The Casual Naturalist’s Guide to the Salish Sea (GDS $18.95)
Captain George Vancouver named Georgia Strait for King George III; Puget Sound was named for Peter Puget, a member of Vancouver’s crew; Captain Juan de Fuca was a Spanish explorer. Until now, there hasn’t been a unifying term for the waters of Georgia Strait, Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca.
“Salish Sea is a neutral term for one eco-system,” says Gary Schaan, co-author of The Casual Naturalist’s Guide to the Salish Sea (GDS $18.95), “and it recognizes the original saltwater peoples.”
Schaan and co-author Nancy Dolan, who both participated in development of the Georgia Basin Ecosystem Initiative, have provided a map of Salish language groups, transportation routes and 300 photos for eco-tourists.
“Environment Canada did some excellent fieldwork on this area in the early ’70s, but dropped the ball for 20 years,” says Schaan. “That was back when Greenpeace was starting and Jacques Cousteau was extolling the virtues of Georgia Strait. There were concerns about ocean dumping, a wild-eyed idea to dam the Fraser River for hydro-electric power and plans to ship Alaska oil down the Inside Passage.
“In those days Environment Minister David Anderson took some remarkable initiatives. He told the Americans there was no way they could use the Inside Passage for oil tankers. Anderson took that stand without cabinet approval and a paid a personal price for doing so.”
Schaan, a consultant for First Nations land claims, says the NDP and Environment Canada have resurrected the issue of sustainability for the Salish Sea but Americans are still leading the way. Thus far Americans have been more willing to adopt the term Salish Sea than Canadians. Salish Sea, Box 5773, Victoria, B.C., V8R 6S8.
[BCBW SPRING 2000]