A Tale of Two Ghost Towns – Kitsault & Alice Arm

The 1922 Alice Arm School
One of the apartment buildings in Kitsault.
Faded stop sign that is not really needed anymore as there is no traffic
Inside the Kitsault Shopping Centre
Access to the town is restricted and permission is needed to enter the town
An old paved road slowly getting moss covered
Inside one of the apartment living rooms
Our guests from the 2018 tour
The empty post office boxes
Swimming pool at Kitsault
The pool table ready for another game
The library still full of books
One of abandoned streets
Another street in Kitsault
A carport of one of the houses
Operating room in the hospital
Curling rocks waiting for another game
A couple of guests in the Maple Leaf Pub
Kitsault Movie Theatre
Squash Courts
Faded stop sign
Blue Heron Gallery in Alice Arm
The entrance to the Kitsault Mall
A faded swing set seat
Chests in the teacherage of the Alice Arm school

One our Ultimate Ghost Town Adventure we visit two of Northern BC’s most unique ghosts towns which are essentially neighbors.  The early 1900 silver mining town of Alice Arm was home to the Dolly Varden Mine and railway while Kitsault just across the inlet was home to the early 1980’s molydenum mine of Kitsault.  Alice Arm still buzzes with hoped of finding the next big silver “find” as exploration crews still scour the valley in the summer.  Other than that the town is largely abandoned with a scattering of locals who spend the summer in the town.

Across the inlet is the modern day ghost town of Kitsault.  It was a complete town that was built on the premise of strong moly prices for years, but after a couple of years the price of moly crashed and the mine was shut down.  The fully serviced town with shopping mall, swimming pool, basketball court, curling rink, hospital, pub, movie theater, apartments and houses sat vacant until 2005 when Viriginia business man bought the town sight unseen for 5.7 million dollars.  The town has still sat vacant other than caretakers and a summer crew of maintenance people.

Everything still remains relatively eerily as it was in 1982.  We are fortunate enough to be granted access to tour the town and also stay overnight in it.

We will be heading back to Kitsault and Alice Arm,  August 17-18, 2019 for any of you that are interested.  Here are some photos from last year.

A Time Warp – Let us take you back to the 80’s

How many of you would jump at a chance to be taken back in time to the 80’s ? Well…… it is now possible through the Ghost Towns of Northwest BC Tour where we visit the town of Kitsault.  Our exclusive access to this 1980’s ghost town will take you back in time to 1983 when the moly mine closed and the towns residents were told to pack up and leave.  The town has been left as is for 35 years.  Complete with a shopping mall, swimming pool, fully equipped hospital, curling rink, movie theatre, library, pub, gymnasium, stores, apartments and houses.  How many of you remember the harvest gold appliances?  you will be re-aquainted as you spend the night in one of the 1908 apartments complete with harvest gold stoves and fridges.  You do not want to miss an opportunity to be one of the few people allowed exclusive access to this town and btw who wouldn’t jump at the chance to go back in time!

Guests waiting for the movie to start in the Kitsault Movie theatre
Guests waiting for the movie to start in the Kitsault Movie theatre
Guests waiting for the stores to open in the Kitsault Mall
Guests waiting for the stores to open in the Kitsault Mall
Kitsault Hospital bed
Kitsault Hospital bed
Kitsault Apartment
Kitsault Apartment
Kitsault Swimming Pool
Kitsault Swimming Pool
Harvest Gold Kitchen

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The Guests of Ghost Towns 2016

On all of our trips our guest really make the trips. We have had so many interesting people participate in the tours and it has been great to get to know them over a short period. Many of them are repeat guests that are coming back for another tour the following year. We always like to to take a lot of photos on the tours for marketing purposes and many of these now include photos of guests participating in the tours. Here are some photos from last August’s Ghost Towns of Northwest BC Tour. This year’s tour is starting to fill up and will be another great tour to some of northwest BC’s most remote and inaccessible Ghost Towns.

