Recent publication: review of The Fraser: River of Life and Legend

The Fraser: River of Life and Legend by Carol Blacklaws and Rick Blacklaws (White Rock: Image West Productions, 2020), reviewed in The Ormsby Review.

Old Village at Leon Creek, Fraser River below. Rick Blacklaws photo


In this amiable scrapbook of journeys on the Fraser, … you’ll read not a discouraging word. Some people died — Indigenous inhabitants of the canyon; some gold miners — but that was long ago. Missing is the history of the struggle for regulation triggered by the tragedy at China Bar. Missing: the toll of rafting that continued even after the advent of regulations in 1988 — e.g., “Two Rafts Capsize in Trial Run on Fraser River” (Hope [BC] Standard, April 9, 1975). “Three Die in Rafting Accident Sunday” (Hope [BC] Standard, May 9, 1979). “Rafting rougher than riders realize.” Six people thrown from raft on the Chilko River (The Vancouver Sun, July 6, 1982). “City man survives tragic raft mishap.” Man drowned in Thompson River near confluence with Fraser (Edmonton Journal, April 27, 1984). “Harder on the spot for raft photos.” Photographer Bob Harder documents Hell’s Gate spill that dumped 17 people into the water (Surrey Leader, August 15, 1984). “Tragedy Strikes on the Elaho.” “Probe pondered after rafting accident.” Five deaths (Vancouver Sun, July 2, 1987). “U.S. advertising executives die in raft accident.” Five men died on the Chilko River (Calgary Herald, August 4, 1987). “Deaths underline need for caution.” “Three days [after 5 men died] a West German rafter lost his life in the same stretch of Lava Canyon, at 35 km one of the longest stretches of white water in North America” (Williams Lake Tribune, August 20, 1987). “Death toll for rafters swells with high runoff.” Rafter on Tulameen River was third fatal BC rafting accident in two weeks (The[Vancouver] Province, July 16, 1991). “Whitewater rafting death ruled accidental.” 54 year old woman (The Vancouver Sun, May 1, 1998). “Calgarian killed while rafting.” Kicking Horse River (Calgary Herald, June 21, 2007). “Woman drowns river rafting.” Chilliwack River (Province, August 18, 2008).