Natural shorelines

Steeves: Give books to delight outdoors people on your list

There are dozens of new books out this year that would make terrific gifts for outdoors lovers and heritage buffs.


Preservation of our natural and built heritage are passions of mine—in addition to food.

So, when I think of who’s on my Christmas list, I naturally think about books (another passion) about those topics as gifts.

One of the most beautiful coffee table books to catch my attention this year was Harbour Publishing’s British Columbia’s Magnificent Parks: the first 100 years, written by James D. Anderson.

As those who often read this column know, I am a big fan of our parks system, as well as our system of rustic recreation sites and this book is full of beautiful photos of some our loveliest protected wild places through the eyes of a career park administrator, along with a history of the first tumultuous century of the system.

It covers a couple of my passions, wilderness and history all in the one volume and would make a beautiful gift.

Still with history, we now have a very fun look at Kelowna’s history from the viewpoint of a researcher who also lived through part of it, and whose ancestors lived during even more of it.

Sharron Simpson’s new book, The Kelowna Story: an Okanagan History, also published by Harbour, is probably the most comprehensive volume available on this city’s characters of the past.

She does a good job of articulating the stories behind the city’s growth and making this a fun and informative read. Everyone interested in Kelowna should have a copy of this.

Still on history, but back to the province’s capital city, heritage enthusiast and journalist Nick Russell has done a masterful job writing, taking the photographs and even publishing his personal celebration of Victoria’s 150th anniversary, which is next year.

Called Glorious Victorians: Celebrating residential architecture in B.C.’s capital, he takes you on a whirlwind ride through the historic architecture of our capital city, describing the various styles, from vernacular to Tudor revival, with excellent colour photographs of all these homes and their intriguing details, along with a bit of the history behind each—a fantastic gift.

This year, local geologist Murray Roed and the Kelowna Geology Committee have produced another local book on the origins of the valley, but this time focussed on another part of the valley. It’s called Okanagan Geology South: Geologic Highlights of the South Okanagan, edited by Roed and Robert J. Fulton of Kelowna.

Like its companion volume Geology of the Kelowna Area, this is a fascinating tour of the valley describing the origins of such landscape features as Giant’s Head in Summerland or McIntyre Bluff further south in a clear and articulate style that makes scientific information available to the layman.

Great stuff.

Then, I couldn’t forget Okanagan Trips and Trails, written by myself and Murphy Shewchuk, which is a comprehensive guide to the entire valley’s back country, along with some front country as well, with excellent maps created by Murphy. This is a good guide for sledders as well as hikers, bikers, anglers and all the other outdoors people on your list.

And then there’s Bruce Obee’s Trans Canada Trail, the Canadian Hiker’s and Backpackers Handbook by Ben Gadd, Outdoor Safety and Survival by Mike Nash, Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchet…and, of course, my new book published by the Okanagan Institute this year, called Jude’s Kitchen.

All are available at Mosaic Books and most at other stores where books are sold as well.

Other Christmas gifts that will do more than just get tossed aside after a day of use include donations to organizations that help protect and preserve wilderness areas, including the Nature Trust of B.C. and the Central Okanagan Land Trust, or memberships in local outdoor organizations.

Welcome winter in next week with an evening of torchlit hiking in the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort area with Selah Outdoor Explorations. They have lots of other snowy events planned. Go to:


To register, call them at 886-695-2971 or 768-4961.

Judie Steeves writes about outdoors issues for the Capital News.


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