Dear residents of Bella Coola and Hagensborg,
Last September, I had the pleasure of guiding a group of nine photographers from the Fraser Valley to the Bella Coola Valley to photograph the grizzlies. We had a tremendously successful photo workshop, called “Dances With Grizzlies 2016,” and the photos were nothing but spectacular. However, this letter is not about our images.
All during our stay, we had the opportunity to meet with residents in Bella Coola and Hagensborg. Whether it was eating at the Bella Coola Valley Restaurant, staying at The Bella Coola Valley Inn, we were continually impressed by the hospitality of the people we met. Folks even waved to us as we travelled down the road, and helped us to take a group photo! We were quite overwhelmed by the friendliness of so many of your residents.
At the Belarko Viewing Platform in Tweedsmuir Park, Colleen Gabriel and Curt Edgar greeted us with smiles every time we entered the viewing area, and offered us information on the Valley and resident grizzlies. Fraser and Holly of Kynoch Adventures were absolutely excellent as rafting guides. We all appreciated how they always chose the safest ways for our group to capture grizzlies and were greatly responsible for the success of our workshop. Their knowledge of grizzly behaviour was tremendous. Thanks for keeping us safe.
The folks at The Bella Coola Valley Restaurant were also very cordial, and we had so much fun chatting with them. Kendal, and his staff kept us coming back again and again for their delicious entrees. (I think I may have overdosed on their coconut cream pie!)
Peter and Paula Fralick provided us with research information on the Valley, and even helped us out with emergency accommodation. I think it was Peter who mentioned that folks “come up to photograph the grizzlies, but return for the people.” How true, and our next Dances With Grizzlies Photo Workshop will be doing just that! Thank you so much to all for your hospitality and we look forward to seeing you again September, 2017.
Sincerely, Ken Pugh (and all the participants in our photo workshop)Chilliwack, BC