ARMSTRONG, Cliff




Author Tags: Transportation

Printed in Terrace by Totem Press and published by Half Moon Communications for the Skeena River Heritage Trust, Cliff Anderson's Sternwheelers On The Skeena (2001) is a 48-page illustrated tribute to the sternwheelers that plied the Skeena River from Port Essington to Hazelton between 1892 and 1912. First used by the Hudson's Bay Company to supply their trading posts, the sternwheelers were most active during the construction of the Skeena line of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. The ships described are the Caledonia (1 & 2), Casca, Conveyor, Operator, Omenica, Craigflower, Distributor, Hazelton, Inlander, Monte Cristo, Mount Royal, Mumford, Northwest, Pheasant, Port Simpson, Skeena, Strathcona and Union.

"The opening of the railway meant an end to transportation by sternwheeler on the Skeena," Armstrong concludes. "However, sternwheeler traffic on the river wasn't over. For many years, the federal government operated ships called snag scows which ere used to keep the river clear of snags and deadheads for the fishing industry. They also maintained the government wharves. Today, very few mementos of the any sternwheelers days on the Skeena River remain. For many years the beach at Port Essington was home to the paddlewheel axles from the Monte Cristo and Inlander, as well as the boiler from one of the ships, probably the Inlander. The Inlander's axle was taken up the Skeena to Hazelton, where it can be seen today. The only last artifacts on the river are the ring bolts in Kitselas Canyon which are still firmly anchored in the bedrock of Ringbolt Island."

[BCBW 2004] "Transportation"