is about a remote area in west central British Columbia, Canada
called the West Chilcotin. Surrounded by numerous glacial mountain
ranges, alpine lakes teeming with wild Rainbow Trout, and full
of wildlife. Living here goes from no running water or electricity
to spacious log homes with all the conveniences and without
Wilderness Adventures - Dec., Week Two/2007
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like
'Lake Monsters' - just go into Archives on the lower left side
of this page.
Rolling over an image will give you its description.
Check out the Picture
of the Day.
The End Of The Line
folks, tonight at midnight will spell that last of the
year 2007. I don't know about you but I'm still
not sure where I misplaced 2006. Even as a child
I remember overhearing adults comment on how much faster
time goes as you grow older. Boy, they weren't kidding!
It's gone by so fast that every once in awhile I still
catch myself starting my cheques off with 199....oops,
wrong year. Nope, wrong century!
Yesterday we spent the afternoon decorating the Hall with
John, a.k.a. Oscar, (as in the grouch on Sesame Street)
and Len, both members of the community that you can always
call on to help out. Surprisingly, neither are Directors
but they're always there. It would seem that many of our
Directors went out snowmobiling yesterday. Hall? What
John has great imagination and should have been a wedding
planner. (He'd kill me if he knew I just said that!) Man,
there's enough shiny stuff hanging around that
Hall that we won't even need to turn the lights on!
It looks great though. Spent yesterday evening putting
together snackies and since I'll spend most of today doing
the same thing, this won't be a long blog.
Getting ready for our party of the year really isn't that
big a deal but it's time consuming enough that I wouldn't
mind handing off the responsibility to someone else next
year. Not that it will happen. We just don't have enough
people in this community and many community members have
done their stint over the years so it's our turn. I would
rather concentrate on 2010. No....not because the winter
Olympics are coming to British Columbia. Oh, you didn't
know that? Well, they are. But that aside, we had
a huge blowout on the ice to ring in the new century in
1999/2000. We talked about having a New Year's
party on the ice again a couple of years ago, but since
it turned out to be such a huge job to put on, we've kicked
around the idea of waiting ten years to ring in 2010,
I don't know if I've described the 2000 party before,
but you can bet everyone still talks about it in these
parts. It was something else considering it was put on
with short notice, (just a bunch of people sitting around
talking one day and they came up with an idea, and then
more ideas) but a lot of people jumped in to make it great.
The ice was really good that year but the guys still cleared
a huge parking lot on the ice well away from the party
area, which was also cleared of snow. Then they drilled
holes all around the party area and planted everyone's
left over Christmas tree or other little saplings in the
ice. They strung the trees with lights and ran a long
extension cord over to The Dean where Donn kindly donated
the electricity for the duration.
The party area consisted of a place to play broom
ball and skate, a dance floor, and areas for the huge
bonfires fed by a logging truck load of trees.
The guys built an ice bar carved out of two foot blocks
of ice, and then put colored light bulbs behind it so
that the ice lit up with an unearthly glow. They brought
in a bunch of hay bales so that everyone, especially the
kids, had a warm place to sit around the dance floor.
A kind community member brought in several thousand dollars
worth of spectacular fireworks and soft drinks for the
kids were free for the taking. Music blared out over the
lake, over excited kids were running around a hundred
miles an hour and snowmobiles zipped back and forth, some
pulling kids around on sleds and inner tubes.
By after midnight, the huge bonfires had burned into the
ice slightly forming a saucer shape filled with melt water
under them and a slope toward the fire. You would
be standing there talking to someone warming your backside
when you would slowly start sliding backward into the
fire and someone would have to grab you. Of course
the more liquor imbibed, the more often people started
to slide in and we still get a laugh at the expense of
those we had to pull out of the water laying under the
fires most often.
Clean up crews over the next few days made absolutely
sure nothing was left on the ice that could possibly endanger
Nimpo Lake and you would never have known one of the best
New Year's parties I have ever been to had been held there.
Enough people have talked about it that I would like to
see the event repeated. A lot of people from Anahim Lake
came to the party and you would want to make sure you
had a van for those folks, but an ice party sure is nice
for the people that live on Nimpo Lake. Then everyone
can go home with no need to drive on the highway, or any
public road for that matter and I guess if the
police want to attend the event, they're more than welcome
but since they can't take a public vehicle on lake ice,
they'll have to walk out.
Some folks, including resorts, often have an annual New
Year's party on the ice, mostly for the kids. Ice fishing
during the day with hot dog roasts and then a hot dinner
and party in the evening with some fireworks. It's a really
nice way to spend New Year's, especially if there are
kids around because then they can be involved in the event.
Unlike the States, our laws are so draconian when
it comes to having children at an event where there is
also a liquor bar that many people with families
often will not attend just for that reason.
In any case, as I reminisce over parties past, the goodies
are not being made for tonight so I'll finish up
with saying this: I have received numerous emails
in the past two years from people who have commented on
an article, or encouraged me to continue with the blog,
commenting that they really enjoy reading it and keeping
up with what's happening in the Chilcotin. Or, as in the
case of the recent RCMP articles, expressing my own, sometimes
very strong, opinions. Surprisingly, on that subject alone,
I received numerous emails of support, encouragement,
and some excellent resource information and material.
I would really like to thank those folks for sending that
on to me.
For those of you that have sent me short bits, tales or
stories about life out here in the Chilcotin years ago,
thank you. You have no idea how much fun it is to read
real time stories about the 'old days',
and I think folks who read the blog get a real kick out
of it as well. Thank you as well to those of you that
have sent me an email about your vacation and allowed
me to reprint it.
I've met so many great people because of this blog that
I only still know through email, or that I have had the
pleasure of meeting and we have become friends. And there
are many of you that I still look forward to meeting in
person one day. I thank you all for patiently wading
through the blog when I get long winded, or patiently
waiting when I get too busy to write anything.
