Sunday, August 13, 2006

Good News, Bad News (Awesome vs. Suck)

The news, ranked for Awesome & Suck ...

1. The Bad: Low in awesome, High in suck.

Squampton resident & TRL co-conspirator Bryan Smith has confirmed that construction, er, make that "destruction", has begun on the beloved Ashlu. Approximately 70 acres of forest has been leveled at the bottom of the canyon in preparation for the installation of the micro-hydro project the people in the Squamish-Lillooet region have for three years voted against. I'm no expert on big projects like this, but I'd expect rapid deployment from here out, being that it's already late summer; winter's just around the corner. How will this affect the paddling in the valley? Hard to say really. For one, I'd imagine road access into the valley will be shut down for a big part of the construction phase. Another impact could be significant quantities of lumber being pushed into Commitment Canyon ("the Box"). Since they plan to de-water the creek, the Box & the Bottom Mile runs could actually be runnable more during the warm summer months. But that also implies that during the low-water seasons, these staple classics will likely be too low when you really count on the being in. Not sure on the impacts to upstream runs as yet. Perhaps this is what it will take to raise awareness of the development pressures on BC watersheds. Coincidentally, the ASHLU WHITEWATER FESTIVAL is in two weeks, Aug 24-27.


2. The Good: High in Awesome, Low in Suck.

As Shane mentioned previously, theRangeLife won the innaugural IR Vacation To Hell expedition grant. I was on hand at the OR show to represent for the team, and as such, had to go on stage in front of a buncha people & accept the award. Gack! I hate being in front of a crowd .. I froze up & couldn't really talk. So ... What I meant to say is this:

First, huge thanks to Shane, Bryan & Jonaven for helping produce a killer application that we can all be proud of!

Next, massive props to all of the other teams who took the time to put together applications for the contest. At no point did we ever consider that winning was a foregone conclusion .. To the contrary, I was super-freakin' nervous in the days prior to the LVM/Teva party, & was shakin' like a Harley at a stoplight in the run-up to the actual announcement at the party. Each team communicated their own particular flavor & did a great job, but I was especially scared of the Idaho, Norway & Disneyland teams. So cheers to all you guys & thanks to Mariann & Ryan Casey for the beta on Peru!

Next, the VTH concept came from the desk of The Man, Daniel Delavergne. It should be pretty obvious that D was a major inspiration for us -- TRL wouldn't even exist without him & his support. I totally consider that inspiration his lasting gift to us. For everyone involved in all aspects of VTH, this thing has his memory all over it. So for us it's a monumental honor to be chosen as the first team to be a part of what I believe will become yet another way in which D rocked the history of kayaking.

And, lastly, we ❤ these guys for launching this project & for backing TRL: IMMERSION RESEARCH, PENSTOCK PRODUCTIONS, LIQUID LOGIC, WERNER, CANOE & KAYAK, SHRED READY, & ASTRAL. We promise to give this thing our best & to keep the torch lit!


3. The Media: High in Awesome, Low in Suck

There's actually a competent writer who champions environmental causes in Seattle mainstream print media, and that ranks very high in Awesome. Joel Connelly filed his FOLLOW-UP PIECE on the ultra-legendary Stikine this past Friday:

On the American side of the border, do we have a dog in this fight?Yes! Three B.C. river systems where major mining development is proposed -- the Stikine, Taku, and Unuk -- cross the border into Alaska. All have major salmon runs.

It's a must-read article, & if you click HERE, you can read the WHOLE DANG THING. Thanks Joel!


Chris Gragtmans said...

The blog looks sick guys, keep it coming! Glad you got a chance to paddle with Max out in BC... he's the shit!
Anyways peace.
-Chris Gragtmans

Todd Gillman said...

Thanks Chris! Shane said he ran into Max & a couple of his friends just getting off the N. Stein last weekend. That kid is rad.

BTW, your helmet-cam footage from the Toxaway this spring was beautiful. Tell Spencer I said what up!


Moonboot said...

Hey RangeLife Crew congrats to the fullest from team Boo-Ya and all us BC boaters. You're video had all the right elements just like your team does.

Peru has serious canyons with big logistics and good people...just make sure Jonoven brings the water purifier! Can't wait to hear if it will be the Maran, Abyssmo or some other special place waiting in the deep.
Get that shit done yo!

Mark Basso

Todd Gillman said...

Very cool Mark!

Thanks for pointing out that we haven't even posted where we're going .. duhhh, totally unintentional oversight on my part.

But now that it's all built up, maybe we should wait for the next post?

Solid vid app you guys submitted! Joey's a cool mofo too :-)

Phitty said...

Construction has indeeed started. My brother and I went into Tatlow on Thursday and had to wait while they felled some trees. The foreman advised that there would be periodic closures but they would try to let people through. They're working from 8 - 4 or 5 so take that into your plans.
I think he said they expect most of the cutting to be done by end of September.


Anonymous said...

If you could have Bryan contact me, I can forward some good information on the Ashlu.

Anonymous said...

i'll shall shed a tear for one of the most beautiful places i ever been and definitily some of the best whitewater i've done. i never cared that we had to wait for the end of summer to do the lower runs - you always have to wait for good things..... (and they were there when the rest had gone)


ps. congrats about peru sounds...... hellish i guess

molly malone said...

Hey Range Life,

I'm working on grad school apps for geography and environmental anthropology, and my interests are community resource management and conservation politics. I learned about the Ashlu hydro project when I was paddling in BC a few weeks ago, and I've been researching it trying to get more info. I've found the propaganda from the firm that's building it, but I am looking for more info on the adverse effects the project would have on the river system.

Basically, I need you guys to tell me why people in and around Squamish are for or against the project.

Any help is much appreciated!

Molly Malone

p.s. congrats on winning VTH, that trip will be sick...

keith said...

congratulations on winning the vacation to hell guys.

Wandered in here from a link on the site, do beleive i'll follow the goings on.
Goodluck with the trip and everything else you decide to do.

Keith (based in Scotland, UK)