Grizzlies and Lyngby Sedge

For coastal Grizzly Bears one of the most important spring food sources is the Lyngby sedge (Carex lyngbyei).  This sedge grows in the intertidal zone and can tolerate fresh and salt water. The bears feast on this abundant spring vegetation because of its high crude protein content as it contains 25% raw protein. One of the easiest ways to determine a Grizzly Bears activity in an area is to look at the tops of the Lyngby Sedge.  If they are flat on the top instead of pointed then this would indicate that a bear has eaten the tops off.  The next step is too see if the tops are still green which would indicate that the bear has just recently eaten the sedge or is there a brown stain or color to the top which indicates that some time has passed since the bear ate them.

The estuaries and coastline with sedges in the  spring months are definitely areas where one would begin to look for Grizzly Bears as they begin their summer long process of fattening up.

To see these bears in their natural habitat feeding in a sea of green sedge our UNBC “Northwest BC Grizzly Bear Discovery Tour” is an excellent way to visit very remote locations and watch these magnificent creatures photograph them.  June 6-10, 2017 starting in Terrace, BC

Grizzly enjoying a meal in the Sedge Grass
Grizzly Bear eating Lyngby Sedge

 

Grizzly Bear Adventure Program

Are you a photographer or adventurer who likes to explore off the beaten path. Our “Northwest BC Grizzly Bear Discovery Tour” is a tour uses jet boats, ocean boats and seaplanes to access some of Northwest BC’s most inaccessible and remote Grizzly Bear viewing areas.  Imagine being poled through narrow channels surrounded by fields of sedge grass and waiting in anticipation around each bend for the perfect photo of of a grizzly bear in its natural habitat. We utilize jet boats and ocean boats maneuver the guests into that perfect location for bear viewing.  Imagine staying overnight in a lodge in the midst of a grizzly bear sanctuary where the bears are only minutes away.  Imagine jet boating through narrow ocean inlets to remote estuaries where feeding grizzly bears go about there daily fill of lygby sedge.  You do not want to miss this opportunity view, photograph and explore northwest BC in search of the Grizzly Bear. Photos credit @simonsees

Northwest BC Grizzly Bear Discovery Tour

Grizzly Bear beachcombing
Grizzly Bear eating Lygby sedge
Coastal Grizzly Bear
Family of Grizzly Bears exploring the coastline
Young Grizzly Bear

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Top Skeena River Historical Features

The Skeena River  has some amazing historical sites and features.  Here area  few of my favorites.

Kitselas Canyon
An amazing place with a ton of history. Ringbolt island, petroglyphs, totem poles, long houses are some of the highlights. I have been on many tours of the historic site with Webb Bennet and I learn something new everytime.

Kitselas Canyon
Kitselas Canyon
Kitselas Totem Poles
Kitselas Totem Poles
Ringbolt Island
Ringbolt Island

Woodcock Airstrip
The Airstrip was built in the 40′s as a relief landing field by the Military. It was used by the cadets as a base for their operations as well but has now fell into disrepair. it seems so out of place on the edge of the river. Most people drive right by it on the south side of the Skeena River and do not know it exists on the opposite side of the river.

Woodcock Airstrip
Woodcock Airstrip
Woodcock Airstrip1
Woodcock Airstrip1

Port Essington / Spokeshute
An amazing place with a long history as it was the hub of the Commercial Salmon Cannery industry on the Skeena River. Everytime I go there and explore I find something new. After reading the “Spokeshute” book by E. A Harris and the “Klondike of the Skeena” by Phylis Bowman the town makes sense when visiting it as you can imagine where all the stories took place.

The Hi Lo crab boat resting at Port Essington
The Hi Lo crab boat resting at Port Essington
Port Essington Boardwalk
Port Essington Boardwalk
Port Essington  from the Air
Port Essington from the Air

Dorreen
This unique railway, mining and farming community on the banks of the Skeena River is a hidden gem. My favorite part of the the visit is looking for all the old cars and trucks in the overgrown forest. The train used to have a siding where the locals could unload a vehicle off the train for the few km of road that existed. Once the siding was removed the cars and trucks had no way out to the millions of km’s of road on the outsdie of Dorreen.

Dorreen General Store
Dorreen General Store
Dorreen Railway Station
Dorreen Railway Station
Dorreen Truck
Dorreen Truck

Chief Legaik Pictograph
The portrait is believed to be that of the Tsimshian Chief, Legaik. The left side of the painting records a feast given by the chief in which 9 containers were given away.The painting was done by an artist named Lequate in the 1830′s. How did he manage to paint this on this massive rock face?
It is believed he was suspended in a cedar basket from a rope from above the rock face while he painted the rock.

Chief Legaik Pictographs
Chief Legaik Pictographs
Chief Legaik Pictographs closeup
Chief Legaik Pictographs closeup

Skeena City
Located at the mouth of the Khyex River was a small community known as “Skeena City”. Many people drive right by without even seeing the remnants from the past. This 1910 community was short lived but it did have a cannery and sawmill. The island of trees on the shores of the river include many remnants of these past activities. Old pilings, tunnels, bricks and metal piping still scatter the area.

