You cannot mention the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition without admitting Shannon McPhail is front and center of this Eco-radical organization. This organization is NOT listed as a
registered charity as defined under the income tax act.
They are also connected to and work with Raven Trust, and Conservation Alliance, the Swift Foundation and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. (All connected to the Tides Foundation) As well as being a director of SWCC, Todd Stockner also sits on the executive steering committee of Friends of Wild Salmon.
Shannon McPhail, executive director of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition (SWCC) she is the daughter of, Gene Allen, is a former logger whose family owns the Bear Claw Eco-Lodge on the Kispiox River. Gene Allen made his family fortune logging the Kispiox valley, and now wants to protect his new assets by preventing anyone from doing the same. Skeena Heliskiing operates from the exclusive Bear Claw Lodge, owned by Gene and Joy Allen and run by the Allen family. Gene Allen is also a rodeo stock contractor and maintains an active trapline. Gene worked as a logger and guide outfitter for most of his life and lives on his horse ranch in the Kispiox Valley. He is a leading member of the Kispiox Watershed Monitoring Committee and the Skeena Quality Waters Initiative.
Here is an example of how the conflict of interest by Gene and his family becomes clearly apparent, from a news clipping. Clearly it’s not so much about protecting the environment as it is about protecting his personal assets.
“Ms. McPhail’s father, Gene Allen, is a former logger whose family owns the Bear Claw Eco-Lodge on the Kispiox River, just a stone’s throw from the drilling. The lodge hosts guests from around the world and employs dozens of locals in what Mr. Allen calls “sustainable jobs” based on the bounty of local rivers.”
As locals I will give them the right to define who they are and allow the readers to judge them, so below is the list of people who run this Eco-radical group in their own words.
“Today, we announce that Tides Canada has changed its name to MakeWay.” Quote from Makeway Canada
SWCC not a charity but skirting regulations with with Makeway just use Tides Foundation now renamed Makeway in Canada.
Board of Directors & Staff
Todd Stockner moved to the Kispiox Valley from New Westminster in 1994 with his young family. An angling guide in the Skeena watershed since 1982, he now operates his own angling guide business on the Kispiox and Skeena rivers. In the off season he makes his living as a fine woodworker, working out of the workshop on his hobby farm.
He received training in fine woodworking at the College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Program in Fort Bragg, California in 1989/90. As well as being a director of SWCC, Todd also sits on the executive steering committee of Friends of Wild Salmon, is an active member of the North Coast Steelhead Alliance, as well as a member of Western Canada Wilderness Committee.
When not taking up time with all of the above, you can find him playing hockey on the pond in front of his house with friends and family during the winter; listening to and watching the amazing bird life all around us in the spring; cutting firewood, mowing the lawn, and floating the rivers in the summer; and – when not guiding – he can be found on some remote and beautiful part of our rivers fly fishing for steelhead every fall. Email Todd.
Board of Directors
Gene Allen – Gene’s family has 5 generations in the watershed and currently makes his living as a wilderness resort operator, rodeo stock contractor and maintains an active trapline. Gene worked as a logger and guide outfitter for most of his life and lives on his horse ranch in the Kispiox Valley. He is a leading member of the Kispiox Watershed Monitoring Committee and the Skeena Quality Waters Initiative, both of which are government recognized programs to ensure that sustainable development occurs on the land. Gene was also a leading campaigner against the clear cutting of the headwaters of the Kispiox River and was successful in creating the Swan Lake Wilderness Area, preventing such development from proceeding. Gene has been a director of the SWCC since its inception in 2004.