2016 Ghost Town Guests posing in front of Kitsault sign
Exploring the inside of the Anyox Dam
2016 Ghost Town Guests in front of the Dorreen Store
2016 Ghost Town Guests going into the Alice Arm School
2016 Ghost Town Guests checking out the pilings at low tide
Enroute to Anyox to aboard the Raincoast Explorer
Checking out Ringbolts in Kitselas Canyon
Guests posing in the the Kitsault Maple Leaf Pub
Exploring Anyox Powerhouse
Guests Exploring Kitselas Historic Site
Guests waiting for the stores to open in the Kitsault Mall
Guests enjoying a meal at Alice Arm provided by the locals
Photographing in the Anyox Cemetery
Guests paying for a bottel of water at the Kitsault Grocery store
Guests waiting for the movie to start in the Kitsault Movie theatre

 

 

 

Going back in time to the Kitsault Mall

Who thought it was possible to go back in time. Visiting the Kitsault Mall may be as close as one can get to a time warp. The mall closed shortly after it opened and I think they were still looking to fill all the stores. As seen in the Kitsault Times the mall opened in 1982 and the residents were told to leave in 1983. The “Hospitality Foods” still has grocery carts in the store, the bank still has the charge machines and stationery. The mall had a grocery store, restuarant, sports store, post office, clothing, sears and more. It is quite the feeling wandering around the mall and expecting people to come out of the stores or expecting there to be packages of bacon in the meat section of the grocery store. We will be heading back to Kitsault in August 2017 as one of the five ghost towns on our “Ghost Towns of Northwest BC tour.

The Kitsault Times Mall Opening
Hospitality foods
Kitsault Post Office
Empty Store shelves
The Kitsault Sears
Kitsault Post Office
Kitsault Post Office

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2017 Ghost Towns of Northwest BC

Investigate the abandoned Ghost Towns of Northwest BC

Ghost Towns of Northwest BC
August 20-26, 2017
Terrace, BC

Don’t Miss out on our most popular tour as it will fill up again in 2017.

Anyox Coke Plant

 

This 5 day northern BC adventure is a must for the Ghost Town aficionado. Exclusive access to some of British Columbia’s most restricted ghost town’s will be provided. The remoteness and history of these fabled towns will amaze even those without an interest in the eerie past of these boom and bust communities. You will visit the modern day Ghost town of Kitsualt which has sat vacant for over 30 years and the only thing missing are the people. We have been granted access to the remote and historic mining town of Anyox which has been referred to as the “The Town that got Lost”. The once thriving mining town had over 3000 residents in 1914 but has now been uninhabited for the past 80 years. The tour also includes an adventure to one of BC’s most inaccessible ghost town’s, Alice Arm and the historic ghost towns on the Skeena River; Port Essington and Doreen. We will utilize ocean going boats and jet boats to access these remote locations. Hopefully you are not afraid of ghosts as we will be overnighting in three of these eerie towns. Don’t miss this chance of a lifetime to be part of this special trip!

DAY ONE
We travel east of Terrace and launch our two jet boats on the magnificent Skeena River and take a short boat ride to the north side of the river. After a short walk we arrive at Dorreen, at the base of glacier-covered Mt. Knauss. Our local guide will show us around the once thriving town and share is passion and history of the town. The town used to be a prospering mining and farming town on the GTP rail line, but today only a dozen cabins and houses are still remain and most people use it as a summer getaway. The town is hub for old antique discarded vehicles that were brought in by train to drive on the few km’s of dirt road.

Old truck in the Ghost Town of Dorreen
Old truck in the Ghost Town of Doreen

DAY TWO
We will travel downstream (west) towards the historic cannery town of Port Essington. Built in 1875, this town was the life of the mighty Skeena River until 1910, when another town to the north, Prince Rupert, was built at the terminus of the railway. At this ghost-town you will have the opportunity to capture amazing historic photos and explore the forest where remnants of the past await us with a special story behind each one. Afterwards we’ll take a boat ride across the river to a small hidden hot spring, where we can soak in a small pool under the towering coastal Sitka Spruce rainforest.

The Boneyard at Port Essington
The Remnants of the Pilings at tthe Cannery Ghost Town of Port Essington

DAY THREE
On your third day you will drive through the heart of a historic lava flow en route to the coastal village of Gingolx. At this village we will meet our boat and captain who will take us into Observatory Inlet on the way to the once bustling site of Anyox. The boat will go at a relaxing pace to see the amazing coastal scenery and observe wildlife along the way. Our stop will be at the abandoned town of Anyox, once the most important smelter along the west coast. Remains of old railway cars, power stations, general store and the once largest dam in Canada will be toured.

