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Remembering Bruce Hill

Our founder, Spencer Beebe, reflects on the life and work of conservationist, leader, activist, and father of two, Bruce Hill.

We lost a hero this week. Our friend and colleague Bruce Hill died Monday morning, his 71st birthday, after a tough year battling cancer, surrounded by his dear family in Terrace, British Columbia. He and his wife Anne raised two great kids who will carry on.

Bruce was a critical part of the Haisla First Nation’s long and successful effort to create the Kitlope Heritage Conservancy, the largest protected intact coastal temperate rain forest watershed in the world.

“A folkstorm is when a community, faced with a bad idea, rises up on their two feet and draws a line in the sand.”  —Bruce Hill

No one ever accused Bruce of not saying what he thought. Or of not acting on his beliefs. As a logger, millwright, commercial fisherman, guide, and man of the people, Bruce was always on the front lines: wild steelhead and salmon conservation, fish farms, overfishing, LNG, natural gas, methane, coal and mineral development, and basic human rights.

Back in 2015, we sat down with Bruce at his home in Terrace, where he talked about the power of the “folkstorm.”

I remember my time with Bruce well. We always laughed at our own craziness, ate and drank too well, played music and sang around unnecessarily large campfires.

A detonation zone around a big old tree will ring loud and clear for a long time to come.

As we remember Bruce and give thanks for the tender care by his friends and family, here is another great tribute by our mutual friend and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, remembering our great work together with Bruce and others to protect the Kitlope.

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, had this message to Bruce Hill for his Native Fish Society Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.