Wade Davis – Wade Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany from Harvard University. A native of British Columbia, Dr. Davis has worked as a park ranger, forestry engineer, logger, big game hunting guide and conducted ethnographic fieldwork among several indigenous societies of northern Canada. He has published some fifty scientific articles on subjects ranging from Haitian vodoun to the global biodiversity crisis. His magazine articles have appeared in Newsweek, Premiere, Outside, Omni, Harpers and several other international publications. He has lectured at the American Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, California Academy of Sciences, Missouri Botanical Garden, Field Museum of Natural History, New York Botanical Garden, National Geographic Society, America’s Society, Royal Ontario Museum, Royal British Columbia Museum, the Explorer’s Club as well as more than fifty major universities including Harvard, Yale, Tulane, Vanderbilt, M.I.T., University of North Carolina, UCLA, University of Pennsylvania, University of Colorado and University of Wisconsin. His photographs have been widely published and exhibited at several galleries including the International Center of Photography (I.C.P.) in New York.
Presently a Research Associate of the Instituto Caribe de Antropologia y Sociologia in Caracas, Venezuela, he is an Honorary Research Associate of the Institute of Economic Botany of the New York Botanical Garden, a Collaborator in Botany at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biology at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Research Associate of the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, a Fellow of the Linnean Society and the Executive Director of the Endangered People’s Project.
Roy Vickers – Canadian artist Roy Henry Vickers is an accomplished carver, design advisor of prestigious public spaces, a sought-after keynote speaker, and publisher and author of several successful books. In addition, he is a recognized leader in the First Nations community, and a tireless spokesperson for recovery from addictions and abuse. Roy has received many awards and honours for his art and community involvement. Among them are a hereditary chieftainship and several hereditary names he has received from Northwest Coast First Nations. He is a recipient of the Order of Canada.
In 1994, Maclean’s magazine included Roy as the first artist ever in its Annual Honour Roll of Extraordinary Canadian Achievers. In 1998, the Province of British Columbia appointed Roy to the prestigious Order of B.C. and in 2003, Roy received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. In 2003, a video featuring Roy was part of the successful Vancouver 2010 Olympic Bid. In 1987, at the Commonwealth Summit in Vancouver, the original of Roy’s painting A Meeting of Chiefs was the official gift of the Province of British Columbia to Queen Elizabeth II. Limited edition prints of the painting were presented to the 48 Commonwealth Heads of State. During their Vancouver Summit in 1993, former Soviet leader Boris Yeltsin and former U.S. president Bill Clinton received artist’s proofs of Roy’s print The Homecoming as the Province’s official gift.
Roy’s father was a fisherman with the blood of three northwest coast First Nations – Tsimshian, Haida and Heiltsuk – flowing in his veins. Roy’s mother was a schoolteacher whose parents had immigrated to Canada from England.
Cathy Sims – Lives on the banks of the mighty Skeena River, in awe of the beauty and bounty that is at her fingertips. Cathy was raised in the Hazeltons’ and chose to make Hazelton her home where she and her husband raised 2 boys. Cathy works by day at the local Credit Union and in her free time enjoys the beauty of her surroundings. From hiking local trails and kayaking the Skeena River and lakes, surrounding her home, to fishing out of Prince Rupert for fresh fish to carry them through the winter. Cathy, and her husband Paul, own and operate a value-added birch sawmill that focuses on utilization of all the products and byproducts of the operation. They only take what they can use by selectively harvesting timber. Cathy takes an active roll in the operation by rolling up her sleeves and tossing around a board or two. Cathy first became involved with SWCC while participating in the Women On Water program. During the 5 day program, she was introduced to how important the watershed is and how SWCC is working to protect this very sensitive and unique area. This was further enforced during a weekend trip to the headwaters of the Skeena on a family vacation. “There is no other place on Earth quite like our back yard and we need to protect it.”
Harriet Hall – and her partner finally relocated from Sepwepmec territory to Spookw, in the Laxwilp, after years of exploring the northwest. They have a small restorative agricultural enterprise that revolves around raising sheep, berries and bees while encouraging local birds and wildlife. Professionally, she practices as a Registered Massage Therapist with an interest in helping people achieve optimum function. She is a director of the Hazelton Farmers Market Society and is a member of the Food to School Learning Circle. Harriet’s roots are rural and she is keenly aware of the importance of protecting, maintaining and restoring natural ecosystems. At the same time, she understands the importance of developing sustainable economic enterprises to support the human members of the community. From Amchitka Island, the Stein Valley, Site C and various local community initiatives, she has worked, over the years, to draw attention to issues, educate folks and protect the environment. For relaxation and joy, Harriet runs, hikes, swims, bikes and paddles in our beautiful mountains, lakes and rivers.
