2023 Princeton Hälle and Linda Flygare honoured with BCHF Award of Recognition

Hälle and Linda Flygare honoured with BCHF Award of Recognition

Hälle and Linda Flygare in Banff National Park.

The British Columbia Historical Federation (BCHF) is pleased to announce that Hälle and Linda Flygare of Canmore are recipients of a BC provincial Award of Recognition.

Awards of recognition are given by the BCHF to individuals who have given exceptional service for a specific project in the preservation of British Columbia’s history.

The Flygares received this Award of Recognition for preserving, documenting and marking the
Alexander Mackenzie (Nuxalk-Dakelh Grease) Trail.

Hälle was the original instigator for the preservation of the 350-km long trail from Bella Coola to Quesnel. Between 1975 and 1986, Flygare retraced and photographed the 347 km stretch from the Fraser River to the Friendly Village by the Bella Coola River, while working for Parks Canada, BC Parks and the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Flygare has walked the entire 347 km six times with his wife Linda and others, gathering information and photographs about this ancient trail which he compiled into six self-published books in 2021 and 2022.

The award was presented at the Federation’s annual conference awards gala on July 22 in Princeton.

Hälle Flygare tells us he is still active in pursuit and protection of the trail:
“The most interesting was my last year rediscovery of the 25-km trail Mackenzie used coming down from the Rainbows guided by Ulkatcho or Nuxalk people. The key was Mackenzie’s ‘Huge Rock’ located by Leslie Kopas in 1985 but missed in 1926 by the famous land surveyor Frank Swannell by not reading Mackenzie’s journals correctly about the ‘Huge Rock.’ This section of the thousand years old grease trail was last used in 1862 with the outbreak of smallpox epidemic but kept open by grizzly and black bears. Dr. Harvey Thommasen from Hagensborg followed last year my mapped route on the Google Earth maps and found Mackenzie’s last trek coming down from the Rainbows and this year located rest of the trail up to Mackenzie’s ‘Huge Rock.’ This is one of the biggest trail finds in BC but no acknowledgement has been made from BC Parks and Trails about my trail discovery.”

Flygare says he would also like to have a 30-km connector trail from Blackwater Road to the Fraser River protected. He flagged it out in 1975. While Mackenzie did not use the trail, he mentioned it in his journals, naming it the “Great Road” and the Blackwater River “West-Road River.” The Caledonia Ramblers have relocated the trail and cleared it, but it has no formal protections. “This connector trail should be included with the Heritage Trail, and we would have a complete 347-km hiking trail from the Fraser to Bella Coola Rivers,” Flygare says. “I suggest this area should be protected as a West Road Canyon Provincial Park, as it has a very beautiful deep canyon.”

Hälle and Linda Flygare in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, hiking the Mackenzie Trail.