Abandoned Kootenays and Koocanusa Burning available

November 9th, 2023 1 Minutes

Abandoned Kootenays – Keith Powell

Author catapults local history with a double book launch

By Erin Knutson

As seen in e-know.ca

Local author, publisher and photographer Keith Powell has done it again, launching his latest books, ‘Abandoned Kootenays’ and ‘Koocanusa Burning,’ at the Cranbrook Public Library on Thursday (November 2.).

The prolific Wild Horse Creek Press publisher presented his new coffee-table-styled photo book and historical novel to the public for the first time at the well-attended event. 

“There are over 120 pages of full-colour pictures in ‘Abandoned Kootenays’ featuring deserted structures and items of antiquity disappearing slowly into the vast landscape of the Kootenays,” says Powell. 

Capturing the disappearing structures is a way of preserving the legacy of this area, according to the author, who grew up in the South Country. 

Originally from Jaffray B.C., the Cranbrook-based writer has published over eight books, a ninth on the way, with his latest ‘Koocanusa Burning’ offering a close peek at the tragic but hopeful consequences of the Columbia River Treaty.

He tells the story of the damming of the Kootenay River at Libby, Montana and the impacts on his home region with the creation of Koocanusa Lake. 

“Progression often comes at a human cost,” he says.

Telling stories about this area’s beauty, trials, tribulations, and triumphs is part of what Powell does best. 

“It’s close to my heart – I knew the families affected, and I always wanted to write a story about it and the displaced people.” 

Powell talks about the irony of a move that created so much damage but also provided hydropower for many across the border and at home. 

“I shared the book early on with an affected resident who was curious, and he loved it,” he said.

Powell will also release another historical book, ‘Forgotten Kimberley,’ part of a series that started with ‘Forgotten Cranbrook,’ by the end of the year.

Keith’s books are available at various locations, including Huckleberry Books and through the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History (CBIRH). 

For a glimpse into the history of this region and its hauntingly beautiful erosion through time, inquire about a copy of ‘Koocanusa Burning’ or ‘Abandoned Kootenays,’ and visit Keith at www.wildhorsecreekpress.com.

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