Brad Wilson – Brad was born and raised locally, in Gitanmaax (located near Old Hazelton). He is from the Fireweed Clan and his Gitxsan name is Aks Xsin Tzihl. Translated, his name means “when the river meets the ocean, a whirlpool is created and can spin upriver up to 1km.” Simple translation “Water Tornado.” He comes from a large family : his grandparents had eleven kids : 10 girls and 1 boy. He went to school in Kamloops and returned home as a Red Seal Certified Chef. Growing up, Brad spent a lot of time on his family’s traditional territory – trapping with his grandfather, attending family gatherings, etc. and this taught him that land has a value to one’s soul. It’s important to protect it. “There seems to be a $ value on everything these days. But, sometimes, there’s a larger value than just money.” Brad views his position on our Board of Directors as an oppotunity to have a voice and to connect regarding territorial management.
Shannon McPhail lives and works in the watershed and grew up on a working ranch, spending much of her youth fishing and hunting in the Skeena mountains with her family. She has worked as a white-water rafting guide, a big game hunting guide, a welder and a nutritionist at a women’s health center after her education in the field of chemical technology. Shannon’s diverse background allows her to understand and relate to people within the watershed that have a variety of opinions and concerns. It is important to Shannon that all voices are heard when decisions are being made regarding the future of this unique place. Her commitment is so strong that she spent 7 years working for the SWCC as a volunteer. Shannon is a mother of two. While motherhood certainly keeps her busy, it hasn’t slowed her down or prevented her from working to keep our Sacred Headwaters free of coalbed methane and our Skeena River wild. Email Shannon.
Brian Huntington – Brian is one of the founding members of SWCC. He has been chasing trail, building cabins, writing reports, running rivers and taking photographs in just about every corner of the Skeena watershed ever since. In 2007, Brian was adopted into the Gitxsan house group of Wilp Gwininitxw as a result of his meaningful work and commitment to the lands and resources on Gwininitxw territory in the upper Skeena. His focus at SWCC is to achieve permanent protection for the Skeena’s key ecosystems, support transformative experiences on the land and water for residents of the Skeena and develop decision making power for Skeena communities with respect to the integrity of our unique environment and culture. Brian is also one of the Youth on Water trip leaders and supports all aspects of running a safe, well organized and kick-ass program for the watershed’s next generation of talented river guides. Email Brian.
Kathy Stockner grew up in West Vancouver, and ended up in the north by marrying Todd and following him and his passion for the northern rivers. It only took 24 hours for Kathy to feel that it was the right move (while Todd took less than a minute). Now, she absolutely loves her rural home and close-knit community, and would never want to live in the city again. They have a small acreage in the Kispiox Valley, where they run a small steelhead guiding operation in the fall. During the summer, the lovely guesthouse that Todd built is used as a bed & breakfast for visitors from all over the world. The Kispiox Valley has been a wonderful place to raise their two kids, now off on their own adventures. Kathy has worked mainly as a typesetter for print shops, newspapers and book publishers over the years, and is now the office administrator for the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition. Email Kathy.
Skeena Energy Solutions
Kesia Nagata moved to the Kispiox Valley from the South Coast in the summer of 2016 with an intent to learn to homestead, get connected, and do something useful with herself. It was a leap of faith that has payed off beyond her wildest dreams. Shortly after landing she joined the SWCC team as a Community Organizer Intern, and from there stepped up to steer the SES ship. With a background in sustainable agriculture and an interest in renewable energy and alternative building techniques, she finds this job endlessly fascinating and rewarding – but it’s the people she meets and works with and the landscape she moves through each day that truly fulfill her. She loves working collaboratively with local communities on projects she believes in. When not on the farm or out in the watershed doing her SES thing, Kesia is also a singer-songwriter and Ki Aikido teacher.
