THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING
A few of my favourite BC Provincial parks in the Gulf Islands are named after the families who at one point, called part or all of the park, home. I am sure there are many more yet to be discovered, but two that I return to year after year, are Ruckle Provincial Park on Salt Spring Island and Helliwell Provincial Park on Hornby Island.
Whenever I traverse the exquisite trails of these ocean-side parks, I cannot help but think about the Ruckle and the Helliwell families and all other families who decide to give or sell their land so that it be enjoyed by others. My mind wanders back in time as I imagine the original homesteaders and the generations who followed living on the land, enjoying the spectacular views and meadows and forests among themselves. I wonder how the families made the decision to gift their land. Were the decisions unanimous or fraught with dissension? Perhaps certain family members dreamt of inheriting a favourite spot of the land to build their dream home. In the end, it does not matter what went on behind the scenes or how the families were compensated, the fact remains they were generous, very generous. I wish I could thank the donors or their relatives directly. Instead, as I walk the trails, I give silent thanks that there are altruistic people like the Ruckles and Helliwells whose gifts keep on giving.