Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition

Skeena Swim News

She made it! Ali Howard finishes first-ever Skeena River swim


AUGUST 15, 2009 (PRINCE RUPERT) Ali Howard has completed the first-ever swim of the 610-kilometre Skeena River, British Columbia’s second longest river. She ended her 28-day effort today in Port Edward where a crowd of hundreds cheered wildly as she approached the dock at the North Pacific Cannery.

“This has been an extraordinary journey that I feel blessed to have been part of,” said Howard.

Howard’s swim took her from the alpine meadows of the Sacred Headwaters where the Skeena is born, to the tidal estuary where the river meets the Pacific Ocean. She undertook the swim to raise awareness of the Skeena and threats to its health, including coalbed methane drilling and pipeline development.

“The landscape of the Skeena is powerful beyond words, and I hope everyone who has been inspired by this adventure will find a way to protect their watershed for the future,” said Howard.

Howard spent four to eight hour per day on the river and was protected from hazards and the river’s cold water by a PFD, drysuit and helmet.

“The lower river was particularly challenging,” said Howard. “We knew dealing with the tides and the winds off the ocean was going to be tough, and the past few days have proven that the mighty reputation of the lower Skeena is deserved.”

Along the swim route, entire communities came out to meet Howard and share in her journey. From Kispiox and Hazelton to Gitseguecla and Kitsumkalum, families lined the shores, took to the river in boats, and held feasts in her honor.

“I come away from this trip feeling truly inspired by the potential of our communities – of committed people living in place and working together to take care of their home. If there’s a place in the world where we can make it work, this is it,” said Howard.

Howard’s success will be celebrated tonight in Prince Rupert with a feast and dance at the Nisga’a Hall featuring Rachel Van Zanten and Los Gringos Salvajes.


Ingrid Granlin: (250) 877-3163

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