Artist Claire Dibble is paddling the length of the Columbia River. She paddled through Revelstoke July 26 and met with locals on the river bank near the Big Eddy Bridge on July 26. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)

Paddler’s journey offers updates on the state of Columbia River

Claire Dibble might be the first woman in recorded history to make the journey

An artist is paddling from her yard to the ocean in a homemade kayak.

“It feels so good to be outside, even in terrible weather,” said Claire Dibble on the banks of the Columbia River last Friday near the Big Eddy Bridge in Revelstoke.

Revelstokians welcomed Dibble, a Golden resident, and were invited to participate in a group swim as part of the welcoming reception for her.

She is following the Columbia River, from its source at Canal Flats to the sea at Astoria, Oregon. The journey is roughly 2,000 kilometres.

The objective is to create a portrait of the river and its people.

As she paddles, Dibble is interviewing folks along the water, from fishermen to swimmers, hearing concerns on how the river is changing.

READ MORE: Artist to paddle length of Columbia River this summer

At its completion, Dibble hopes to create a body of work about the river’s future.

Dibble met with Revelstokians on the bank of the Columbia River near the Big Eddy Bridge July 26. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

For the journey, Dibble decided to build her own kayak.

“I didn’t love the idea of buying a plastic boat. People talk about not using plastic straws and bags but like imagine how much plastic goes into a kayak. How many lifetimes of straws would that be?”

Although Dibble has little kayak building experience, her father helped as he’s a career boat builder.

“Because of that, in a lot of ways, my dad is along with me on this trip.”

On average, Dibble paddles 20 km per day. Along the way, she stops for community paddles and school talks.

She aims to end her journey which she started July 1 by October.

In the last 100 years, the Columbia River has undergone vast changes. There are more than 60 dams in the Columbia River watershed, 14 of which are on the Columbia River itself.

“It’s a bit depressing,” said Dibble.

Dibble met with Revelstokians and they all went for a dip. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

The source, near Canal Flats, was incredible, she said. The Columbia Wetlands stretches from Canal Flats to Golden and is one of the longest undisturbed wetland ecosystems in North America.

It’s also one of the few remaining intact portions of the Pacific Flyway for migrating birds.

“Then I got to my first reservoir (Kinbasket.) Honestly, it’s kind of a wasteland,” she said.

The paddle from Golden to Revelstoke, across Kinbasket Lake and Lake Revelstoke, is the wildest section of the river.

However, she noted signs of human influence are everywhere, from the erosion of steep banks into the river to cut tree stumps littering the banks of Kinbasket Lake.

“I could hear the sounds of logging the whole time,” she recounted.

Dibble said we are all using products that contribute to the demand for logging and dams.

“It’s a reality that kind of sucks. None of us are above it.”

A group of people meets here each Friday year round and go for a swim. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

People along the river have many concerns, added Dibble, from maintaining biodiversity in the wetlands by Canal Flats to erosion from motorboats and pollutants.

A number of people have also told her they want the salmon to return. “That’s been a big one.”

Canada lost almost all its Columbia River salmon 70 years ago with the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington.

The only Columbia River salmon reaching Canada is part of a sockeye run up the Okanagan River. The Grand Coulee dam cut off more than 1,000 km of B.C. salmon habitat.

READ MORE: Revelstoke Columbia River Treaty meeting brings local concerns to the forefront

Part of the ongoing renegotiations of the Columbia River Treaty may include the restoration of those fish stocks.

Agathe Bernard, a Revelstoke local, is planning to make a film about Dibble’s journey.

The film will explore the disrupted landscapes and lives of the communities once situated on the river prior to dam development.

Bernard plans to soon launch a crowdfunding campaign to help finance the film but for now, if people are interested to make a donation they can via https:paypal.me/AgatheBernardStudios.


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Claire Dibble lives in Golden and is paddling 2,000 km along the Columbia River to the ocean. The objective is to create a portrait of the river and its people. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Dibble met with Revelstokians and they all went for a dip. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Dibble met with Revelstokians and they all went for a dip. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Claire Dibble lives in Golden and is paddling 2,000 km along the Columbia River to the ocean. The objective is to create a portrait of the river and its people. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Just Posted

YOU didn’t back check …

Pro hockey player Connor Jones’ inspiring stories on life, hockey and everything in between.

Haitian foster children arrive in Nelson after months-long lobbying effort

Marie-Paule Brisson and Sebastien De Marre have parented girls age 12 and 8 since they were babies

B.C. doc breaks down the incognito mosquito

Dr. Carol Fenton is a Medical Health Officer for Interior Health

Work remains to be done in B.C. care homes

BCSLA represents private operators of Independent and Assisted Living, and Long Term Care residences

Police investigating car accident on Rossland Hill

Captain Grant Tyson says the rollover resulted in minor injuries to three people

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read