There many days when I just don't have anything to say
of any interest to anyone, or days when I just want to
quit because writing it is so time consuming. But I wouldn't
feel right about doing that because through your emails
I have learned that people who are away or are coming
for a vacation really want to know what the weather is
doing, (Ruddy cold last night and today, by the way, with
temps down to -24C or -11F last night.) or rely on daily
updates such as ice out or ice in, Break up, forest fires,
etc. without having to call friends up here. So I just
want you all to know that your continued encouragement
and readership is what keeps me wanting to write the blog.
I really appreciate it. Thank you!
Happy New Year to all of you and I'll see you in
Jeepers, now I have to get used to writing that on my
received an interesting email from a fellow that worked
on Rimarko Ranch in the late 1960's as head fishing guide.
If you recall, I wrote about Rimarko Ranch located on
Charlotte Lake last year. It has a long and colorful history
and you'll find a little bit of it at The
Remarkable Tales of Rimarko
about halfway down the page.
Do you know something? I just realized how ruddy
useless the search function is on this site. I
was just trying to find the reference to Rimarko Ranch
above and finally had to resort to Google Search to find
the page I was looking for. How frustrating. I can just
see people that read this blog nodding their heads going,
"Yeah, dimwit. We could have told you that!"
Sorry about that folks. I'll have to see if I can hunt
down a different search function for this website when
I get time.
Although I've made reference to the past owner of the
resort on Charlotte Lake, a lot about Rimarko Ranch
seems shrouded in mystery. Perhaps because most
people living in the area just didn't hob nob with the
folks at Rimarko. Kind of out of their league for the
most part, I think.
Tom, the fellow that wrote me, has given me a little insight
on the fascinating owner of the famous resort and given
me kind permission to reprint his email as follows:
- "I was reading about Rimarko ranch. I worked
there for a couple of summers in the late 60's as head
fishing guide, among other things, and fell in love with
the area and Canada and immigrated here in 1972. Got to
know many locals of the Anahim area. Anyway, the owner
was Chalmers H Morse Jr., originally from Lake Forest,
Ilinois, and later from Pasadena, CA. His daughter was
named Charlotte, as was his mother and grand mother and
he had a son, C.H Morse 3rd. He was from the Fairbanks
Morse company fortune (weigh scales, PT boats, other things).
He had been looking for a place for a resort and his plane
was running out of gas when they made an emergency landing
at the ranch. When he heard the name of the lake, he took
it as a sign and bought the place. The story I heard was
that he had a trust fund that yielded several million
dollars a year, but it could not be used for any business
reason, only personal use. That caused him some financial
problems in maintaining the resort.
All of the guests were very rich, and I learned there
that money did not make you a happy person. One group
of guests was the board of directors of Standard Oil.
The Canadian air force flew in a large transport just
to deliver their liquor and hors' d'heourves.
I have some pictures of my time there, as well as many
memories and stories. I've got to get back there again."
sent a neat picture of the staff from August 1970 stating,
me on the far right, wearing the sport coat and tie. It
was taken just before we all flew out."
like a pretty fun bunch to me! I'm posting the picture
up on the right but because it won't show up well, I'll
also post it on the Picture
of the Day.
I'm hoping to hear more from Tom since the infamous Rimarko
Ranch has so much history and it sounds like he could
give us some great insight.
On the local front, it dropped to -20C or -4F while I
was at poker last night but had already come up 3 degrees
by the time I got home. The temperature fluctuations
are really unusual this winter but last night
may have been partly due to fog. I'm not sure where it
was rolling in from but I can only assume Charlotte Lake
where some of the lake is still open, and McClinchy, because
we could see fog roiling up above the foothills between
us and Kleena Kleene this morning. Midmorning was nice
with the sun breaking through high haze but some heavy
grey moved in from over the mountains and brought fine
snow this afternoon. Looks like we're going to get some
nice weather New Year's Eve though. That would be great
because we're putting on the New Year's Eve dance again
at the Nimpo Lake Community Hall and the turnout will
be much better if people aren't fighting snow on the roads
to get there. For the locals that read this, if you need
tickets, they're at the stores. Not many places you pay
only $7.50 for a dance, cheap drinks, free food, designated
drivers and great company! Everyone's welcome!
Boxing Day Snowmobile Run
four of us went out on a great snowmobile run. There
were only four because a lot of people take off for the
holidays but my brother is in from Ohio and really
wanted to get a ride in before he had to go back. A trail
had been broken in through Goat Pass the week before so
we made it to Serenity Valley on top without incident
after a nice stop at kilometer 24 on Charlotte Main. We
got out from under overcast down around Nimpo into bright
sunshine, which warmed up the temperatures considerably
and made for a pleasant sit on the machines while we admired
Charlotte Lake from high above. Not all of the huge lake
is frozen and you could see great patches of deep blue,
indicating open water. At our rest stop I took pictures
of wolf tracks that we had followed up Charlotte Main.
My best guess was that the wolf pack consisted of at least
four animals and up to six and one set of tracks were
pretty big. It looked like they were checking for the
moose that feed on buck brush in the meadows along Charlotte
The snow is pretty deep on the trail in places but we
had a good run through the pass. However, the wind
has very obviously been just wicked up there.
The lake was covered in hard, bumpy drifts and the usual
fun sidehilling going through the narrow pass itself wasn't
possible because there were a lot of exposed rocks. Serenity
Valley was also hardened by the wind but we sat and had
our lunch there anyway.
Although the guys mentioned breaking out a trail through
the trees to the 'Play Bowl', I admit I was not keen.
First of all, although in the military, very fit and agile,
my brother is still a novice rider and was on my Mom's
new Christmas present to herself, which although broke
in, still hadn't received its first scratch. I'm not a
bad rider but I hate being stuck in deep snow, and I figured
it would be way nasty for our little party of four.
