Mountain Legacies




Higgs, Eric
Rhemtulla, Jeanine M.
Sanseverino, Mary
Starzomski, Brian M.
Snow, Bill
Frey, Sandra
Fortin, Julie A.
Falk, Jenna
Fisher, Alina
Trant, Andrew J.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Future Ecologies


From a distance, mountain landscapes may appear timeless and immutable. Take a closer look, however, and montane ecologies reveal themselves to be laboratories of radical transformation: rocks weather and fall; ecosystems burst into life for brief intervals; tree-lines shift; and wildfires rage. Even the very peaks themselves inch inexorably upwards or downwards with the flow of time. Amidst all the constant, unyielding change that animates the Earth's high places, people have long sought a vantage from which to survey this shifting terrain. Who can resist the romance of a breathtaking, mountaintop view? Or then to imagine what generations past might have seen from the same spot? In the mid 1990s, a small group of scientists in western Canada grew dissatisfied with mere imagining — they wanted to see that change for themselves. And in a forgotten corner of a national archive, they found some very heavy boxes that held a rare promise: an opportunity to look back in time at a landscape scale.


This episode was produced by Mendel Skulski and Adam Huggins, with help from Eric Higgs, and features the voices of Jeanine Rhemtulla, Eric Higgs, Mary Sanseverino, Brian Starzomski, Bill Snow, Sandra Frey, Julie Fortin, Jenna Falk, Alina Fisher, Andrew Trant, Kristen Walsh, Jill Delaney, and Rob Watt. Music by Thumbug, Shadow Acid, Erik Tuttle, Sage Palm, and Sunfish Moon Light From Eric: There are many voices associated with the Mountain Legacy Project, and only a few are represented in this episode. First, to the gifted field team members, who since 1998 greeted so many mountains and learned to love delicate camera equipment. Dedicated volunteers such as Ian MacLaren, Rob Watt, Rick Arthur and Sandy Campbell turned a research notion into a sprawling project. Heroes within institutions such as the University of Victoria, Parks Canada, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry—Jonathan Bengston, Shahira Khair, Jeff Albert, Rick Kubian, Mike Eder, Kim Pearson, Bruce Mayer and many others—ensured the flow of in-kind support and funding. Funding agencies, such as SSHRC and fRI Research, supported innovation. Colleagues and students near and far have continuously stirred new ideas. All of this work is made possible by two professionally introverted groups: archivists and software specialists. Thank you to Pascal LeBlond, Jill Delaney and the digitization team at Library and Archives Canada, and software whizzes Chris Gat, Spencer Rose and Mike Whitney. Might the most enduring legacy of our work be the transfiguration of colonial materials for support of Indigenous resurgence and reconciliation? I hope so, and am grateful for colleagues and advisors including Sarah Hunt, Darcy Mathews, Ry Moran, Craig Richards, Bill Snow and others for showing the way, such as the Canadian Mountain Network, SSHRC and fRI Research. Funding for this episode of Future Ecologies was granted through the University of Victoria’s Pathways to Impact fund.


Pathways to Impact: Mobilizing Knowledge Fund


Skulski, M., Huggins, A. & Higgs, E. (Producers). (2022, December 17). Mountain Legacies (FE4.9) [Audio podcast episode]. In Future Ecologies. Future Ecologies.