The 2016 team nearly blown away at Grande Cache–Kristen Walsh, Eric Higgs, Mary Sanseverino, Julie Fortin, Rick Arthur, and Sandra Frey

The Mountain Legacy Project is back in the field for 2016. We are working on a variety of priority repeat photographs along the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies.

The core field team comprises Rick Arthur, our liaison with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and Sandra Frey and Julie Fortin, both graduate students at UVic’s School of Environmental Studies.

Training began at UVic on June 2nd with a two-day intensive workshop led by Mary Sanseverino on photography, image processing, and repeat photography. We were joined by Kristen Walsh and Rick Arthur at the Elbow Fire Base near Bragg Creek, Alberta, on June 9th. Kristen was team leader in 2014, and spent the 2015 field season conducting interviews with fire tower lookouts for her graduate research project on the cultural experiences of wind. She provided extensive advice to this year’s field team on preparation for all the demands of repeat photography in the mountains. Rick Arthur arranged for hover exit and 2-way radio certification for the team, and guided us through the many dimensions of safety around helicopters and protocols for communications with AAF ground staff.

While the six of us were in the field together we managed several practice photography stations, and attempted a hike to King Creek Ridge in Kananaskis Country, where we were pinned down at the summit by a series of snow squalls. Relocating to Grande Cache Fire Base on June 13th, we were again beset by unsettled weather. On the 15th, the day that Kristen, Mary and I pointed out vehicle west for Victoria, the winds were gusting to 90 kms and the power went out. It was an auspicious beginning to what we hope will be a productive and enjoyable field season. With the hot, dry spring weather that helped to produce the devastating Fort McMurray fire, anything is possible. Fingers crossed.


–Eric Higgs