We chose to ride to the Inukshuk staying out of the trees
and sidehilling over the windswept rocky hillsides instead.
We were just about blown off of our feet by a cold howling
wind up at the Inukshuk and didn't waste a lot of time
taking pictures. It wasn't until we left there and
descended below tree line on the way to the 'Cornice'
playbowl that the trouble started.
Aside from being deep, the snow was really funny, of sugar
consistency with a crust formed by wind on top. Break
through the crust, and there was no bottom. To me it was
a cross between cornstarch and sugar, slippery as hell
and sidehilling in it was not easy! More than once I couldn't
get my machine to turn, but actually only got stuck once
after falling into a hole. It wasn't a bad stuck, just
the kind you need help with. However, my brother
didn't fare as well, and ended up with several stucks
to his credit, partly because the track on his
sled didn't have the deep lugs of a mountain machine.
Logan didn't get stuck so much as turned over several
times because he was still trying to get used to the different
kind of riding on the new style of Polaris. My brother
and I both dove for our cameras after putting them away
when Logan gave us a fine Kodak moment after taking a
final run at the 'Cornice'. Conditions after leaving there
weren't helpful at all and both Andy and I started to
submarine a couple of times coming down through the Lonesome
Lake burn. Get off the trail at all, or break through
the crust, and you better give'r snoose or get out the
shovel. Not my favorite conditions but since not
many people have been up on the mountain yet this year,
there aren't much for trails. Lots of great powder though.
We had to go to dinner down at the other end of Nimpo
Lake so we couldn't spend too long up above. It was just
as well that we left when we did because we still didn't
make it home until nearly five, just in time to clean
up and drive to supper. Getting home is more time consuming
than usual because we still have to come through the back
trails to get home rather than down the lake. Terry B.
has been up flying and suggested that if we do snowmobile
down the length of the lake, stick close to the shore
because the ice in the middle may still be unsafe, and
there's a lot of overflow everywhere. However,
Bill came across the lake from his place today drilling
all the way, and says it seems plenty safe on the south
end of the Main Arm. We actually suspected it would be
since it froze up several days before the middle of the
Main Arm and before that big snowfall.
All in all, it was an excellent day yesterday with perfect
weather and lots of snow, and a super way to celebrate
Boxing Day. Today was a different matter.
It dropped below -20C or 4 below zero Fahrenheit
last night and we woke up to heavy overcast and very fine
snow this morning. It didn't change much throughout
the day and although you'll rarely find either of us just
sitting around during the day, it turned out to be a perfect
day to watch some movies about Ice Road Truckers that
we borrowed from my brother. Tell you what, if you've
never heard of it or seen the show, check it out. It was
a series that premiered this summer on History Television
about truckers that have a two month window to haul cargo
over hundreds of miles of ice roads to remote settlements
and mines in Canada's north. The only other way into these
places is by plane, both exorbitant in cost and impossible
to haul some of the heavy equipment needed into the diamond
mines by plane.
We're quite familiar with driving our own ice road
on Nimpo Lake in winter so we might know a little
more about it than some of the rookies that first haul
over the winter roads in the north, but still, the series
is quite a thrill to watch and we had to get it all watched
before my brother returned to Ohio. As I said, if you've
an A type personality and you're crazy as hell, you'll
really enjoy this. You can buy the three DVD box set of
the first year's series online for about twenty dollars
from History Television.
So...I made out like a bandit on Christmas Day and one
of the gifts will be useful for this blog. Since
I take a huge number of pictures, a lot on the fly and
a lot of long distance shots, a telephoto lens is very
handy. Except that the other day while trying
to take pictures of those coyotes on the lake, I discovered
that Andy's SLR telephoto lenses were not adaptable to
my camera as we had initially thought they were. Fortunately,
I received a telephoto with built in image stabilizer
and man, can it suck the images in! Unbelievable!
I'm so excited about the long distance shots I might now
be able to take, that I just can't wait until an animal
crosses Nimpo Lake way out there.
Another large gift was a real mind bender and absolutely
perfect. There had been some secret project going on in
the garage and I had been made aware that it was the assembly
of my Christmas present. I had been curious about it ever
since Andy needed the help of a neighbour to unload this
large, heavy object from the back of the truck. I was
told it was a snowblower and it was referred to as such
by everyone that laughingly mentioned how much I was going
to like my new 'snowblower'.
On Christmas morning, Andy opened up the garage doors
to a shiny stainless steel barbecue so big it's just about
the size of a small car and a cadillac in its own right.
I barbecue year round and our poor, beat up, old cast
barbecue had to be moved from the deck in front of the
house to the back this fall just so I could cook on it.
The bottom was about burned out of it and since our prevailing
winds would nail it head on, the flames would be sucked
right out the bottom and so would the heat. On a
cold windy day flames would be blowing like a blowtorch
toward the deck floor while food on the barbecue
sogged on the grill and stayed ice cold to the touch.
In addition to that, the hinge on the lid broke a couple
of years ago and a bolt was used to replace it. I'm sure
you're thinking, "How ingenious!" Except that
the lid no longer stayed straight up but rather flipped
right back and you had to lean right over the grill to
slowly lower the grill to its stop point. Thus putting
both hair, eyebrows and certain portions of the upper
anatomy in danger of singing. Needless to say, I'm pretty
happy about my little silver cadillac and somewhat relieved
that it didn't turn out to be the infamous snowblower
I had been hearing about. I'm gonna put bigger wheels
on it, spike that rotisserie motor up a bit, and drive
it around the lake!
Hope you all had as great a set of holidays as I,
and that Santa treated you equally well.
our family to yours, here's wishing you a wonderful Christmas
Eve and a very Merry Christmas tomorrow!
