Dark Woods and Rouge Rivers

From the ML archives. Text and photos by Bruce Kirkby.

Photojournalist and explorer Bruce Kirkby finds extreme beauty in Canada’s far-flung and precious wild spaces.

 

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After moving to the little town of Kimberley, B.C., my wife and I decided we needed to know the new neighborhood a little better.  So hoisting packs, we walked out the backdoor, into the forest, and for 12 days followed game trails, logging roads, and alpine ridges to cross the Purcell Range and reach Crawford Bay on Kootenay Lake.  We had our two-year-old son Bodi with us, and I took this picture on the shores of a high alpine tarn, on the third day, near the headwaters of Boulder Creek. BRUCE KIRKBY PHOTO.

 

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A raft drifts pass enormous icebergs in Alsek Lake – part of the Yukon’s grand Tatshenshini/Alsek River system.  Situated just 20 kilometres shy of the Pacific Ocean, in the shadow of Mount Fairweather, three immense glaciers calve into the waters of this magical, silent lake.  And boats must keep their distance from the bergs, which can roll violently, and without warning, exposing the 90 percent lurking beneath the surface. BRUCE KIRKBY PHOTO.
A raft drifts pass enormous icebergs in Alsek Lake – part of the Yukon’s grand Tatshenshini/Alsek River system.  Situated just 20 kilometres shy of the Pacific Ocean, in the shadow of Mount Fairweather, three immense glaciers calve into the waters of this magical, silent lake.  And boats must keep their distance from the bergs, which can roll violently, and without warning, exposing the 90 percent lurking beneath the surface. BRUCE KIRKBY PHOTO.

 

Once the private domain of a German duke, this 55,000-hectare chunk of the southern Selkirk Mountains became the largest privately held conservation property in Canada in 2010 and the flagship of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.  Home to threatened populations of caribou, grizzly and wolverine, Darkwoods spreads over 15 watersheds, holds over 50 alpine lakes, and rises from the shores of Kootenay Lake to peaks of 2400m. BRUCE KIRKBY PHOTO.
Once the private domain of a German duke, Darkwoods, a 55,000-hectare chunk of the southern Selkirk Mountains, became the largest privately held conservation property in Canada in 2010 and the flagship of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.  Home to threatened populations of caribou, grizzly and wolverine, Darkwoods spreads over 15 watersheds, holds over 50 alpine lakes, and rises from the shores of Kootenay Lake to peaks of 2400m. BRUCE KIRKBY PHOTO.

 

 Nestled in the lee of Ellesmere, in Canada’s high Arctic, Axel Heiberg is the world’s third-largest uninhabited island. When I joined a team trekking across Axel Heiberg in the summer of 2010, we were the only four people on an island half the size of Iceland.  Along the way we passed azure lakes, thousand-foot cliffs, deep canyons with echoing whitewater, glaciers, jagged peaks, Peary caribou, wolves and muskox.  We also happened upon this lovely blue stream, cutting through the sedimentary rock. BRUCE KIRKBY PHOTO.

Nestled in the lee of Ellesmere, in Canada’s high Arctic, Axel Heiberg is the world’s third-largest uninhabited island. When I joined a team trekking across Axel Heiberg in the summer of 2010, we were the only four people on an island half the size of Iceland.  Along the way we passed azure lakes, thousand-foot cliffs, deep canyons with echoing whitewater, glaciers, jagged peaks, Peary caribou, wolves and muskox.  We also happened upon this lovely blue stream, cutting through the sedimentary rock. BRUCE KIRKBY PHOTO.

 

Rouge National Urban Park For decades a network of grassroots volunteers have worked to protect the deeply incised valleys of the Rouge and Little Rouge Rivers, a region of extreme biodiversity hidden amid the suburbs of Metropolitan Toronto's East End. In 2012, the federal government pledged $143 million to the creation of Canada's first national urban park.  During the snowstorms of February, I spent two days hiking and camping among these last remaining stands of Carolinian forest, within sight of the downtown core. I was struck by the number of others I found using the wildlands. If the Rouge National Urban Park works, it could change our country's relationship with national parks; and at a time when 82 percent of Canadians live in urban centres, that is a sign of hope. BRUCE KIKRBY PHOTO.
Rouge National Urban Park:
For decades a network of grassroots volunteers have worked to protect the deeply incised valleys of the Rouge and Little Rouge Rivers, a region of extreme biodiversity hidden amid the suburbs of Metropolitan Toronto’s East End. In 2012, the federal government pledged $143 million to the creation of Canada’s first national urban park. During the snowstorms of February, I spent two days hiking and camping among these last remaining stands of Carolinian forest, within sight of the downtown core. I was struck by the number of others I found using the wildlands. If the Rouge National Urban Park works, it could change our country’s relationship with national parks; and at a time when 82 percent of Canadians live in urban centres, that is a sign of hope. BRUCE KIKRBY PHOTO.

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