I was first introduced to northern British Columbia when I worked as a park ranger in Spatsizi in the mid-1970s. I fell in love with that part of the country and its vast, expansive wilderness. As a park ranger, I’d often supply out of Tatogga Lake and fly over Ealue Lake. I remember spotting this funky- looking fishing lodge. As a young man in my 20s, I remember thinking how incredible it would be if I could purchase a lodge like that. My wife Gail and I ended up purchasing the lodge in 1987. We have raised our children there. Without a doubt, it is the most special place in Canada for me.
Ealue Lake is home to the Tāhłtān Nation. When we lost the battle for Todagin Mountain, which is now the site of an open-pit copper and gold mine adjacent to our lodge, it was devastating. I remember my daughter taking off in one of our old chestnut canoes. I found her in the darkness sobbing. She was very attached to the lake and was deeply bothered by the mining project.
I promised her that no matter what unfolded with the mine, we’d wait it out. I told her when the mine is finally exhausted, I might not be alive to experience the return of the world or the return of silence to the lake, but she would be. And her children would be, too. That’s the sense of conti- nuity and loyalty that I’ve learned from the Tāhłtān, among many other things. The lake has been such a rich, important anchor in my life. As Canadians, we are predominantly urban people, but we all yearn to live on the edge of the wild.