A Time For Change
think that it's about time to wrap up the series on the
RCMP. Frankly, I'm sick of writing about them and I imagine
most people are tired of reading about them. There
seems to be some indication that changes to the national
police force will be forthcoming. Public outcry
may actually force an independent body for internal investigations
to be set up rather than the RCMP being able to investigate
their own. It's apparent they aren't always capable of
complete objectivity when investigating their own police
officers. I think the Ian Bush case is a very good example
of that and you'll find a link in the article below expanding
on that very thing.
Although the RCMP have been highly resistant to
reexamining the use of tasers by police officers,
it looks as though there may be some changes there as
well. At least define more clearly the circumstances under
which officers are permitted to use tasers. The old guy
in Kelowna that is deaf and blind on one side that was
pulled over by a police officer and tasered through the
window of his car is a very good example of the complete
misuse of tasers. The RCMP have finally admitted that
there was a mistake made and the officer responsible will
be disciplined when he returns from holidays. I would
say mistake is probably an understatement. Apparently
the officer stated in his report that the man threw his
arm up and resisted arrest. I don't think so Tim.
The man was sitting in his car, and the newscast I saw
showed the man with a taser burn on the back of his hand.
Does that mean the cop was so pissed off at the
man that he was going to taser him in the face or head
through the window of his vehicle? (The man had
been double parked while he picked up his wife from in
front of a building. The cop was going to write the man
a ticket when the old guy got mad and sped off. His wife
made him pull over a block later and wait for the police
officer, which he did.) When the cop approached the car
he had his taser out and obviously made threats to the
man because the old gentleman threw up his hand, presumably
to protect his face. The back of his hand was tasered.
I think that the only reason the man and his wife brought
this to the news was because it was right around when
the video of the YVR tasering had been released and I
think the ensuing public outcry over the Dziekanski case
gave them the courage to come forward. Reports of
wrongful taserings and deaths from tasering suddenly started
to bubble forth all over the country. People who
had been fighting for some time to find out why a family
member died in police custody after being tasered were
finally getting public attention.
As with anything, a wrong can be committed many, many
times and trying to find out what's going on is like hitting
a brick wall until a catalytic event brings it into the
light of day and under public scrutiny. In the case of
the RCMP, which is a closed society unto itself, trying
to get past them to the truth can be difficult if not
impossible. Supposedly, in the inner sanctums, upper
echelon RCMP have called themselves the biggest, toughest,
meanest, gang in Canada. I wish I could find proof
that's been said. But true or not, I think it an appropriate
About all we've seen from RCMP in most cases, especially
initially in the Dziekanski case, is stonewalling. An
attitude of, "The public doesn't need to know."
The RCMP push the perception that they do no wrong. Unfortunately,
when they do, they do a damned good job of closing the
ranks, covering it up and presenting a blank wall that's
impenetrable to family or friends that have been victimized
by RCMP, right up to MP's questioning the Force's actions.
Somehow, some way, and a long time ago, the RCMP strayed
from Sir Robert Peele's concept of a police force for
John Brecknock sent me an old newspaper article dated
October 1965 titled, "The Mounties. What Happened
To Their Image?" In that long article the RCMP again
came under attack, and Parliament was calling for investigation
into how they were doing things. The headline sentence
on the article reads, "Never
before have the great red coated police been the object
of criticism and ridicule. The RCMP boss believes that
this is all a sinister plot to destroy the police."
It looks like the biggest problem at that time was the
RCMP's penchant for rooting out the 'Red Menace' or anyone
that had any communist leanings. This included staking
out University students and their professors and a 1939
booklet on crime and police work used by the RCMP as copied
in the article states..."The
Communists are, on principle, traitors to everything sacred
in Canadian democracy...underneath there still beats a
black heart of terror and dictatorship."
Boy, aren't you glad those days of hysteria are over?
Most of the article is about the handling, or mishandling
of an investigation. Drilling deeper into the article,
you start pulling out some gems that work very well to
describe the same problems we see in the Force today.
One reference is to the 'Needless delay' in an investigation.
Another, the 'Offhand attitude' displayed by the force.
A member of Parliament at the time that was a leading
critic of the RCMP stated that "Nicholson's
resignation marked the end of the RCMP's 'sacred cow image'
and the start of a more critical attitude by Parliament.
Before the Newfoundland strike, to attack the RCMP was
like attacking the Queen. As a result, the RCMP had gone
unchallenged and weaknesses allowed to grow."
I agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly and I think
it still holds true today. There is nothing wrong with
holding your authority figures in high regard and treating
the Force with respect. But this breed has long acted
more like a secret society than a force tasked with protecting
the public. The reason for this? Again, though the following
was written in 1965 and there's no longer boots and spurs,
I think you can get a very clear idea of what the RCMP
were turning out for recruits then, and now.
The following is quoted from the same article and I think
holds very true even for today. "Former
Commissioner Harvison says the strength of the RCMP lies
in its splendid esprit de corps, instilled in recruits
during their extensive, 10-month training program. Perhaps
this is the force's weakness, too, for the limitations
of the military mind are well known. At Rockcliffe and
Regina recruits are given some technical instruction but
the core of their training is a make-or-break of drills
in spurred boots, salutes for everything that moves, spit-and-polish
discipline and an emphasis on grooming riding horses that
borders on the mystic....Like priests, the recruit must
be celibate; marriage is forbidden for two years after
enlistment. All this combines to produce a man whose heart
and soul are devoted to the force, whose very raison d'etre
is the uniform of the RCMP." And therein
lies the problem.
The purpose of a police force is to serve and protect
the public. We hear the phrase, 'serve and protect' all
the time. But stop and think about the first word. Serve.
