The Purcell Suite: Upholding the Wild
by KL Kivi
This anthology of twenty-five essays by Canadian and US writers explores the ecological wonders and beauty of the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia and the USA. With intimate contemplation of the land, work, historical journeys, and explorations into the complex ecology of this range, this book features a diverse selection of writings united by a common sense of place. Authors include Stan Rowe, Luanne Armstrong, Rick Bass, Janisse Ray, Tom Wayman, Pat Morrow and Fred Wah. This book is a fundraiser for the Jumbo Wild! campaign and to conserve the wilderness values of the Purcell Range. “A stunning collection of insightful journeys through an inspiring and diverse landscape.” Wade Davis, Author and Anthropologist
Published in the Rocky Mountain Outlook June 21, 2007
Book launch aimed to help preserve Purcell wilderness
by Lynn Martel
Perhaps ironically, one of the most recognizable photos ever captured by early Banff photographer Byron Harmon, was not taken in his home mountains, the Canadian Rockies, but in the neighbouring Purcell Mountains.
Harmon’s image of Lake of the Hanging Glaciers reveals one of the most beautiful spots anywhere in western Canada, said Canmore filmmaker Pat Morrow, who grew up in Kimberley BC, in the heart of the Purcells.
“The jewel of the range is definitely Lake of the Hanging Glaciers, photographed by Byron Harmon when he went there with Conrad Kain,” Morrow said. “That lake, in sheer beauty, is comparable to Lake Louise or Lake O’Hara.” Bordered by the Columbia Valley on the east, and Kootenay Lake on the west, the Purcells are home to the Bugaboos, vertical granite spires that attract climbers from all over the world.
The Purcells are also home to grizzly bears, a few remaining mountain caribou and many other wonders of nature. While much of the core of the range is protected by Bugaboo Glacier Provincial Park, the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Park and St. Mary’s Alpine Provincial Park, Morrow said, outside of those areas the range is open to mining, logging and boundless recreation.
As such, Morrow said he was thrilled to be invited to write the forward for a new publication, titled The Purcell Suite. Edited by K. Linda Kivi, and published by Nelson, BC based Maa Press, in partnership with Wildsight and Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y), the book features a collection of 25 essays by Canadian and US writers exploring the ecological wonders of the region, which extends as far south as northern Montana. The chapters include personal letters and essays by historical figures, including Conrad Kain, the highly respected Austrian mountain guide who settled near Invermere, BC, who made dozens of first ascents in the Rockies and the Purcells in the early decades of the 20th century, including the Rockies highest, 3954-metre Mount Robson in 1913, and the technically challenging Bugaboo Spire in 1916, and by J. Monroe Thorington, former American Alpine Club president who explored the Purcells extensively. As well, the book features personal essays by contemporary writers living on both sides of the range, including Dave Quinn, Luanne Armstrong and Rick Bass, whose essays express their relationships with the landscape and the meaning it infuses in their souls. “All who wander in the Purcells have been touched at some profound level from their direct experiences among them; it’s the least we can do to try and give back through our stewardship efforts,” writes Morrow in his Foreword.
More than ever, Morrow said, the time for that stewardship is now, as efforts to build a monstrous ski resort at Jumbo Glacier continue to threaten the region. “This is a critical time in the history of the Purcells,” Morrow said. “This is not just a book launch, we want to draw attention to the imminence of the ski resort plan. The BC government keeps seeking devious ways of trying to push the project forward, even in the face of widespread public opposition. More than ever the Purcells need public support.”
All profits from book sales will go toward efforts to prevent development of the Jumbo resort.