It’s 1996 and my husband and I have been reading Paul St. Pierre’s The Chilcotin Holiday. We love the communities and countryside he describes, so we decide to take our summer holiday there. Driving from Vancouver to Williams Lake, heading west then south, we enter Ts’yl-os Provincial Park in the territory of the Xeni Gwet’in.
We arrive at dusk as the evening meal is being served to a group of European tourists. They describe, with great animation, riding horses through untouched forest to a viewing area near a salmon spawning ground. Using telescopes they had seen a grizzly bear in the far off distance. “Tears were flooding down my face and I knew not to move or make a sound,” said a woman from Germany who had travelled half-way across the world and spent many thousands of dollars to experience those few moments. The next day we ride gentle, well-cared for horses, through the stillness of a wilderness valley. The viewing area is miles downwind of where grizzlies have been seen fishing. In silence we wait. In less than an hour, through a telescope, we see a cocoa coloured grizzly wading. As I watch, I also feel tears streaming down my face and feel the longing in the others to make these moments last forever.
Back at the lodge, we talk about what we can do to end bear hunting, what we can do to preserve wilderness habitat, and what we can do to convince the premier that bears generate more economic benefit to communities through tourism than hunting. We each vow to do something.
Teresa Murphy, Richmond BC
Taken from https://justiceforbcgrizzlies.com/about/grizzly-ambassadors/