Journey to the Stikine and Sacred Headwaters (Part 1), the latest feature episode from Todd and Brendan Wells’ production company Mountain Mind Collective, follows the Washington state brothers to the northwest corner of British Columbia. There, they paddle “one of the most committing canyons in the world,” to tell the story of both their own downriver journey, as well as that of the “fight to protect the Sacred Headwaters—the source of the Stikine, Skeena and Nass rivers.”

Expedition kayakers from around the world have long made the late summer pilgrimage to test themselves on the 45-mile, big-water gauntlet that is the Grand Canyon of the Stikine. But, points out Brendan Wells—checking in from a paddling expedition in Ecuador—few paddlers know of the fight to protect the vast watershed from development.

“Our [2013] drive to the Sacred Headwaters took us on another journey we hadn’t expected,” writes Wells. “After spending time with the Tahltan families that have spent years and years fighting to protect the Sacred Headwaters and Stikine from mines, natural gas drilling, and two mega-dams in the middle of the canyon, we really wanted to share their story as well.

“They need all of the support they can get, and we saw this as a great opportunity to raise awareness in the kayaking community and encourage people to lend their support any way they can, as more and more paddlers travel thousands of miles to paddle the Stikine every year.”

Standing alongside the stakeholders fighting to protect northern British Columbia's Sacred Headwaters area. Photo courtesy Mountain Mind Collective

Standing alongside the stakeholders fighting to protect northern British Columbia’s Sacred Headwaters area. Photo courtesy Mountain Mind Collective

Read more on the storied history of the Stikine, and check out our ‘Summer of Stikine’ photo essay from one of expedition kayaking’s benchmark runs.

Journey to the Stikine and Sacred Headwaters (Part 1) is the fourth in a series of Mountain Mind Collective feature episodes debuting exclusively on CanoeKayak.com. Stay tuned for Part 2 — covering the crew’s choices to run the notorious Site Zed rapid, as well as the current situation in the Sacred Headwaters — on MONDAY JAN. 5.

Follow Mountain Mind Collective on VIMEO and FACEBOOK. Watch the latest Quick Flicks episodes from the Wells’ journeys to some of the planet’s most stunning and wild rivers, and check out the following previous feature episodes from MMC debuting on CanoeKayak.com:

Battle of the Susitna explores one of Alaska’s premiere whitewater runs, Devil’s Canyon of the Susitna, and the battle over the river’s proposed dam that would constitute the second tallest hydro-project constructed in North America.

Exploring Antioquia highlights first descents on a big-water canyon section of Colombia’s Rio Cauca, and then 55 miles down the politically unstable Rio Nechi.

Cuando en Colombia explores the first half of the team’s exploration of Colombia’s whitewater wonders including runs through the dense jungles and turbulent whitewater of the Suarez, Samana and Caldera rivers.