Three Against the Wilderness

Eric Collier – writer and conservationist

Posted in Eric Collier by stewartjc on March 14, 2010

Eric Collier is a forgotten pioneer of conservation and the reintroduction of animals to a habitat where they have been driven to extinction by man.

He brought beavers – and much other wildlife – back to a dessicated landscape west of the great Fraser River in Canada. Collier told his story in a book published in New York in 1959 – Three Against the Wilderness.

In interviews recorded in 2006, his son Veasy, who was his partner in a remarkable venture in the wilds of British Columbia, brought that story up to date.

Eric Collier died in 1966. Veasy died in 2012.

Go to the pages listed on the right to explore the story.


Easy Collier’s great grandmother and the Chilcotin War

Posted in Uncategorized by stewartjc on March 27, 2018

When Eric Collier met his wife-to-be, he also encountered her 97-year-old grandmother, a native Indian whom he calls Lala in the book. He says it was she who inspired them to ‘give Meldrum Creek back to the beavers’, with her stories of a time (before the white man came) when the area was rich with wildlife, sustained by the water retained by beaver dams.

Veasy Collier’s great-grandmother (whom he knows as Chesahatna or Nancy Swanson) was a member of the Chilcotin (Tsilhqot’in) nation, who gave their name to a large area of British Columbia.

First Nations chiefs, 1867 (Engraving) Photo: Archives Canada

Veasy Collier talked about his great-grandmother and tells a story of her part in a history which is still raw today – the Chilcotin War and the hanging of five chiefs in 1864.
[Click on the ‘play’ arrow to hear the interview clip below.]

The Tsilhqot’in First Nation commemorate the execution of the five chiefs on Lhats’as?in Memorial Day (October 26). This war song was recorded at the event held at Riske Creek in 2006.

In March 2018, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologised and spoke of his ‘great regret’ for the hanging got the Tsilhqotin chiefs. “We honour and recognise six Tsilhqot’in chiefs – men who were treated and tried as criminals in an era where both the colonial government and the legal process did not respect the inherent rights of the Tsilhqot’in people,” he said.

A pathfinder in the world of conservation

Posted in Conservation by stewartjc on March 14, 2010

In 1959 Eric Collier published Three Against the Wilderness, a book based on the life he led – as a trapper – with his wife and son, in a remote part of Canada.

The Colliers’ home in the ‘wilderness’ © Wil Stewart

Eric Collier was ‘a man ahead of his time’, according to Andrew Anaka, Conservation Officer with the Ministry of Environment, based in Williams Lake, British Columbia in 2006.

[Click on the ‘play’ button to hear the interview clip below]

Image: © Photawa |

Find out more about the Canadian beaver.

Interesting information also here.