Skeena City Mill
Skeena City Mill
Skeena City Pilings
Skeena City Pilings
Skeena City Kiln
Skeena City Kiln

Sternwheeler Cordwood
Have you ever seen a 100 year pile of cordwood? The fuel for the sternwheelers in the early 1900’s was row upon row of wood stacked on the banks of the Skeena River. The Sternwheelers would stop every few hrs to reload and continue up the Skeena to Hazeleton. Cordwood cutters would receive $3-4 a cord but the cutter who cut these piles probably never got paid as the piles still remain on the banks of the Skeena River. (maybe waiting for a sternwheeler revival!)

100 year old Cordwood for Sternwheelers
100 year old Cordwood for Sternwheelers
100 year old cordwood piles for Sternwheelers
100 year old cordwood piles for Sternwheelers

Chief Comaham Headstone
The story behind Chief Comaham according to Ruth Hallock was that he was paddling up the Skeena River on a hot August 15th day in 1873. He had left Port Simpson on his way to the mouth of the Lakelse River with his family. His young 4 year old daughter was standing in the canoe when they encountered a swell in the river and over board she went. Comaham did not hesitate and jumped in the murky waters of the Skeena River after his daughter. The churning waters were too much for Comaham as he and his daughter were never seen again. A lengthy search for his body was not successful. A Stonecutter from Port Simpson named George Rudge was commissioned to to a headstone for Chief Comaham. This headstone still stands today in memoriam.

Chief Comaham Headstone
Chief Comaham Headstone

Gitwangak Totem Poles and Church
The 1893 St Paul’s Anglican Church and Bell Tower at Kitwanga (formerly known as Gitwangak) plus the different Clan totem poles that line the river are a highlight and easily accessible.

St Paul's Church
St Paul’s Church
Gitwangak Totem Pole
Gitwangak Totem Pole

Haysport Cannery
Haysport which was named after Charles Hays who died in the Titanic sinking. He was also responsible for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway which was completed in 1914. Haysport seemed like it would end up becoming a thriving town as it had the name of one of the most famous and influential entrepeneurs behind it. It was on the same side of the river as the Railway ( this caused the demise of Port Essington across the Skeena River). One thing that did not bode well for the town was that they moved the commercial fishing boundary down river from Haysport which was the start of the demise of Haysport. An interesting fact mentioned int eh recent book I read was that once the commercial fishing season came to and end, workers from all the canneries on the lower Skeena River made their way to Haysport to catch the train back to their home village up the Skeena River. One story mentioned a line of luggage 1 km long and 5-6 hrs to load it and all the passengers on the train at Haysport. It would have been quite a scene!

Haysport  Cannery Boardwalk
Haysport Cannery Boardwalk
Haysport  Cannery
Haysport Cannery

Cedarvale Store
The village of Cedarvale which was formerly known as Meanskinisht has the remains of the store and post office on the north side of the Skeena River. The building is one of the three remaining buildings that missionary Robert Tomlinson built in the late 1800′s. This building has been a “Jack of all trades building” as it served initially as a home, telegraph office,post office, polling station during elections,store and rurvived the 1936 Skeena flood with water at its wall.The building still stands today on the banks of the Skeena River directly across from Cedarvale and the site of the old reaction ferry.

Cedarvale Store 2016
Cedarvale Store 2016

Meanskinisht Cemetery
The village Meanskinisht which means beneath a pine tree is also n=known as Cedarvale was the site of Robert Tomlinson’s mission in 1888. Robert and his wife Alice are buried in the cemetery.

Robert & Alice Tomlinson Grave
Robert & Alice Tomlinson Grave
Robert & Alice Tomlinson Graves
Robert & Alice Tomlinson Graves

Cassiar Cannery
The Cassiar Cannery, which was built on Inverness Passage on the Skeena River in 1903. It canned salmon until 1983 which made it the longest running cannery on the Northcoast. Justine and Mark have done an amazing job at renovating the “Managers houses” as a guest accommodation. The houses are situated right on the banks of the Skeena River. Here is a link to their website. http://www.cassiarcannery.com

Cassiar Cannery  Wharf
Cassiar Cannery Wharf
Cassiar Cannery Manager Houses
Cassiar Cannery Manager Houses

George Frizzel Boneyard
George Frizzel was a local butcher and business person in Port Essington. As there was no grazing lands for cattle, they were brought in live on the Union Steamship and kept around until they were butchered and the remains thrown over his dock. Quite an eerie sight after 100 years.

George Frizzel Boneyard
George Frizzel Boneyard
George Frizzel Boneyard
George Frizzel Boneyard

Ksan Historic Site
This replicated Gitxsan historic site is located at the confluence of the Bulkley and Skeena Rivers in the community of Hazelton. The long houses and totem poles are a must see.

Ksan Historic Site
Ksan Historic Site
Ksan Historic Site
Ksan Historic Site

 

UNBC Educational Adventures Promotional Video

Our 2016 lineup of Educational Adventure Tours are all scheduled and filling up. We Have an amazing promotional video highlighting a couple of the tours. Check it out some of the amazing sites and scenery Northern BC has to offer.

Canneries of the Northcoast – May 29-June 3, 2016
Jet Boat Photography Tour – June 5-11, 2016
Skeena River Historical Jet Boat Journey – August 5-10, 2016
Ghost Towns of Northwest BC – August 21-27, 2016
Historic Transportation Methods of Fort George – May 6 or 15, 2016
Upper Fraser River White Sturgeon Biology Tour May 7-8 2016