He was a father to British Columbia’s environmental movement, a father to anglers in the province, and even a father to nature writers, so it was fitting that on Father’s Day, a local business paid tribute to Roderick Haig-Brown in a big way on Sunday.
“This is a wonderful tribute to a fatherhood figure,” said Ken Enns, owner of River Sportsman, one of Campbell River’s most longstanding outdoors stores. “We should all look up to Mr. Roderick Haig-Brown.”
Haig-Brown made the Campbell River famous through his writings about fly fishing which also made him an early spokesperson for conservation through the way he celebrated nature and advocated its preservation.
Six years ago, Enns commissioned carver Max Chickite, the co-creator of the Transformations on the Shore carving competition, to create a life-sized wooden statue of Haig-Brown.
Chickite’s work on the carving was interrupted by a stroke, from which he has fully recovered, allowing him to complete the carving.
The carving was unveiled at River Sportsman on Sunday where it will be installed for all to enjoy.
Enns’ tribute to Haig-Brown didn’t end there, though. He also donated $10,000 on behalf of River Sportsman to the Haig-Brown Institute (HBI) which continues Haig-Brown’s legacy by promoting watershed conservation and the links between ecology and economy through literature and conservation.
The institute also supports the writer in residence program at Haig-Brown House.
Meanwhile, Alan Haig-Brown, the son of Roderick, expressed his thanks to Enns on behalf of the Haig-Brown family.
Alan told the gathering about being reminded of his father and his love for the power of rivers here, in Europe and in his father’s native Britain. He was also reminded of the time his father spent with him walking the length of the Campbell and other rivers and brought out the “living, breathing excitement of a river.”
Roderick also taught Alan and others not only about the spirit and power of rivers but also “our huge responsibility not to mess them up any more than we have.”
“Thank you for honouring this man,” Alan said to Enns.