A well-known northwest Saskatchewan ecotourism and sustainable development advocate has passed away.

Green Lake Mayor Ric Richardson died Wednesday after a battle with cancer.

His stepdaughter Angela Bishop said Richardson and his wife Rose were an inseparable team and the hub of many of their activities was the local business they owned: Keewatin Junction Café and Cultural Centre.

“They did so many kinds of cultural workshops, like plants as medicine,” she said. “They really were land-based advocates. Promoting an economy that was consistent with traditional cultural practices.”

Bishop added although Richardson had been dealing with cancer for about three years, his health had taken a particular turn for the worse in the past year.

“There was a little shift in his health that we had noticed. Late last summer, he ended up getting an eye infection and he had started to take cortisone and he had an allergic reaction to it.”

In recent days he had been in and out of hospital and died in the Meadow Lake Health Centre.

Richardson was serving his first term as Green Lake mayor after being elected in 2016.

He and Rose Richardson opened Keewatin Junction in 2002 at the junction of highways 155 and 55.

Built in 1931, the structure had originally served as the Canadian Pacific Railway station in Meadow Lake.

Ric and Rose were married for 20 years after being introduced at a meeting in Calgary where they were both there as activists, according to Bishop.

From then on it was pretty much love, at first sight, she said as both committed their lives to the environment, northern Saskatchewan, traditional medicine, Métis rights and Indigenous historical preservation.

“He was a tireless advocate of the north. Working to create opportunities in the north. For all the time I had known him, there was always a focus on ecotourism, both him and mom.”

Bishop said there has been no decision yet made on when the funeral will be or what particular form it will take because of COVID-19.

However, she did say Richardson’s body will be donated to science as per his wishes.

(PHOTOS: Top and middle, Ric and Rose Richardson. Bottom, Keewatin Junction Cafe and Cultural Centre. Photos courtesy Angela Bishop.)