Historic Canyons, Railways and Reaction Ferries

Many Prince George residents have lived in this area for a long time but have never explored in their own backyard.  Here is a perfect opportunity to learn about our history and view some of the most iconic historical sites in the region.  Reaction ferries, Canyons, Railways, Goat Island, Bollards, Rapids, and hopefully some local wildlife will make this a memorable trip! May 15 or June 17, 2017

Reaction Ferry
The tour will commence with a 30 minute jet boat ride up the Nechako River to the site of the Miworth Reaction Ferry. In Miworth two hulls of the ferry still remain, plus a wooden derrick tower. This ferry operated from 1922 to the mid 1940’s. Reaction ferries were common in the interior for crossing many of our river systems. The ferries consist of two pontoon hulls and a cable across the river. The energy of the river current is used to angle the pontoons across the river. Don’t miss this opportunity to visit this historic site.

Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Bridge
From the Miworth Reaction Ferry site, we will journey to the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Bridge. This iconic Prince George feature is over 100-years old and is still the longest railway bridge in B.C. While viewing the Bridge from below, Jeff will provide a historic perspective of the bridge. On this stretch of our journey a stop will also be made at Goat Island, where this island’s contribution to the building of the GTP Railway Bridge and the stories of Jim Johnson’s goat farm will be told.

Fort George Canyon
The last destination on our tour is Fort George Canyon where the sternwheelers of the early 1900’s attempted to navigate and winch themselves through the rock outcropped islands and fast flowing rapids and whirlpools of this narrow pass in the Fraser River. We will learn and experience why it was so difficult to bring these boats through this extremely treacherous section of the river. Don’t miss this chance to experience the rich history of our local rivers!

The Bolts of Ringbolt Island

One of the highlights on a couple of our tours is a jet boat ride through Kitselas Canyon. The narrow canyon restricts the flow of the Skeena River into two narrow channels. The narrowing made the canyon unnavigable for the Sternwheelers of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Their engines and paddles were not to propel them through the canyon during all but low water levels. This made the need for large steel bolts to be drill into the rock island in the middle of the canyon. The sternwheelers were then able to run a steel cable through the bolts and back to the capstan to winch the boat through. Ringbolt Island has the highest concentration of bolts but they are also lined all the way up the canyon. Every time we boat through the canyon we spot new ones. They blend in with the moss covered rocks and can be difficult to see. Be one of the few people to see this part of the Skeena River History and visit the Island during one of our adventure tours.

Ringbolt island Ring in Kitselas Canyon
Ring Bolt with Cable still attached
Bolts on RingBolt Island
Kitselas Canyon with Ringbolt Island on the left
Can you spot the ringbolt
Ring Bolt on Ringbolt Island
Kitselas Canyon Ringbolt

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Running the Historic Kitselas Canyon


Taking a jet boat through the historic Kitselas Canyon is definitely one of the highlights of a couple of our tours where we run jet boat with our guests through the Canyon. The full force of the Skeena River is condensed into two narrow channels that were just wide enough for a sternwheeler to navigate through. It wasn’t until 1891 that the first Sternwheeler “Caledonia” was successful where others failed in running up and through the churning waters of the canyon. Running through the canyon is always an exhilarating ride but especially during high water in the spring when the full volume of water pours through. One of the most notable incidents in the canyon was the sinking of the Hudson’s Bay Company Sternwheeler the “Mount Royal”. It was July 6, 1907 when a blast of wind turned the boat sideways as it entered the upper canyon. This wind turned it sideways and wedged it sideways across Ringbolt Island where it eventually sank.

The Inlander navigating Kitselas Canyon

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2017 Historic Fort George River Journey

Historic Fort George River Journey
A jet boat journey exploring trains, ferries, and sternwheelers

May 15 or June 17 2017
Prince George, BC

Historic Ft George Canyon

Journey with us as we explore the rivers of Fort George and its iconic historical features via jet boat!

On this one day tour, led by Jeff Elder from the Prince George Heritage Commission, we will travel by jet boat to explore some of the regions most inaccesible historic sites. The Nechako River and Fraser River will be our classroom for the day. Our small group of 5 participants will allow plenty of time for discussion and questions. We will go to shore throughout the day and explore at our leisure. Space is very limited so don’t delay!

Old Miworth Reaction Ferry Pontoon

Reaction Ferry
The tour will commence with a 30 minute jet boat ride up the Nechako River to the site of the Miworth Reaction Ferry. In Miworth two hulls of the ferry still remain, plus a wooden derrick tower. This ferry operated from 1922 to the mid 1940’s. Reaction ferries were common in the interior for crossing many of our many river systems. The ferries consist of two pontoon hulls and a cable across the river. The energy of the river current is used to angle the pontoons across the river.

Ring bolt in Fort George Canyon

Fort George Canyon
The last destination on our tour is Fort George Canyon where the sternwheelers of the early 1900’s attempted to navigate and winch themselves through the rock outcropped islands and fast flowing rapids and whirlpools of this narrowing in the Fraser River. We will learn and experience why it was so difficult to bring these boats through this extremely treacherous section of the river. Don’t miss this chance to experience the rich history of our local rivers!

Grand Trunk Pacific Bridge

Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Bridge
From the Miworth Reaction Ferry site, we will journey to the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Bridge. This iconic Prince George Feature is over 100 years old and at and is still the longest railway bridge in BC. While viewing the Bridge from below, Jeff will provide a historic perspective on the bridge. On this stretch of our journey a stop will also be made at Goat Island, where this island’s contribution to the building of the GTP Railway Bridge and the stories of Jim Johnson’s goat farm will be told.

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Kitselas Canyon Historic Site

We mentioned the Kitselas historic site in a previous blog entry but it deserves another post as the canyon ans site is an amazing place.  Not many people have the opportunity to visit the canyon by jet boat and visit Ringbolt island.  By viewing the canyon by boat it provides a unique perspective when we are toured around by Kitselas First Nations member Web Bennet.  Web is a wealth of knowledge and can tell you anything about the history of the area.  On this day we jet boat up the Skeena and ride through the boiling waters of the canyon.  After exploring Ringbolt island we have a shore  lunch in a secluded beach right in  the canyon.  After lunch we hike up a short trail where Web meets us with his UTV and passenger trailer.  He shares his knowledge and shows us the sites as we wind along a path through the beautiful hemlock forest.  Highlights include the longhouses, petroglyphs, totem poles, lookout, dugout canoe, interpretive signs and the flora and fauna.  This day is one you will remember for a long time.

Cruising along the Kitselas Historic site path in the UTV Passenger trailer

 

Kitselas Longhouses
Petroglyphs – Web will explain the significance of this