Special Projects Manager
Jesse Stoeppler proudly calls the Skeena watershed home, after completing a degree in Europe he returned to start a family and raise two future leaders amongst the peaks of the beautiful Bulkley Valley. Mentored by Hereditary Chief and Matriarch Yaga’lahl (Dora B. Wilson) he embraces Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en culture and has been actively participating in title & rights and Clan governance as a member of Wilp Spookwx (Lax Gibuu / Gitumden).
As a Project Manager for a multi-million trust fund, Jesse was able to lead the way in establishing comprehensive community planning, land use management and create his community’s Indigenous economic development.
Full Time Internship
Jennifer Bulleid belongs to the Lax Gibuu (Wolf Clan). She recognizes her Wilnaatahl, her future role as a matriarch and the responsibilities that come with that. She makes an effort to practice the Sim’algax (Gitxsan language), and is continuously learning about her Gitxsan traditions and Ayook, which strengthens her relationship to the land – to the Lax Yip. Jennifer was born in Terrace and was raised there for several years until moving to Sik-e-Dakh when she was 9. She grew up with a fear of water, but in 2011 caught wind of a ‘Women On Water’ rafting program and convinced herself she needed to sign up so she could face her fear head on – and it absolutely helped! She’s been on several rafting trips, both through SWCC’s programs and on her own with friends and family. While she’s moved away from the Hazeltons a handful of times, something always draws her back. After returning to Hazelton a few years ago, she attended Coast Mountain College where she completed her first year of carpentry at the top of her class, being only one of three women in the program. Jen has had a hand in the construction of the new Gitanmaax Food & Fuel building, a winter bee-shed for Senden, and recently joined the SWCC team to help build the new solar-powered YOW base, and the infrastructure of Skeena Energy Solutions’s latest Poultry-Centered Regenerative Agriculture project. Indigenous food sovereignty, sustainable building methods, and regenerative agriculture are some of the things she is most passionate about, as well as some of the things she gets to work on at SWCC.
Data Visualization and Graphic Design
Leah Pipe used to be SWCC’s talented Communications Director but her incredible art career has exploded. While we miss her and her work with SWCC, she still helps us out from time to time with translating scientific data into a visual education tool (I know, cool!!). Leah is an artist whose spectacular artwork is inspired by the river, mountains and valleys of Hazelton and the surrounding areas. Leah is celebrated and studied as one of Canada’s best kept secrets and has poured a lot of blood, sweat and tears into SWCC over the years. She is a 4th generation Skeena resident and after spending most of her life traveling abroad she is happy to make Hazelton her home. SWCC has tapped into Leah’s creative genius throughout the years and after all those years of hearing, “You know what you guys should do…” our Executive Director went to Leah and said, “You’ve been telling us what we should do for years, how’s about you come work with us and get it done?” Leah joined SWCC in January 2016 and worked with us less than 3 months before she created a nationally acclaimed piece of advocacy art advertising that appeared in the Globe & Mail, Ottawa Citizen and was reviewed by the UBC Curator of Advertising Archives.
Ecosystem Valuation Contractor
Tania Millen came to Terrace in 1992 and has lived in northwest BC on and off since then. After completing a BSc in Environmental Science, Tania embarked on a 14 year career assessing and remediating contaminated sites -primarily for large petro-chemical companies – in Canada and Australia. However, one spring day she quit the corporate world and now does contract work for various organisations whose values meet hers. Tania is passionate about many of the unique aspects of the Skeena watershed and believes that an ecosystem valuation of the watershed will substantially assist in maintaining those aspects in perpetuity. Tania enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle which includes getting out on the bush regularly and spending many hours in the saddle. Tania has ridden horses for over thirty years in Canada, the USA and England, has competed at a national level and since 2010, has ridden over 3,000 km of wilderness trails. Her first book, Rockin’ Whitewater: A Guide to Paddling in Northwest British Columbia, was published by Creekstone Press in 2012. Her second book, Pack em Up, Ride em Out: Classic Horse Pack Trips in BC and Alberta will be published by Caitlin Press in spring 2015.
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