Three Against the Wilderness

How beavers made the ‘wilderness’ bloom


Image: © Photawa | Dreamstime.com

The Colliers rebuilt the ruined dams of beavers which had been hunted to extinction, bringing water back to the marshes and lakes of the Meldrum Creek catchment. Muskrats, owls, deer, moose, geese and ducks returned to what had been a parched landscape vulnerable to forest fires. Then, finally, the Colliers brought back the beavers – an achievement recognised at the time by the British Columbia Game Department.

One of the most striking of Collier’s discoveries was that a healthy natural environment depended on the active participation of a wild animal – in this case the beaver. It was the beaver dams – and the water they retained – which had made the area so rich and diverse; it was the extinction of the beaver which led directly to the degradation of the natural environment as man (having destroyed the dam builder) demolished the dams in a self-defeating search for water.

As a boy, Veasy Collier faced the harsh Canadian winters with his parents, Eric and Lillian. He learned to hunt with his father and helped rebuild the old beaver dams which were the foundations of ecological regeneration.

Veasy Collier talked about why his father rebuilt the dams.
[Click on the ‘play’ arrow to hear the interview clip below.]

Eric Collier brought water back to a dessicated landscape, prone to forest fires. The Chilcotin area is still vulnerable to wildfires.

The Williams Lake Tribune reported on 6 August 2018:

The BC Wildfire Service is reporting 13 new wildfires were discovered in the Cariboo Fire Centre Sunday, Aug. 5.

Three were discovered in the Horsefly area, all of which are 0.01 hectares.

Six new fires were discovered in the 100 Mile Fire Zone, the largest being the Whale Lake fire estimated at one hectare in size. One 4.1 hectare fire was identified in the Chilcotin zone (later determined to be in Coastal Fire Centre jurisdiction), one spot fire in the Williams Lake area and the remaining two fires were located in the Quesnel Fire Zone.

There are a total of 78 active wildfires in the Cariboo Fire Centre, 33 fires are in Out of Control status, 19 are in Being Held status, and 26 wildfires are in Under Control Status. A total of 14 wildfires were called out yesterday.

Read the full report.

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