The Anyox Dam

DAY FOUR
We spend the day at Alice Arm, the legendary silver mining town and site of the once famous Dolly Varden Mining Railway whose narrow gauge track led up the Kitsault river to several rich mine sites. The town has several dilapidated cabins and stores, alongside modernized cabins used as summer retreats. We will walk around the historic sites, meet some locals and walk to a nearby waterfall, where salmon can be  seen spawning. We will be treated to a seafood barbecue by the only year round residents of Alice Arm.

Alice Arm Haunted House

DAY FIVE
After a comfortable and peaceful night at Alice Arm Lodge, we will travel by boat across the inlet to the modern day Ghost Town of Kitsault. Our exclusive access to this site will include a tour of the site and the many buildings that have sat vacant as is since 1981. This will include the shopping centre, swimming pool, school, theatre and much more. We will spend the night in one of the 1980’s style apartments and get rested for our 4 hour drive through the coastal mountains back to Terrace the following morning.

36 years of emptiness in Kitsault Shopping Centre

 

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2017 Northern B.C. Adventure Tour Dates Just Released

2017 UNBC Continuing Studies
Northern B.C. Adventure Tours

NOW OPEN  FOR REGISTRATION!

A one-of-a-kind experience. Since 2014, UNBC Continuing Studies has been offering awe-struck adventurers rare access to seldom-visited historic sites, wondrous wildlife, and stunning natural scenery that is distinctly Northern British Columbia. See our list of past and new tours that are now open for registration.  Check back daily for blog posts on all of the tours!
 
Sturgeon caught for research purposes Fraser River White Sturgeon Tour

Upper Fraser White Sturgeon Biology Experience
May 4-5, 2017
Prince George, BC

Canneries of the Northcoast
May 8-June 11, 2017
Cassiar Cannery, Port Edward, BC

Cassiar Cannery Canneries of the North Coast Tour

Historic Fort George River Journey
May 15 or June 17, 2017
Prince George, BC

Historic Ft George Canyon Historic Ft George River Journey Tour

The Port Essington Experience
May 27, 2017
Terrace, BC

The Port Essington Experience Tour

“The Town That Got Lost” Anyox Exploration
June 3-4, 2017
Terrace, BC

The Anyox Powerhouse “The Town That Got Lost” Anyox Exploration Tour

Northwest BC Grizzly Bear Discovery Tour
June 6-10, 2017
Terrace, BC

Grizzly Bear walking the shore Northwest BC Grizzly Bear Discovery Tour

Skeena River Historical Jet Boat Journey
August 1-6, 2017
Hazelton – Port Edward, BC

Navigating the 200 km trip down the Skeena River Skeena River Historical Jet Boat Journey Tour

Ghost Towns of Northwest BC
August 20-26, 2017
Terrace, BC

The Ghostly and Abandoned Kitsault Shopping Centre Ghost Towns of Northwest BC Tour
Combining the knowledge of local experts with unique destinations and activities, Continuing Studies’ jet boat tours will provide you a spectacular story all your own.
 
“It was indeed one of the best travel and educational experiences that I have encountered.”
–          Ron Paull
For more information check out our Blog or our website http://www.unbc.ca/continuing-studies/courses-workshops
or contact Rob Bryce at (250) 960-5982 or rob.bryce@unbc.ca

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What’s Showing at the Kitsault Movie Theatre?

On our Ghost Towns of Northwest BC Tour we visit the modern day ghost town of Kitsault. It has been in a time warp since 1982 when the town closed and everyone was told to leave. One of the interesting things we see on our exclusive tour is the Movie Theatre. Past residents have commented that they saw movies like Bambi, Snow White, Rocky Horror picture show plus it even doubled a venue for weddings and church service. Very Cool place. Check out our 2016 tour on how you can visit this place.

Guests getting ready for a showing a the Kitsault Theatre
Guests getting ready for a showing a the Kitsault Theatre
Kitsault Movie Theatre
Kitsault Movie Theatre

The Kitsault Apartment

On our Ghost Towns of Northwest BC we are fortunate to be able to tour the modern day ghost town of Kitsault.  The town has two sets of aprtments.  The multi room family apartments are on a knoll overlooking the ocean while the single room apartments which primarily catered to the single men mine workers is the first building you see upon entering the town.  And by chance it is directly across the street from the Maple Leaf Pub. I can only imagine the men waling across the street after work and going for a beer in the pub. Here are a few photos of the single men apartments.

