With Prince George being at the confluence of two rivers it is not surprising that many of the most interesting historical sites and features are located near one of the rivers. Many people who have lived in the region for many years have still not experienced this rich history. Our “Fort George River Journey” is the perfect one day adventure to see what lies in you back yard. The view from the river is spectacular and provides a unique perspective of our region. We jet boat up the Nechako River and down the Fraser River, stopping at unique sites along the way! These include the old 1940 reaction ferry site and hulls, Goat Island, Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, Sternwheeler Bollard, historic Fort George Canyon and much more!
We are excited for the upcoming year of Adventure Tours through UNBC Continuing Studies. Every year the tours get better as we fine tune all the small details. Most tours are only delivered once a year and occasionally twice if sufficient demand well in advance of the tour date. These tours are not geared towards academic students but rather those with an interest in adventure and experiencing northern BC. The tours have a small group size of upto 10-12 guests at he most and rely heavily on guest speakers and authentic locals that share their knowledge about the places we visit. Our average age of our guests is around 60 years old and some as old as 85. We do have younger people join us as well but predominantly it is an older clientele.
I thought I would share 10 photos form last year that highlight some of the trips we did.
We have three great tours lined up for the Prince George area this spring. Exploring the history of our region via train and jet boat as we visit remote and hard to reach sites rich in early 1900’s stories of the past. We also provide an opportunity to be a part of one of the most unique biological tours in the province. We assist the Lheidli Tenneh Fisheries program in locating, capturing and tagging Upper Fraser White Sturgeon “The Dinosaurs of the River”.
The Nechako and Fraser Rivers are our highways for these three tours as we explore the two of the largest canyons on the Fraser River and remnants of our early 1900 transportation methods. Our knowledgeable accompanying resource persons will provide facts and stories to make this one of the most memorable trips you have ever been on. You do not want to miss out on these amazing trips.
Upper Fraser White Sturgeon Biology Experience – May 3-4, 2018 Historic Fort George River Journey – May 11, 2018 Ghost Towns of the East Line: History of the Upper Fraser – May 12, 2018
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
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!
A big part of the history of the Skeena River and Upper Fraser River involved the use of Sternwheelers to transport people, equipment, supplies, furs and food up and down the rivers which were the main transportation routes. Almost all of the sternwheelers used wood to fed the boilers which in turn powered the large paddles at the rear of the ship. Wood was a readily available resource that grew adjacent to the river and could easily be cut and split into 3-4 ft sections and piled into cords by local contractors. The term Cordwood became part of everyday language as it was a necessity for every day travel. The cordwood cutters would get around $3-4 a cord for each one that was used by the boats. They would cut it and stack it next to the river at strategic points so that there was always an available supply along the routes that they traveled. The sternwheelers could burn 1-3 cords and hour depending on the size of the boilers and how hard they ran the boat. This was for upstream navigation only as downstream typically used a fraction of this as they used the current for most of their power. Passengers were typically enlisted to help with the loading of the cordwood at the supply points. some boats could hold up to 10 cords of wood at one time. It was one crew members job to continually feed the boilers with wood the entire time the boat was moving.
Ironically the Sternwheelers faded into obscurity in the 1912 -1920′s as the railway replaced the need for them. The last use of the sternwheelers was the assisting with goods and supplies to build the railway.
On the Skeena River the last sternwheeler the “Inlander ” did its last trip in 1912. Why this is interesting is that there are still piles of old cordwood lying along the banks of the river that were never consumed. In one location that we visit there are 6 piles lying adjacent to the river and they are in different stages of rot and decay but they can still be identified. For some reason I find this fascinating that these piles are over 100 years old and are one of the only remnants of the historic Sternwheeler days. If you want to visit these piles you can always join one of our tours that visits them or send me a note and I would be happy to provide you directions to them.
The jet boat is one of the most versatile modes for transporting guests into remote and otherwise inaccessible locations. These boats have alot of horsepower that allows us to carry 5 guests per boat and move them up rivers to amazing places with incredible scenery. Most of our tours utilize jet boats for a portion of the trip as we navigate larger rivers like the Skeena and Fraser and then smaller tributaries of the Skeena and rivers off remote ocean inlets. Navigating up and down rivers provides an exhilarating experience as you never know what is around the next corner. They are great for photography as they can be stopped quickly and held in place to allow guests to get that shot of a lifetime.
Historic Fort George River Journey A jet boat journey exploring trains, ferries, and sternwheelers
May 15 or June 17 2017
Prince George, BC
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!
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.
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.
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!
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
Historic Fort George River Journey
May 15 or June 17, 2017
Prince George, BC
The Port Essington Experience
May 27, 2017
“The Town That Got Lost” Anyox Exploration
June 3-4, 2017
Northwest BC Grizzly Bear Discovery Tour
June 6-10, 2017
Skeena River Historical Jet Boat Journey
August 1-6, 2017
Hazelton – Port Edward, BC
Ghost Towns of Northwest BC
August 20-26, 2017
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.”
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