REDCANOE logo

Newsletter

Becky Mason Canoeist
About Classic Solo
Canoe Courses
Paddling dvds
Presentations
Books & Reviews
Enviro notes
Biography
Featured Strokes
Handy Tips
Thoughts on Canoes
Reflections

Becky Mason Artist

Reid McLachlan

Bill Mason

Paul Mason

Gift Store

FAQ's

Contact Us






Canoe ballet and solo canoeing are one of Becky Mason's favourite paddling subjects. Wooden Canoe Heritage Association and the Canoe Museum is a favourite too . Becky is a filmmaker and the instructional paddling dvd is highlighted on Becky Mason site. There are many people who write about canoeing Kevin Callan and others. Becky Mason is a superb canoe instructor and has made two films on paddling instruction. Becky Mason has a love of the wooden canoe. Her canvas wooden canoe is featured in her Classic solo Canoeing instructional videos. The dvds are lovely to watch and learn from because it teaches you how to enjoy the Canadian wilderness. You see the Canadian canoe in action spinning effortlessly on quiet water lakes which in Canada is called flatwater. Throughout Becky Mason's website she has tips and facts about canoes and paddles. Becky specializes in her Classic Solo Canoeing courses it's excellent instruction for paddling the Canadian canoe. To paddle a canoe well you'll want to take a paddling lesson or you may want to pick up a copy of Becky Mason's instructional canoe video. The on-line gift store offers canoeing dvds. Take the time to view Becky Mason on-line video trailer you will like it the superb instruction and underwater photography!
Becky Mason - Environmental Notes
Becky Mason's letter sent via email October 30, 2014.

Regarding : Precedent setting decision that if granted would change the ecological integrity of all our Canadian parks.


Sharon Hayes, Acting Park Manager (sharon.hayes@pc.gc.ca)
Robin Lessard, Field Unit Superintendent (robin.lessard@pc.gc.ca)

Dear Ms. Hayes and Mr. Lessard:

I have been informed that as of July of 2014 the Pic River First Nation submitted an application to seek Parks Canada approval for development of hydro generation in Pukaskwa National Park. I have noted the hydroelectric facility proposed area is at Chigamiwinigum Falls on the White River, within the boundaries of Pukaskwa National Park (Ontario).

I urge you not to approve this project because as you are aware it would be a precedent setting decision that if granted would change the ecological integrity of all our National Parks. That alone should be enough for you to not approve the application, but on it's own merits Pukaskwa National Park needs you to uphold it's full protection. The only thing that a National Park demands of its government and citizens is respect. Respect for the land, for the concept of parks and for the laws that protect them.

Pukaskwa National Park is considered a backcountry park with limited road access but it can be enjoyed many ways. I have travelled the Pukaskwa interior on the White River and Pukaskwa River and paddled the coast as well as hiked parts of the coastal trail and think it's a ruggedly unique and beautiful landscape with some of the world's finest intact wilderness. But parks shouldn't really be for people. They should exist for their own sake with occasional gentle human traffic, nothing more.

This is an intact wilderness area, a scenic highlight of the Coastal Trail and Coastal Paddling Route; the proposed area for development I consider one of the unique features of the park. Furthermore, it is an area far removed from roads and therefore demonstrates the park’s ecological integrity. To develop a hydroelectric generating facility would irrevocably damage the park’s appeal to backcountry enthusiasts, as well as compromising its ecological functions and set a grave precedent towards potential development in all of our Parks.

As a citizen of Canada and a visitor and admirer of Pukaskwa National Park, I urge Parks Canada officials and Members of Parliament to reject this threat to our natural and cultural heritage.

I would be pleased to talk with you further about this matter.

Sincerely,

Becky Mason
Box 1735
Chelsea, Quebec,
J9B 1A1

cc
Leona Aglukuk, Minister of the Environment (minister@ec.gc.ca)
Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada (stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca)
Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the Opposition (thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca)
Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada (justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca)

Issues

Becky is involved with a few environmental causes. She has helped the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society in trying to protect the entire Nahanni Watershed. She discusses the challenges that face this World Heritage site below in her Globe & Mail article.

When a Canadian wilderness comes under threat and legal action needs to be implemented Ecojustice is a fine organization.

A little closer to her home she is a trustee on the Quetico Foundation. The foundation helps to protect and informs the public about this Ontario Quetico Provincial Park and  the challenges it currently faces.

Nature Conservancy of Canada is one of Becky's favourite organizations because it is dedicated to preserving ecologically significant areas through outright land purchase, donations and conservation easements.

Becky also keeps active locally helping organizations like Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Ottawa Valley chapter.

She loves everything about canoeing and she supports the Canadian Canoe Museum whenever she can.

Call--for -action archives.

