The Lady of the Wild!

When I first heard the local people in Newfoundland talking about “The Lady of the Wild”, I had no idea where and about whom they were talking about. Today I know much better: “Tuckamore Barb” or the “Lady of the Wild” sounds familiar to the hundreds of people that have been visiting her incredible paradise in the north of Newfoundland. I have known Barb for several years now and we have become very good friends. When I give lectures about the fly fishing possibilities in Newfoundland it is impossible not to talk a few words about Barb too. The Tourist Department of Newfoundland is unbelievably kind and friendly but how friendly those people are they unfortunately cannot compete against Barbs knowledge and experiences. Just by talking to Barb you gain the knowledge of the area. She knows exactly what activity a visitor needs whether it is to fish, hike, hunt or just to relax. If it is summer, winter, spring or autumn Barb knows exactly what will make her guests happy. I cannot explain Barb better than she is the Tourist Department herself. Personally, I see Barb as a real top manager for which many companies would compete. If you ever see her at work then you will know where I am talking about. She fulfils the wishes from 80-year-old women as easily as the dreams from young wild teenagers who eagerly want to explore the wild. I have never seen a woman who knows more about wildlife and wilderness then she does and that is why I wanted to write a few words about her. She works too hard and she may need a few extra compliments.

At the coast of the Great Northern Peninsula and the Labrador Straits, I discovered as many before me a rare and peculiar vegetation that produce a wonderful smell. This smell becomes stronger especially after a little rainfall or when trees are covered with dew. At windy condition, this air can reach far inland. The people in Newfoundland call it the smell of “Tuckamore”. For me it is the cleanest air you can imagine and I only can describe it like: “the perfume of the wild”. The name Tuckamore is probably unknown in Europe, Asia and Australia. It is a typical Newfoundland term for the stunted balsam fir and spruce trees that grow in alpine areas and along the coast. On wind-exposedsites, tuckamore forms impenetrable elfin forests. It is not surprisingly that Barb chooses to call her outdoor and adventure business “Tuckamore Lodge”. For me this name became significant for Barb’s creative mind as well.

To survive in the wilderness is not easy. To survive in a male dominated business is just such a challenge and women like Barb have proven it is not an impossible challenge. Over the years, it is even tougher but surely it is not impossible as Barb proved many times. I know quite a few women who manage an outfitting business and some of their lodges belong to the best of the best. I also am familiar with a great number of lodges that never would operate that successfully without the hand of a woman. Most of the times, we deal with the husbands but I know many wives are working hard behind the scene. Barb started her business on her own and realised that in order to survive these challenges she has to be extra good. Manhandling, tact, a perfect management, skill, knowledge and a handful of faithful employees are Barb’s secrets. She studied hard, read books, took courses and learned, and learning she did. Barb always has felt comfortable when-hosting people and she grew up with an attitude that you don’t get anything worthwhile without hard work. Before Barb started her own business she worked for 15 years as a community development officer with a regional association that served seven small coastal communities in the north-eastern part of the Great Northern Peninsula. During this job she learned how to work with people and how to respect people.

We heard of “Tuckamore Barb” for the first time in 1996 when we were visiting some other lodges in Atlantic Canada. Her name was mentioned to us several times and that set you thinking. Who is this “Barb” where everybody talking about? Who is this woman that respects nature and wildlife so much? Who is this nice person that promotes catch and release fishing in a country where people prefer to take their catch? The only way to find the truth was going there, and that was exactly what we did …… and we did several times! We thank Barb for all her kindness, hospitality and especially for all her efforts to help out all those desperate fly fishermen in the North of Newfoundland during the years.

Thank you BARB!!!!