Carol and Rick Blacklaws combined their writing, photography and love of the Fraser River into a new book. They’ll be displaying their work and signing copies in Quesnel over the coming month. (Submitted Photo)

‘A beautiful resource’ – New book profiles Fraser River

Photos from Rick and Carol Blacklaws’ book are part of the Quesnel Art Gallery show opening Oct. 8

High in the Rocky Mountains, you’ll find a dripping spring. The water from that spring winds its way across nearly 1,400 kilometres in B.C. before hitting the Pacific Ocean.

That river is the focus of Carol and Rick Blacklaws’ book, The Fraser, River of Life and Legend.

The Blacklaws will be in Quesnel to show off the photos from their coffee table book and open up a show at the Quesnel Art Gallery Thursday, Oct. 8. The Fraser River Photographic Encaustics exhibition runs from Oct. 8 to Nov. 6.

“On our 10th wedding anniversary, Rick gave me a trip down the river,” Carol said. “That was 30 years ago … We ended up using the river as a way of taking our family out, and do adventures.”

Rick took the photos for the book, and Carol wrote it.

Despite their long history with the river, both were surprised by the wealth of new knowledge they needed to compile to put together the book.

The Fraser, much like the titular river, is divided into sections based on geography, starting in The Upper Reaches, flowing through areas like the Cariboo, and ending in the Lower Mainland.

“Rivers are strange phenomena, particularly the Fraser,” Rick said. “It’s a river of great diversity. It’s almost like having different countries joined together that make up the landscape the Fraser flows through.”

While the book follows the path of the Fraser, the flow of time isn’t as consistent.

“I tried to highlight the history, pre-history and the current,” Carol said. “Not as an entire in-depth look at each of those elements, but pull out bits that others would find interesting.”

The duo is no stranger to Quesnel and the Cariboo. They come at least four times a year to work on different projects.

“We realized we had this beautiful resource in B.C. that seemed to not resonate fully with the population as we felt it should or could,” Carol said. “So we put together the book.”

Launching a book during a global pandemic has come with its own challenges.

Rick said some publishers and stores are hesitant to move forward right now.

“Everyone’s pretty gun-shy,” Rick said.

“The topic is good; the Fraser River is a known commodity. It’s not like we’re trying to sell something that people haven’t heard of. We believe that the book should sell itself to a certain degree … It’s not the best time to be selling something.”

Rick and Carol will also be signing books in Quesnel over the course of the exhibition.

There will be a “COVID-friendly” book signing Thursday, Nov. 5 at the Quesnel Art Gallery from 6 to 8 p.m. and one at The Space Above on Saturday, Nov. 7 from noon to 3 p.m.

READ MORE: B.C. First Nation adopts historic law to protect Fraser River

READ MORE: Feds committed to protecting, restoring declining Fraser River chinook stocks says Fisheries Minister

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