On our “Skeena River Historical Journey by Jet Boat” we will retrace the route of the mighty sternwheelers that navigated the Skeena River in the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s. The trip from Hazelton to Cassiar Cannery will focus a lot on the history and visiting some of the more interesting sites along the river. One of the stops will be the community of Meanskinisht or Cedarvale as it is more commonly known as now. Meanskinisht was founded in 1888 by Anglican Missionary Robert Tomlinson who had previously served at Metlakatla and Kincolith on the north coast. Tomlinson ran a very strict religious community which attracted first nations from around the region. The community was referred to as the “Holy City”. Sundays were a day of rest and not even the Sternwheelers were welcome to stop to drop off mail on those days. Robert Tomlinson’s wife was named Alice of which the name “Alice Arm” came from (coincidentally we visit Alice Arm on our Ghost Towns of Northwest BC Tour). We will have local community members Lyle and Mary Dahlen tour us through the Meanskinisht cemetery and the museum.
The early 1900’s fishing community of Oona River is one of our stops on the May 29-June 3, 2016 “Canneries of the Northcoast” tour through Continuing Studies. The community lies on the southeast corner of Porcher Island. The community boasts over 130 boats being built there in one of the many boat building sheds. Many of these boat sheds still remain today even though no boat building occurs. The sheds and old boats spending their final resting days on the shores of Porcher Island are a photographers paradise. We will also have a local community member tour us around the site and share her history and knowledge of the place. Here are a few photos of Oona River.
On the UNBC Educational Tour “Canneries of the Northcoast ” & “The Skeena River Historical Journey by Jet Boat” we will visit the Icelandic fishing community of Osland. It is situated on Smith Island at the mouth of the Skeena River. The community was settled 1910-15 with a group of Icelandic individuals from the province of Manitoba. The community was quite small with a population rarely exceeding 100. The main industry was fishing. Today it is a small community of cabins and cottages with a scattereing of old boats and relics from the fishing days. The most unique feature is the 1 km long boardwalk that parallels the ocean which makes for a magnificent stroll while looking for that unique photo.
During our Skeena River Historical Jet Boat Journey tour Aug 5-10, 2016 we will make our way from Hazelton to Port Edward over 5 days. Each day we we will visit some of the more interesting historical sites along the way. One of these that lies adjacent to the Skeena River near Cedarvale is the old 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. Here are a few photos of the airstrip.
On our “Canneries of the NorthCoast” Tour we will visit the the sites of over 10 canneries that were situated in the Skeena River Estuary. Some have many buildings still remaining while others are just a a set of pilings. For those that like to explore and “poke” around there is always a plethora of items to find laying in the mud or in the forest where the canneries once stood. For photographers there is no shortage of unique and interesting photo opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else.
Haysport was one of these Skeena River Canneries. it lies on the north side of the Skeena River across from Port Essington and adjacent to the Grand Trunk Pacific rail line. It was named for Charles Hays, president of the railway at the time. It was established in cold Storage facility in 1910 and as a cannery in 1919. By the 1930’s fishereis had moved the commercial fishing boundary below this point which hurt the cannery and it eventually closed in 1938.
Today many pilings remain as well as a 500 m fairly intact boardwalk or Haysport mainstreet. There are also lots of old items and remnants still littering the surrounding forest.
It amazing how fast mother nature can reclaim portions of a disturbed site. The effects a of a fire and the large quantities of rainfall change change a site very quickly.
Here are a couple of photos showing the difference.
BTw no posts for a week – back on July 6, 2015
One of the stops on the Ghost Town Tour is Kitsault
The town of Kitsault was established in 1979 as the home community to a molybdenum mine run by the Phelps Dodge corporation of the United States. The community was designed for 1,200 residents and included a shopping mall, restaurant, hospital, swimming pool, bank, movie theatre and bowling alley. In 1982, however, prices for molybdenum crashed and the entire community was evacuated after just 18 months of residence. Now the only thing missing are the people.
In 2004, the ghost town was bought by Indian-American businessman Krishnan Suthanthiran for $5.7 million
Ninety-four homes, two hundred apartments, a hospital, shopping mall, swimming pool restaurant, movie theatre, sports centre, a Royal Bank; all the amenities you could possibly need in this remote part of the world await behind the towering mountains.
Here are a few videos and articles on Kitsault that have made the news in the past.
16×9 – Ghost Town: Canadian community abandoned 30 years ago
Wings over Canada – Kitsault
Northword Magazie – Kitsault and Alice Arm
A jetboat is a boat propelled by a jet of water that is propelled through a corkscrew like impeller that is shot out of the back of the boat. Unlike a powerboat or motorboat that uses a propeller in the water below or behind the boat, a jetboat draws the water from under the boat into a pump inside the boat, then expels it through a nozzle at the stern. The benefit of this is that there is no propeller or leg hanging down below the boat and this allows the boat to navigate very shallow water and get to places it wouldn’t otherwise be able to. We utilize two jet boats with inboard jets to navigate the rivers on this tour. They also make a great platform for taking photos. If you haven’t been on one before it is quite the experience. I still get goose bumps when cruising a new remote river in search of adventure as you never know what awaits around the next corner.
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.
Don’t miss this chance to be part of the exclusive Experiential “White Sturgeon” Biology Tour!
Two full days of Jet Boating on the Upper Fraser River as we take part in a hands-on White Sturgeon capture and release program.
Limited to 6 persons per tour!
We are pleased to announce that we are working in conjunction with the Lheidli T’enneh on this White Sturgeon Capture and Release Program and are providing an opportunity for the public to be a part of this unique experiential Tourism Program.