“Each creek around here seemed to have its own couch, dishwasher, washer and dryer.” Back in the day Dave and other volunteers cleaned up the trash that others dumped in the woods and creeks and took it to the dump. This was before the dump started to charge for drop offs.
GREENWAYS | When did you start working with Greenways Land Trust?
DAVE | After the commercial fishing industry went down in Alert Bay where I used to work as a professional fisherman, I was hoping to have better job opportunities down here in Campbell River. That was not the case. To keep me busy I started volunteering for Greenways approximately 20 years ago. We did a lot of invasive species removal on the trail up to the hatchery and we worked around the Haig-Brown house quite a bit. As part of an EI program for ex-fisherman and shore workers, I got the chance to upgrade my knowledge around aquatic systems. I attended a Fisheries and Aquaculture Course by North Island Fisheries at the North Island College for one and a half years. After that my volunteering for Greenways turned into a professional relationship and I got hired as a contractor. Ever since in this position I have been looking after the fish fences, put new ones in, collected the data and reported it back to the Greenways office. I never really stopped volunteering around my contracted hours though. There is always more to do and more to help with.
GREENWAYS | How do you primarily spend your time when you are not volunteering for Greenways?
DAVE | If I have any spare time I like to spend it in the outdoors fishing or camping. I find that I am most of the time doing some trail and/or equipment maintenance or am building or repairing something (like fish boxes).
GREENWAYS | What do you think is Greenways’ biggest success that you have been a part of?
DAVE | The on-going Kingfisher Creek restoration was one of the major projects that I worked on with Greenways. The creek’s health and native shape improved a lot over the years. Another project is the Greenways Loop that we did a lot of planting for along the Jubilee Parkway. Besides these I have been part of one of the probably biggest and most visible restoration projects in town: Baikie Island, in the Campbell River estuary. This project was led by Jim van Tine, the former Quinsam Hatchery manager, the City of Campbell River, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
GREENWAYS | How would you describe the CR community regarding volunteer engagement?
DAVE | I think it is great. The only thing that is hard to find are young people. All of us streamkeepers are middle aged or older. I am lucky to have found three teenagers (siblings) that support me sometimes on Simms Creek. We need more of them interested in growing into our footsteps and take over the steering wheel at some point.
GREENWAYS | Which is your favorite CR greenway and why?
DAVE | I do like Baikie Island a lot. That is my favourite place. The more you like a place the more effort you put into it. Even when I am not working, I still go there, clean up along the trails or the parking lot.
GREENWAYS | If you had a magic ball that would let you see ten years into the future, how would CR and its greenways have improved?
DAVE | I would like to see the Nunns Creek area restored. The water needs to be able to run in order to let the creek recover, get oxygen into the water and it needs native trees/shrubs planted.
GREENWAYS | What rewards do you receive from volunteering?
DAVE | It is something I appreciate and it is part of my life. It is rewarding enough for me to be able to say that I picked up these five things on a greenway and throuw them into the garbage. I kept a diary about what I did every day since 1986. So I kept track of how many fish I caught, where I went and who was with me. I really enjoy involving and teaching the youth to make sure that someone will take over by the time that we retire from the creeks and trails.