Haliburton artist captures historic Minden preserve 0
Haliburton artist Carole Finn, left, gives a copy of her new book Walk by Water to Roger Parsons, architect of the Wild Water Preserve in Minden. The book captures paintings of the preserve and the Wild Pacific Trail in British Columbia, created by Finn. The artist held an official book launch at the Rails End Gallery on July 17. ANGELICA BLENICH/HALIBURTON COUNTY ECHO/QMI AGENCY
The story is in the water.
For Haliburton artist Carole Finn, the paintings captured in her recently published book Walk by Water tell more than a story, they tell a tale of determination and preservation.
Launched at the Rails End Gallery on July 17, Walk by Water is a collection of photos, stories and paintings of the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet, British Columbia, and the Wild Water Preserve in Minden.
“I was in B.C. for my son’s wedding … there was this water trail that was going to be lost because of the development of condos and golf courses … the people were all upset about it and I thought maybe I should start to do paintings of the trails. At least it will get people talking about it again,” she said.
Conceptualized by Finn, the book was inspired by water trails on opposite ends of Canada, both unique in their own way.
“The difference between what’s out west and what’s here is everybody out west knows about the Wild Pacific Trail. But the Minden Wild Water Preserve is like a little hidden treasure … and thanks to Roger it’s there,” she said.
Architect of the Minden Wild Water Preserve, Roger Parsons discussed the history and preservation of Minden’s famous water trail.
Parsons, 81, first became familiar with kayaking when he was part of the world championships in 1965, held in France.
“White water is a pretty new sport in Canada, at least competitively, as it started in 1959,” said Parsons.
Parsons and his teammates searched for water courses in Canada that were suitable to train on, but were unable to find a place that had a little “bounce to it.”
A drive to Horseshoe Lake unveiled a fast moving river, albeit with a lot of rocks and boulders in it.
“One day we were up there in the late 1970s and we noticed a for sale sign on the east side of the river,” said Parsons.
After some inquiring Parsons and his buddies visited the guy selling the land, who was uninterested in selling off parts of the land, instead wanting to sell the whole parcel for $55,000.
“In the 1970s that was a lot of money,” he said.
Parsons went to the Nature Conservancy of Canada and began to gain support from various paddling groups, eventually putting in an offer on the land.
At the time the group also started gaining attention from political figures and the township, who recognized the value of the resource, said Parsons.
More money was raised to clean-up the river and make it suitable for competitions and training.
“We got more enthusiasm and over the years we did more work. Eventually we decided to put up a building in order to store boats,” he said adding there is more work to be done.
Those who have visited or competed on the preserve, especially those coming from Europe, have voiced their love of the trail.
“This site was just unbelievable. First of all, the water doesn’t have ice cubes in it. Secondly it wasn’t the a main sewage disposal; it was clean.”
Recognized as a world-class site, organizations around the world are impressed with the facility, said Parsons.
After marrying a girl from Minden, Parsons said he became entrenched in the area, falling in love with the beauty of the Highlands.
“The fact that we were able to preserve some of this and keep it away from development and by making it available to the public I think we’ve left a legacy for our future generation,” he said. “The book that you’ve published is certainly going to help.”
Walk by Water is available at Rails End Gallery, Agnes Jamieson Gallery, Made in Haliburton in Minden, Ethel Curry Gallery, Boatwerks, Fleming College and online at www.madeinhaliburton.ca.