2009
Beverly herd and the pending Uravan mining proposal

2009 Canadian Rivers Network backgrounder on NWPA

Image © Reid McLachlan

An Early Lesson

I asked Dad once why he wrote so many letters about asking government officials to reconsider their stance on various environmental platforms. I figured it was odd for Dad to devote half a day of every week to letter writing when he was already so busy making his films and books about preserving our environment.

He lifted a letter from his done pile and asked me to read it. As I read I was impressed at how polite and simple it was. I understood the message and also felt the passion he had for our disappearing wilderness. Dad told me that just one personal letter written to the government is important because they realize that if one person has written in at least a hundred probably meant to write but never got around to it. It was a real eye opener for me that all letters short, long, learned, or just heart felt can accomplish the perceived impossible.

Becky Mason

 

Article "A paradise not yet lost" by Becky Mason, written for the Globe & Mail, January 27, 2003

The UN has called the Nahanni River a World Heritage site. "Will the next federal budget help keep it that way?" asks canoeist and activist Becky Mason.

"Deep in the remote Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories runs a magnificent river with a beautiful name: Nahanni. The South Nahanni River surges through the heart of one of Canada's most treasured wilderness areas and national parks. In the coming months, the federal government -- in co-operation with local First Nations and conservation groups -- has an historic opportunity to protect this vast wilderness forever by expanding Nahanni National Park Reserve to protect the entire watershed of the South Nahanni River. But forced to chose between broadening protection and expanding industrial development, what will it choose?

Nahanni's beauty lies in its ruggedness and diversity. It plunges over a waterfall twice the height of Niagara, cuts through canyons more than one kilometre deep, and rushes past hot springs, ancient caves and other natural wonders. Grizzly and black bears, Dall's sheep, woodland caribou and trumpeter swans are just a few of the wildlife species that live in the park. Plants rare to northern boreal forests cling to mist-bathed cliffs below waterfalls and near hot springs. Wildfires burn freely over the land, creating a rich mosaic of forests of all ages.

The Nahanni was the favourite river of my father, Bill Mason, the renowned Canadian filmmaker, artist and canoeist. He paddled its waters many times during his life. The river had a profound effect on him. With cancer and only months to live, his final wish was to be with his family for one last trip down his beloved river. Dad died shortly after that last trip down the Nahanni in 1988. If he were still with us, I know that he would be actively working to improve the protection of one of his favourite places.

The Nahanni makes an impression on everyone who sees it. After visiting the river in the early 1970s, Pierre Trudeau was so inspired that he directed the minister responsible for national parks at the time, Jean Chrétien, to protect a corridor along the river, preventing it from being exploited for hydro development.

In 1978, the United Nations recognized the Nahanni as a natural wonder, designating the national park as one of the world's first natural World Heritage Sites, even before it did so for the Grand Canyon or Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

When the park was established, little was known about the region's ecosystems, resulting in a park boundary that protects the waterfall and canyons, but leaves out critical wildlife habitat and most of the watershed. As a result, today activities outside the park -- particularly mining development -- are the greatest threat to the Nahanni's future.

Right now, Ottawa has an extraordinary opportunity to expand Nahanni National Park Reserve to properly protect the wilderness and wildlife values of the region. The Park Reserve and much of its watershed lie within the traditional territory of the Deh Cho First Nation.

The Deh Cho, who are engaged in land and self-government negotiations with Ottawa, recently passed a resolution calling for the interim protection of the entire South Nahanni watershed, an area seven times larger than the current park. Conservation groups such as the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society also support watershed protection as the only way to adequately preserve the wildlife, and to avoid contamination of the region's pristine waters from mining effluent. Nearly all players are in line to protect the area.

Just two things are missing: the political will of all federal government departments, and federal funding.

In October, Prime Minister Chrétien and the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Sheila Copps, committed to expanding the Park Reserve as part of their five-year action plan for Parks Canada. But no one can implement the plan unless there is funding in the forthcoming federal budget. And without the funding this year, the opportunity to protect the South Nahanni watershed will pass by, mining and oil and gas development will continue, and this world-famous wilderness will be irreparably damaged.

The land beyond the park boundaries is controlled by the federal Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, which is responsible for both encouraging industrial development in the North, and protecting its environment. In the case of the Nahanni, these two objectives conflict. What is needed is prime ministerial leadership to make protection of Nahanni a top priority, and recognition by the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs that the greatest societal value of the South Nahanni watershed lies in its long-term protection, not in the short-term exploitation of what lies underground.

Mining and oil and gas exploration is encroaching on the Nahanni. But for a fleeting moment, protection is still within our grasp. We mustn't let it slip away. First Nations, conservation groups, canoeists and wilderness-lovers agree that the entire watershed must be protected. Leadership from the federal government, and funding in the upcoming budget can ensure that Nahanni stays wild and free for future generations of Canadians, and for the world."


All images and text on this site are copyrighted by the Mason family or by the artist. Please ask for our © permission if you copy.