Sir Robert Peele's concept of a police force was one that
served the public. Not a self serving, self
protective entity with a military structure that is about
itself first and the very reason for its existence scoring
second place. And sometimes I think that our present RCMP
force has lost track of the meaning of 'Serve'.
A closed society, arrogance, an Us Against Them mentality
and because they deal so much with the scum of the earth,
they think that everyone's a bad guy.
There is no place on the Force in an aging society
for a cop that gets angry enough at a half deaf, half
blind senior citizen to taser him through his car window.
Nor is there any place in our society for a cop that gets
angry enough to shoot a man and then lie about how it
happened. There is no place in our society for a Force
structured on the military. Regardless of what the
police think, we are not at war here. They are not at
war with the public. This is not Iraq or Afghanistan.
The most successful organization is the one that knows
how to work together. In this case, the general law abiding
public and the police are the organization
and should be working together to beat out the criminal
Recommendations have been presented in the last week or
so as to what changes need to be made. The use of the
taser is being reexamined, but more importantly, the training
of individuals in the RCMP is being looked at. And so
it should. I believe that's the key to improving
the working relationship between the public and the Force.
You join the RCMP as a snot nosed kid, receive the 'tear
them down to nothing and then rebuild them into a Mountie'
military style training that you do, and then get sent
to some little jerkwater like our community, or the Northwest
Territories, or some other little place to get your rookie
training where there's not much more to do but break up
domestic disputes, pick up drunks and set up roadblocks.
You often are not accompanied or trained by a senior officer
because there aren't any or there aren't enough in your
detachment. Then something happens and you are thrown
into a reality that neither your training or your life
experiences has prepared you for.
Personally, some of the best cops I've met are the
ones that were quite a bit older when they joined the
force, or quit and then rejoined a few years later.
I strongly believe that getting out there and actually
living as a member of the public before
becoming a member of a police force is some of the best
training you could possibly want to become a good cop.
One that recognizes the importance of community from both
sides of the fence.
If you can go by that old article from 1965, it would
seem that every few years the RCMP goes through an identity
crisis. Why not? We all do. Every once in awhile in your
life you have to take a long, hard look at yourself and
decide if you really like yourself as a person. Especially
if a good friend or mate has pointed out something about
you that they really don't like. Over the years I think
that most people do a self analysis to see if they are
a good human being doing a good job of contributing to
society in one manner or another. And just as we
sometimes have to stop and take stock of ourselves, so
should the national police force.
Here's an example of what I'm talking about. If someone
comes to me and says, "Hey, you know, I really hate
that about you. It hurts me when you do it." I have
to take into account the person that said it. If I consider
them to be a trustworthy friend or mate, and I'm willing
to accept their criticism as constructive, not intentionally
hurtful, then I'm going to be doing some soul searching.
I might ask for a second opinion. I might say, "Hey
Joe, someone told me I have a habit of doing this. Do
I? And do you find it hurtful or annoying?" If I
get an affirmative answer, then some changes are in order
and I set about making those changes to the best of my
That's on a personal level. On a national level, if
you are a force that is carrying weaponry and have been
tasked with serving the public, you damned well better
be doing some self evaluation on a regular basis.
And if there's a lot of criticism on the street and in
the media all across the country, then more than soul
searching is in order. You need to get your head out of
your butt, get a committee together to poll the public,
find out what needs to be changed and start implementing
those changes. Otherwise, you are not serving the public.
You are serving yourself. And eventually you will
reach the state that I believe the RCMP have reached now.
A force that is feared, ridiculed, criticized, hated and
mistrusted, not by criminals, but by the general public.
The very people you've sworn to serve. And unless the
RCMP plan on taking over the country, I think that spells
doom for the organization in the long run.
On a local level, I could make suggestions as to what
could be changed but whether I would be an authority on
the subject is another matter. I am in agreement
with the general consensus that there should be more tribal
police in Anahim Lake. A large part of our population
is native and it's very unfortunate, but the majority
of call outs for the RCMP are on the Reserves, whether
natives causing a problem, drunk and disorderly, or just
drunks having a little nap off of Reserve land.
There is a lot of racism toward whites or non-native people
in this region. The natives here are a pretty shy lot
for the most part but many have an outright dislike and
distrust of white people and particularly white police.
If we are going to have a police force in numbers
so disproportionate to our population, then that force
should at least reflect the culture and ethnicity it is
mostly policing. In other words, if we are forced
to pay for six cops for such a tiny population, then at
least four should be native. And to be honest, I would
have a lot less problem with the numbers if that were
the case, because then I think you would see the police
able to build a much better working relationship with
the Band members based on mutual trust rather than outright
mistrust because of color and ethnic background.
Obviously we don't live in Utopia but if we did, I guess
my suggestion for change would be a willingness for the
local detachment commander to sit down with the community
once again, this time with a little more open mind and
less on the defensive. It's true that at the last meeting
at least one person was pretty belligerent in expressing
their opinion and that isn't always the best way to get
a point across. But by the same token, when a large
portion of a community feels an injustice is being done
to its community by a police force, there's bound to be
some anger. This police force is coming in from
the 'outside' into a community that policed itself for
nearly a century before the first RCMP officer ever arrived.
Whether they liked each other or not, everyone worked
together for survival and they played together to maintain
their humanity. They did quite well before the first cop
arrived, and equally well after the second, third and
fourth cop arrived. Because those first RCMP Members understood
that they were walking into a unique situation. And although
they didn't necessarily come in with hat in hand, they
did come in with the attitude of, "I'm
an RCMP Officer. How may I serve you?" In
return, they quickly had the very public they had sworn
to serve, on their side, and helping them to do their
The jackboot mentality that we are seeing in many cases
now may work in the short run. I often wonder which Members
think to themselves, or out loud to one another, "Well,
it's just tough if the community doesn't like it. What
are they gonna do about it?" Which probably
explains the reason for the level of frustration of a
member of the public that may or may not have fired a
round into the police detachment. We're a pretty polite
bunch of folks out here and you're right, for the most
part, there's not much we can do about it.