Kitsault Apartment
Kitsault Apartment

Kitsault Apartment
Kitsault Apartment

Inside the single men apartments
Inside the single men apartments

Kitsault’s Harvest Gold

During our “Ghost Towns of Northwest BC” tour we are fortunate enough to stay overnight in a few of the Ghost Towns. These include Anyox, Alice Arm and Kitsault. Kitsault is the modern day ghost town that has sat empty since 1982 when the Molybdenum mine shut down and the residents were forced to leave. Our guests will be staying in one of the family apartments while we tour the community. If you are looking to be “Taken back in time” then you do not want to miss this opportunity. One of the time capsule moments that stuck with me during the visits is the “Harvest Gold” appliances that accompany each suite. These bring back many memories from my youth when we had the same colored stoves and fridges.

Kitsault Apartment
Harvest Gold Kitchen
Harvest Gold Countertop

2015 UNBC Ghost Towns Expedition

Agenda for the 2015 Ghost Towns Expedition to Anyox, Dorreen, Alice Arm, Kitsault, Port Essington.

August 23-29, 2015 starting in Terrace, BC

Access to three of the five ghost towns is private so do not miss out on this opportunity of a lifetime to re-live a part of BC’s history.

Check out our video from last year’s trip

https://youtu.be/BxbF0XVYK5A

All accommodations (staying overnight in three of the ghost towns), meals, access, transportation ( bus, yachts, jet boats, 4×4 trucks) are included!

DAY ONE
We travel east of  Terrace by boat through the narrow  Kitselas Canyon on the Skeena River where the Kitselas people have lived in the area for the past 5000 years in several villages. Next we will pass the small community of Usk. Once famous for berry-growing, a flood in the 1930s destroyed most of the community. A few people still live there now. Access is by the Usk Ferry or a passenger-only cablecar when the river is iced over. Landing at Fiddler Creek, we arrive at Dorreen, at the base of glacier-covered Mt. Knauss. It used to be a mining and farming town on the rail line, about 70km east of Terrace. Today only a dozen cabins and houses are still livable and most people use it as a summer getaway.

Day Two
We will travel downstream (west) towards the historic cannery town of Port Essington.  Built in 1875, this town was the life of the mighty Skeena River until 1910, when another town to the north, Prince Rupert, was built at the terminus of the railway.  At this ghost-town you will have the opportunity to capture amazing historic photos and explore the forest where remnants of the past await us with a special story behind each one. Afterwards we’ll take a boat ride across the river to a small hidden hot spring, where we can soak in a small pool under  the towering coastal Sitka Spruce rainforest.

Day Three
On your third day you will drive through the heart of a historic lava flow en route to the coastal village of Gingolx.  At this village we will meet our  boat and captain who will take us into Observatory Inlet on the way to the once bustling site of Anyox. The boat will go at a relaxing pace to see the amazing coastal scenery and observe wildlife along the way. Our stop will be at the abandoned town of Anyox, once the most important smelter along the west coast. Remains of old railway cars, power stations, general store and the once largest dam in Canada will be toured.

Day Four
We spend the day at Alice Arm, the legendary silver mining town and site of the once famous Dolly Varden Mining Railway whose narrow gauge track led up the Kitsault river to several rich mine sites. The town has several dilapidated cabins and stores, alongside modernized cabins used as summer retreats. We will walk around the historic sites, meet some locals and walk to a nearby waterfall, where salmon are seen spawning. We will be treated to a seafood barbecue by the only year  round residents of Alice Arm.

Day Five
After a comfortable and peaceful night at Alice Arm Lodge, we will travel by boat across the inlet to the modern day Ghost Town of Kitsault.  Our exclusive access to this site will include a tour of the site and the many buildings that have sat vacant as is since 1981.  This will include the shopping centre, swimming pool, school, theatre and much more.  We will spend the night in one of the 1980’s style apartments and get rested for our 4 hour drive through the coastal mountains back to Terrace the following morning.