for the past six years, said she finds what’s happening to the oceans and the Fraser River in terms of environmental damage, is disturbing.

“The fish are in big trouble. It’s very distressing what’s happening. It’s a sad time in a way.”

SLLP participants will learn first-hand some of the challenges and also the beauty of the mighty Fraser River and become advocates for the river.

For Bland, she will be bring along her laptop in a waterproof Pelican case and publishing a series of river stories about the rivershed.

Berger, who has long been a champion for the environment, will be attending a facilitator on the tour.

He said being on the river and seeing B.C. from the ground level is a powerful experience, as is meeting people in the river communities along the way who are impacted by the environmental concerns facing the watershed.

The SLLP river trip is intended to bring those voices and those concerns together to make a difference for the future of the river and the communities who are tied to it, he said.

Bland and Berger will begin their trip over the long weekend starting at Mt. Robson, where the river is glacier green and clear. They will make their way down the river through the entire province — through northern forests to desert lands — before wrapping up at the ocean in Vancouver.

Locally, there will be a chance to see the group Sunday, Aug. 12 at Xat’sull Village for a FraserFEST Cultural Day and Dinner open to the public.

Mon, Aug 13 they arrive at the Williams Lake River in the afternoon and will be at the Scout Island Nature house for a community dinner that evening.


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