But this is an unbelievable country with some pretty unbelievable
people living in it, and if you gave us half a chance,
you would probably leave this place thinking it was the
best experience and best posting you have ever had or
ever will have. Instead, many of you will leave
having unknowingly left behind a legacy of mistrust so
profound that many of us now would never dream of calling
on you in case of an emergency or otherwise. Where
our exuberant youth will grow up not having the tremendous
awe and respect I was raised with for the Mountie, but
with the dislike, mistrust and lack of respect their parents
now have for you and that they have personally learned
in their dealings with you. That's your legacy buddy.
Feel proud. Because I'm sure that the original Northwest
Mounted Police would not be particularly proud of you
or your kind as representatives of the Force they built
on sheer courage.
For our part, we can only hope that as the Members leave
this post and new ones come in, the attitude will change
as well. We've got at least one guy now that seems to
be pretty good. I understand a female Member has come
in now and so far, everyone seems to think pretty highly
of her. With the exception of the mountains that
guard our plateau, all things change pretty quickly in
this world. Perhaps there will be positive changes
on a national level and perhaps those will eventually
trickle down into our little neck of the woods. Then again,
that could be a lot like believing in Santa Claus, but
'tis the season.
I've decided to conclude this series about the RCMP, not
because there isn't lots more to write about, but because
most of the subject is a negative one, and I would much
rather be upbeat and write about the great things in this
country, like the weather! In conclusion, I would like
to thank those RCMP Members and ex-Members that wrote
or contributed material or information to these articles.
Your insight and participation has been both invaluable
and very much appreciated.
I'm dedicating this series of articles to my Dad who died
just before Christmas 15 years ago, but who was instrumental
in raising me with a deep respect for the RCMP and the
men in the Force that he worked with, but who also taught
me to question all things, right or wrong.
Anahim Lake Detachment Commander
Paul Strader addresses comments made at the community
meeting, in the local paper and on this blog, about
policing in Anahim Lake.
The letter was sent to me on December 14 but as you
can read in the last article, I haven't had time to
post a blog since the first week of December. Copy of
the letter as sent to the resortsbc.com address is posted
copy of the letter I wrote the Anahim / Nimpo Lake MESSENGER
on December 12 follows. I addressed comments made during
the community meeting October 25, the paper's published
survey on local policing, and posted on your blog. As
I was responding in part to comments posted on your
blog I fealt it prudent to forward a copy. I have not
included the Christmas community events members of this
detachment are participating in.
December 12, 2007
I wish to address comments printed in Volume 4 Number
6 issue of your publication, expressed at the community
meeting held October 25, and published on the Anahim
Lake & Nimpo Lake Wilderness Adventures blog.
This year eleven local residents are employed on a part-time
or full time basis at this detachment, with three more
waiting final approval. Four other local residents provide
maintenance, janitorial services and snow removal for
the property and buildings.
The topic of road checks creeps into most conversations
and correspondence. The last road check conducted by
this detachment was December 1, eleven days ago. At
the community meeting, one gentleman stated a friend
of his had been visiting. The friend had three beer
to drink and spent the night to avoid the possibility
of being stopped by members of this detachment. The
road checks obviously have a positive effective.
For the persons who commented it was not difficult for
the Anahim Lake members to solve crime, I invite you
to sit through a trial. We must prove beyond a reasonable
doubt to the Court that the person charged did commit
the offence before the Judge can convict or accept a
guilty plea; while ensuring their Charter Rights are
not infringed on.
There is a perception we are not involved in the community.
Here are some of the community functions, activities
and assistance members at this detachment have participated
or provided in 2007; the canoe race, branding, Charlotte
Lake annual picnic, Water skipping (radar for participants
speed), the Anahim Lake Stampede parade, the national
anthem at the Stampede, steak dinners, first work bee
for stampede grounds renovations, cattlemen s dinners,
Anahim Lake School sports day, Anahim Lake School potluck
dinner, Anahim Lake Grade 9 graduation ceremony, Natguntl
oo School awards ceremony, Anahim Lake School Award
ceremony, Anahim Lake School after school sports program,
Remembrance Day, Elders Luncheons, Volleyball league
(spring and fall leagues), Ulkatcho Graduation ceremony,
Catholic Church, Anahim Lake Chapel, Ulkatcho Day Care,
the Christmas Cabaret, delivering fire wood to seniors
in the community (the pine beetle kill cut down on the
RCMP property this year), one memb! er cleans the chimney
of senior in the community who does not have family
to do it for them, and one of the wives volunteers assistance
to the teacher at Natguntl oo School.
It is my understanding that 20 percent of the people
who participated in your survey were not satisfied with
the current service delivery by this detachment. More
significantly 80 percent were.
In closing I wish you and your readers a Merry Christmas,
a safe holiday season and Happy New Year.
Paul Strader Sgt.
Anahim Lake Detachment.
I think it's great to get feedback from the local detachment
and see that the RCMP are willing to address questions
raised about the level of policing. However, I'm
afraid I have to disagree with a couple of comments
made by the NCO.
I did not like the reference at the end of his letter
that states..."More significantly, 80 percent were..."
(happy with the policing.) Because nowhere
in the local paper where the poll was done did it state
that 80 percent of respondents were happy with the level
of policing in Anahim Lake. And there is no way in hell
with all the people that I have spoken to in the past
couple of years that you could find 80
percent of people in the area happy with the level of
policing. I would have a very hard time finding
I'll insert here a copy of the survey that was run in
the local paper with the editor's permission:
RESULTS NOVEMBER POLICING POLL
7 out of 10 Chilcotin people believe that Policing
at its present level is somewhat or very important,
but they were sharply divided. More than half agree
that road blocks may be needed but not as frequently
as what has been experienced in 2007. 20% of this group
feel there should be less police. 10% of Band Members
want Tribal Police and less RCMP, while others want
Tribal Police and RCMP members to remain as is. The
Jury is still out....
