Tuesday, January 19, 2010

10.01 Capilano by James W Morton

Capilano: The Story Of A River (1970) by James W. Morton
Hardcover, McClelland & Stewart, 184 p.

I bought this book because I work for a large portion of the year on this river. As you may be aware, I am a fisheries biologist and the Capilano River a great source of salmon and trout locally.

The story of the Capilano River is really the story of the city of Vancouver. In the late 1800s this city was just the land situated where the Fraser River met the Pacific Ocean. White settlers were slowly carving a town out of the forests and swamps. As the city grew a reliable and fresh source of water was needed and the Capilano fit that bill.

Ever since then the Capilano River has been one of the main sources of drinking water for the ever expanding population of this city. Don't let that lull you into thinking that the Cap is a pristine watershed. Morton spends a large part of his book outlining how this once beautiful and might river has been destroyed by us. The Indians were moved, the giant cedar forests logged, the wildlife shot and the immense runs of coho salmon and steelhead trout decimated. Ultimately, a 300foot high dam was built in the 1950s to assure the city of it's water supply.

While depressing, Morton has written a well researched and readable book with chapters devoted to many of the issues mentioned above as well as many of the crazy and and interesting characters who worked for and against the river. Even after all they have done there it is still an amazing place and I am privileged to work there.

1 comment:

WalkerP said...

That's very cool that you are getting such a knowledge about the river and that you can now add a bit of history to it. Does the Capilano feed into the Fraser or is it it's own river?