The Galt Museum and Archives in Lethbridge, held a book signing for locally renowned author Chris Morrison’s book Waterton Chronicles II: Markers of Our Past on June 19.
“My very deep interest in Waterton history inspired me to write this book,” Morrison said. “There is so much history there and nobody, everybody seems to be interested in it, but nobody seems to be willing to dig for it.”
Morrison said that to get the information for her book, she went through all the Lethbridge Herald newspapers from 1925 to 1958 and looked for stories specific to Waterton. When Morrison had enough material gathered, she began to put together the book. Having a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon and experience researching for newspaper articles allowed Morrison to be comfortable and enthusiastic in researching for her book.
“Waterton is an interesting place, but nobody wants to explore the human history of it,” Morrison said. “The park doesn't do human history unless you're an Indigenous person, but there is so much history there that I felt that it should be elaborated. If it’s not elaborated, it will just go poof out the window.”
In all of the information Morrison has collected for this book, her favorite stories are in the chapter on aviation,specifically the Wings over Waterton stories. Two locals, Morrison says, had a very successful airplane business that featured airplane trips from Lethbridge to Waterton for $20, but that business eventually ended when the airplane crashed after hitting a badger hole.
Another topic that Morrison favored while writing this book was the National Forestry Program, as information about it was very elusive. There was very little in the newspaper about it, Morrison said, and there was nothing there were just a few things in the National Archives and it was an important program in 1939 that allowed young men to learn about forestry in a national park. Fortunately, Morrison eventually found someone she knew who was in the National Forestry Program and could provide information.
“It took me three years put a workload together and two winters to write this book,” Morrison said. “I collected all of the articles that I could find, I retyped it so I could access it, and then I went from there.”
Morrison has also written eight other books,serving as a co-author to her editor, Ray Djuff, for some of them.
”What keeps me motivated to write is finding something where I say, Aha; it's that Aha moment,” Morrison said. “I find working my way through all of the ins and outs of a particular subject or a particular item very exciting.”
Morrison says that her first Waterton Chronicles book was well received and that she feels a sense of accomplishment from knowing that people want her books. Morrison has also publicly spoken about her works and will be doing a reading in Coaldale in July as part of the Settler Days Celebrations.
”Although some of the information is hard to find, I just keep digging and do all that I can do find it,” Morrison said. “People can take whatever they wish out of it.”
Waterton Chronicles II: Markers of Our Past is currently for sale in the gift shop at the Galt Museum and Archives and at various locations around the Waterton National Park townsite for $20.00.
“I hope people take the opportunity to buy it and read it,” Morrison said. “I've got my email address in the book and if they want to get back to me, they can surely do that. I have had people do that with other books that I've written and it's very rewarding. However, I don't just want compliments; I also want comments or tidbits of information.”