(I called Nancy, the editor of the paper, and asked
if she had any figures at all representing that 80%
of the local people were happy with the present level
of policing and she replied, "Most definitely not!")
So my query back to Paul Strader follows:
Thank you for your letter. Would you like it printed
on the blog? I can't do it without your permission,
I only have one question. On the poll listed in the
paper it says ..."20% of this group feel there should
be less police..." Unfortunately, I can't find anywhere
that it says 80% were satisfied with level of policing.
I would very much appreciate it if you could direct
me to where it lists that figure. Obviously, if 80%
of the community is happy with the policing, then I
need to do some serious backtracking on the blog.
Paul's answer follows:
I have included Nancy in my e-mail as I am addressing
the survey. The survey identified 20% of the respondents
were of the opinion there are too many police officers
here. If they are of the opinion there are too many
police officers then they feel they are over policed.
If they feel they are over policed then they are not
be satisfied with the service delivery, as they stated
there is too much.
During the community meeting I explained that the RCMP
falls under the Canada Labour Code. The RCMP has to
provide greater personal safety measures for their employees.
You will not see a decrease in the number of police
officers in this detachment. It is conceivable within
five years there could be a fifth constable position
I conducted a review of a three month period. On average
the residents in the Anahim Lake detachment area received
16.6 hours of on duty policing service per day.
The main reason for writing was to afford the communities
some insight as to the involvement this group of police
officers have with the community at large. The personnel
here are involved and do not remain inside the confines
of their dwellings. I felt readers should also be informed
of the contribution this detachment makes to the local
economy through full time, part time and contracted
In closing, I will leave the posting of my letter on
the blog to you. I forwarded you a copy as I made reference
to comments posted on the blog in my letter. I thank
each of you for the value your media outlets afford
the area. Should either or both of you wish to meet
to discuss any aspects of my letter I willing to do
so. Merry Christmas and a safe and joyous new year.
Now that, folks, is a wonderful letter! It's very carefully
crafted and I appreciate the effort that went into it.
However, it did not answer my question
regarding Paul's declaration that 80% of the people
were satisfied with the current service delivery by
the local detachment. Just because 20% as listed in
the survey expressed unhappiness with a specific point
does not automatically make 80% happy.
That's playing with the numbers.
My other argument is with perception. On the surface
one would perceive from these letters that the Members
are very involved with the community. I can not speak
for the events listed that I have not been to, but in
every one listed that I have been to the
Members attended wearing their uniforms. So I called
around and asked about events that other people have
attended and in nearly all of the cases they knew of
or attended, the Members were wearing their uniforms.
One exception being the recent Christmas Cabaret where
one well liked Member came in casual dress and sang.
(He is also the one that is a part of the Volleyball
So in the list above where Members attended events,
(I'm sorry but I'm not going to include Church attendance
because that is a whole different thing and personally,
I don't believe it should have been included to inflate
the list above.) In most cases, they were wearing
I do not call that becoming a part of the community
and participating as a community member. I call
that a police presence. And to my mind and the
mind of most community members, there's one hell of
I understand fully that when a Member is on duty but
wants to attend an event, it necessitates him wearing
a uniform, but they're not all on duty at the same time,
I assure you!
Finally, the last problem I have is that it looks
like we are getting yet another cop within five years.
That brings it to seven. (I know that they refuse to
include a rookie in the numbers, but I figure if you
have a uniform on, you're a cop. Plain and simple.)
Oh goodie! Just what we need!
Actually, the fact that we are even a training ground
here for recruits is ludicrous to me. What level of
training are you going to get in a tiny place like this
where most of what you do is pick up drunk people and
sit on roadblocks with the occasional break in thrown
in? Is that the level of training that causes a cop
that has only been in training for five months to shoot
someone in the back of the head?
In the end though, I do appreciate the response
to my comments and those made at the community meeting
as well as made in the local paper. It means that someone
is listening to us. They aren't addressing the problem.
But they're listening.
Oh yeah. Speaking of trainees and before I forget, I
came across a more detailed report about the blood spatter
in the Ian Bush case and how it just does not
match up to Constable Koester's version of events. It's
very good bed time reading. Check it out
Bush killing It's a must read!
The Long Absence
everyone. I'm back! And you have my heartfelt
apology for the long absence. It wasn't supposed to be
this long and it's not like I was away. Nope. Instead,
I've been chained to my desk with the exception of a run
to Williams Lake, one afternoon of sledding and an afternoon
of ice fishing (during which Leah pulled in a beauty of
a rainbow!) But don't worry, I paid because that meant
working until late in the night to make up for the time
For some strange reason or other I'm getting work for
website upgrades just before Christmas and I can't really
put them off because I've also got some large design projects
with those clients waiting in the wings for their work
to be done in good time. It seems every time I turn around
now I've got another email or a phone call requesting
work to be done. In the meanwhile, it's less than
a week before Christmas with no tree, no presents wrapped,
little baking done, a house that's a disaster
with company coming and my office so cluttered there's
no place for them to sleep yet. Trying to chase down presents
through the mail that are going to be too late for Christmas,
no decorations up, no time for walks, no time for my partner
or my pets, and family coming in from Ohio that I'm hoping
to spend time with. Which means, I have to get as much
business work done as possible before Christmas so that
I don't have that niggling little guilty feeling over
the holidays for taking time off and enjoying myself.
Merry Christmas to me.....Merry Christmas to me.....
