Ecotrust and Clayoquot Sound
On Tuesday and Wednesday I had the great fortune of touring parts of Clayoquot Sound with Satnam Manhas from Ecotrust Canada.
To begin my experience, Satnam organized a dinner at his home in Tofino for me to meet some of the folks he works with. The fresh salmon we dined on was caught the day before in the remote community of Ahousaht where he spends much of his time working with their housing committee and the Forest Communities Program.
Now, although an initial attempt to meet Satnam and Eli Enns was thwarted by no cell phone reception at the top of summit pass, I was able to learn later from Eli about some of the work the Tla-o-qui-aht Nations Tribal Parks.
Wednesday morning we hopped on a water taxi for the 45 minute trip to the remote community of Ahousaht (the source of the previous night’s salmon). Ahousaht is home to almost 900 people and the current housing stock is insufficient in both quality and quantity. This photo is of my daughter (in the pink) learning about fishing for mackerel from some local boys.
Ecotrust, as a key part of the Clayoquot Forest Communities Program, has been working with a plan to solve this long standing housing crisis and create more employment opportunities in the community. Named the “Circle of Wealth” meaning ‘everything is one – all is interconnected’, the plan includes the communities using their own resources to rebuild their community infrastructure, put their own people to work, and heal through the process of building.
The community has building plans for 150 homes, has just completed an eight-unit apartment complex, is nearing completion on a school, and a visitor centre and cultural centre longhouse is underway.
After an exciting (and bouncy) trip back to Tofino, I had a chance to meet with some other local NGOs which Ecotrust works with: the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, Raincoast Education Society, and Tofino Botanical Gardens field station.
My feet hurt and I was exhausted by the end of the day – but it was a very valuable trip for me.
- Karin Kirkpatrick