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Letters: Dispatch from Bear Flat


Ken and I went for a walk on New Year’s Day across Cache Creek and up to the gravesite point. On the way, we were surprised to happen upon a frozen mature Bald Eagle lying on the creek bank. As we looked around, I asked Ken what he thought could have happened to such a beautiful bird. 

“Well, it is pretty obvious what has happened here,” he replied. Ken has spent a lot of time in the bush, so I thought perhaps he could see something that I was missing, so I made the mistake of saying, “Not to me, what do you think?” 

“Well, you know how nasty the wind got with blowing snow late yesterday. The visibility would have become very minimal. This poor guy was probably flying IFR. That is ‘Instrument Flight Rules’, or in this case, it might have been ‘I Follow River’, but whichever, it was most definitely under IFR flight conditions.” 

I rolled my eyes, but it was too late; he carried on.  “So here he is on New Year’s Eve flying down the creek, and like everyone else, he is just trying to get home to the wife and kids. Visibility was nil, and he had no idea that BCH was building a new 600-metre-long bridge 140 feet above the ground, and right across his flight path due to the Highway 29 realignment for Site C. I mean, it is so crazy; who would?” 

I did not answer. Past experience had taught me that would be pointless. 

“Now perhaps Transport Canada has put out notifications about all of these new bridge hazards, but as a Bald Eagle, he would not have access to that information now would he?”

Ken was looking at me like he thought I did not grasp this observation. “Yep, what we have here is yet another Site C tragedy. The poor bugger flew into that bridge in poor visibility, and crashed to his death.” 

“Ken, don’t you think where we found him is a little far from the bridge for your story to make sense?” I pointed this out, but there was no changing his mind now. 

“No, in fact, it just further highlights how tragic this was. He didn’t die from the bridge impact. No sir. He went into a death spiral that he could not recover from, and died on impact way over here. It is so sad to think of him coming down this far with his whole life flashing in front of his eyes. I would not be surprised if he had some nasty thoughts about Christy Clark and John Horgan on the way down too!” 

“Really?” I replied, before realizing my mistake.

“Well, they kept this project going, so yeah, they killed him! In fact, I hope his family and all other relations of the victims of Site C lost over the years join forces in a big class action suit against…” 

As I headed towards the house, Ken’s voice faded behind me. 

In all seriousness, we did find this eagle on New Year’s Day. We don’t know how or why he died, and we will be dropping him off at the government office the next time we are in town. Winter is the most challenging time for wildlife in the north, and unfortunately this eagle was a victim of that. 

— Ken and Arlene Boon, Bear Flat

(written by Ken as experienced by Arlene)

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