Okay, the pity party is over. On to bigger
and better things! The weather is cold. Yep. Still cold.
I don't think I've seen the temperature raise its little
mercury head above freezing more than twice in the past
several weeks. Hopefully its hard on the mountain pine
beetle. It went to -20C or 4 below zero Fahrenheit this
morning and never got above -4C or 25F yesterday. It's
a gorgeous, blue, blue sky day out there today with the
mountains just gleaming under their fresh dump of snow.
It's been snowing over the mountains for the last few
days and it's getting awfully deep up there!
The guys went out snowmobiling yesterday trying
to break a trail through Goat Pass and up to Trumpeter
Mountain. We had gone out Monday but only made
it as far as the Lonesome Lake fire guard before we had
to turn around. The weather socked in and it was snowing
hard enough that it was very difficult to see. The snow
loses all definition and with no shadows, it's tough to
break trail in deep powder without getting stuck a lot.
I suggested that just the guys go out on the next trip
to break out the trail, so four of them decided to take
another shot at it yesterday, this time with shovels in
hand. A good thing too. It sounds like there were
lots of stucks as they tried to break trail up to and
through the pass. I guess it was sunny enough
so that they could see, but blowing hard and so instead
of trying to make their way to Trumpeter, they went around
by the the inukshuk and then down the Atnarko Valley through
the burn back around to Charlotte Lake. They said it was
a good run and the powder was great but they were late
coming in because they had spent so much time getting
stuck in deep snow.
At least now with a trail packed down by four machines,
it should hold up as a base until more people can get
on it over the holidays. That's the trouble, we've had
early snow and lots of it but there haven't been a lot
of people breaking the trails out yet, and it'll get a
lot tougher left much longer.
Making our way to the mountain is a much longer trip this
year than it normally would be. We still don't dare
travel across the Main Arm of Nimpo Lake on snowmobiles.
That means traveling all the way around the lake on the
back trails to a meeting place on the Hooch, which takes
a good hour compared to just minutes on the Dot Island
route. The back trails are nice riding though with all
the snow, and I guess the whole point is to enjoy the
ride, not just the destination.
Terry B. was up flying for a couple of days this week
and said that the spider holes on Nimpo Lake are
like nothing he's ever seen before and the Main Arm is
downright dangerous looking. We did suspect that
because we had so much snow just after that part of the
lake froze over. So, no ice road again this year...sigh.
We've excellent ice out front and in the bays. Auguring
down for ice fishing showed 10 inches of hard, clear,
black ice with no slush or impurities and you could probably
drive a Mack truck across it with no problem at all. But
that's because the bays froze up during that long cold
snap with no snow in November. At least we can snowmobile
safely across to the boat launch going up to Nimpo for
mail, etc. and eventually maybe we'll have an
ice road there later in the winter. For right now, with
eight to ten inches of snow on the ice, it's just caused
too much overflow. We noticed that when we were pulling
logs for a fire across the ice with the snowmachines and
we were running through slush in spots.
For those of you that don't know what overflow is, it's
caused by the weight of snow on top of ice pushing it
down just like an ice cube in your drink being pushed
down, and the liquid flowing over the edges of
it. Although a more accurate analogy of what it actually
looks like on the lake might be what you see after freezing
a carton of soup or some other liquid in the freezer for
a period of time. After a while, you'll often see that
the ice is higher in the middle of the carton than on
the edges, and may have split leaving a hole or indentation
in the middle. That's very similar to what happens on
the lake. The ice is actually higher in the middle than
on the edges, and where there is stress from the shapes
of several bays, the ice splits in cracks, or opens
up as spider holes to relieve the stress. This
allows water to flow up through the cracks or holes, where
it usually re-freezes almost immediately. But where it
overflows the outer edges of the ice, it stays as water
or slush under the snow because it's insulated from freezing
except in the very coldest of weather. Once exposed, however,
it freezes into solid ice.
Unfortunately, overflow, (water saturating snow) is very
heavy and nearly impossible to push with a plow. For that
matter, you can get stuck in it with a four wheeler or
snowmobile and very easily with a vehicle. So we'll probably
just have to wait until later in the season for an ice
road across the bay. And I guess this means I won't be
cross country skiing across the Main Arm any time soon
since I don't much feel like drowning. Skiing in the woods
looks to be terrific though. The neighbour has been doing
it for weeks now.
We took a trip into Williams Lake the other day to pick
up a snowmobile trailer, a couple of snowmobiles and do
some final Christmas shopping. Crossing the bridge over
the Fraser River at the foot of Sheep Creek was amazing.
The river is full of ice pans and I can see how
they're having flooding problems up in Prince George.
Apparently the Nechako is full of ice that can't make
its way into the Fraser because of the ice on it, so there's
a huge ice jam backed up along the river in the city.
I've posted some of the pictures up on the right.
Tomorrow is officially the first day of winter which you
can certainly tell from how low in the sky and how weak
our winter sun is from the pictures on the right.
I've received a letter from the Sergeant of the
local Anahim Lake RCMP Detachment addressing what I and
the local paper have said about being overpoliced.
Since I'm a great believer in fair play and every dog
having their day, I have his permission to reprint it
here which I will do tomorrow. However, be warned. I disagree
with some of what is declared in the letter and will be
addressing that as well.
For the articles from the first week of December, including
that scary run in with the RCMP up in Dawson Creek, go
The purpose of this web site is to draw attention to a
remote area of west central British Columbia. It is a
beautiful area that relies heavily on tourism. The search
engines don't know much about the West Chilcotin, Anahim
Lake, Nimpo Lake or any of the other small communities
in the region and I hope to change that! Even as large
as this site will eventually be, there just isn't enough
room or time in the day to fully describe this incredible
country but I am going to try scraping away at the tip
of the iceberg, so join me!
the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!