Under These Waters. Williston Lake: Before it Was by: Norman Unrau. Under These Waters ISBN ISBN

Size: px
Start display at page:

Download "Under These Waters. Williston Lake: Before it Was by: Norman Unrau. Under These Waters ISBN 0-9686049-2-7 ISBN 0-9686049-2-7"


1 Williston Lake: Before it Was by: Norman Unrau ISBN ISBN

2 Page 2

3 Williston Lake: Before it Was by: Norman Unrau 2001 ISBN Page 3

4 Page 4

5 UNDER THESE WATERS Contents Introduction... 7 The Dreamers... 9 Political Decisions The Forest Service Engineering Division The Parsnip Forest Road (The Road in) Logging Camps Temporary Camp at Mile The Work Starts, 73 Mile Camp Lookin for a Home The Tree Crushers Fort Graham Wood Streeper s barge Walkin the Cats Some days are better! Hamburger Joe My work, great days! Leisure Times Finlay Forks Displaced Citizens To Hudson s Hope The Dam A Harbinger of things to come References Acknowledgements Page 5

6 Page 6

7 Introduction Under the waters is an abbreviated account of my involvement in a particularly exciting adventure in the mid sixties. My work placed me in a part of north central British Columbia that is now lost due to flooding. A large water reservoir occupies the area that once was a major waterway including portions of three drainages. Recognizing the scope of this undertaking I ask the reader to remember that this is only one account of many that might be written. In fact there is a much larger and more complete story yet to be told. Certain aspects have been reported years ago and are available at most public libraries. A few references are noted at the end of this account. I have included many names and photos of people with whom I have rubbed shoulders, and others whose names are given for background. The difficulties encountered while piecing together this story were enormous. People have moved away, others have died and those of us remaining are limited in one way or another. Time has a way of dulling memories. Operations on the Peace Pondage were far flung. I was fortunate to participate in various positions and places. Numerous areas were being treated simultaneously. Where work took me to the Parsnip other crews might have been busy on the Finlay, for example. (The name Peace Pondage was a rather loose term used Page 7

8 interchangeably at times, with Mile73, The Peace or The Parsnip and sometimes The Finlay or Finlay Forks). To keep from scattering my story too widely I have relied on the evidence of pictures liberally and I am indebted to those who graciously cooperated. The photos included were gratuitously received. Some photos did not meet the criteria. Some were simply too badly faded, etc. to be considered. This was further compounded when I lost the works one day, everything, photos, text and all! My computer refused to recover any of my manuscript other than the title. I trust my enthusiasm and delight for living, working and having played in an enormously endowed land will be obvious to the reader. If a similar passion stirs the breast may our collective hearts find focus on the One who fashioned the mountains, the rivers, the valleys and all that now lies under these waters. Page 8

9 The Dreamers...young men will have visions, old men will dream dreams. Men and women have always had dreams. Some were good dreams others were, nah! Some had limited dreams while some had huge, the sky is the limit, fantasies. Power and the need to dominate seem to be the forte of some. While world leaders affect nations, individuals often strive for personal heights. Lindbergh and Edmund Hillary may have gained their places in school textbooks but where do ordinary Joes like me make their mark? I guess we are satisfied with smaller things, like the more down to earth exploits that I was an unwitting partner to, starting in For three years my work was in the forest clearing end of the project called Peace River Pondage. Unknown to many were the plans being developed by our then present Government as early as The Swedish industrialist Axel Wennergren along with W.A.C. Bennett and his cabinet had designs on our resources. As a result of much secret planning and politicking a dam was already in the process of being constructed upstream of the village of Hudson s Hope when I arrived on the project near Finlay Forks. In time a dam, a most impressive structure, would be constructed that would earn the right to bear the Premier s name. The pros and cons of this venture will be debated for some time to come. Was it all worth it? Time has a way of healing wounds, and there appear to have been many! There were reports of a possible monorail, coalmines, hydroelectric development, dams and water diversions to the U.S. via the Rocky Mountain trench. These guys didn t mess around with penny ante stuff. At one point consideration was given to a plan where the water Page 9

10 from the Peace River watershed would be backed up over the height of land into the Fraser system and a dam constructed on the Fraser River, again for electricity to head south. The Peace system drains into the Arctic while the Fraser empties into the Pacific. Fortunately, the plan was not implemented. As well there was the much-debated Two-Rivers proposal involving the Peace and the Columbia Rivers. (Much of this information is available at the local library. See This was our Valley by Matheson & Pollon.) These were the years of Social Credit, and Flying Phil their dynamic highways minister. To their credit several major projects became reality like the Dea s Island tunnel and the Fraser canyon upgrade. The latter impacted my life considerably as I traveled that route frequently in 1960 and 61. But, back to my story! My dream was to get a job again, a salary, a little security, maybe even a house. I had been an employee of the Forest Service Engineering Division previously but had terminated my work with them when I learned that I was being considered for a posting as a survey party chief somewhere in the province. Then, early in May of 1964, when Tommy Thompson phoned from Victoria asking if I d like to go to work in the Parsnip area, I accepted! Page 10

11 Political Decisions Once all of the political ramifications, feasibility studies, surveys and whatever else were satisfied, a water reservoir in the northern part of B.C. would be built which would include most of the Parsnip River, the Finlay River and the upstream Peace River basins. An earth fill dam across the Peace near Hudson s Hope (Bennett Dam) was to create a water reservoir (now Williston Lake) extending south to approximately the Pack River. The lake would back up the Finlay River northward past Ingenika to a point near Rubyred Creek. Hydro electricity to be generated from this site was estimated at over 2,000,000 kilowatts. Is that a lot, or WATT! The clearing work was assigned to the B.C. Forest Service whose Engineering Division in particular would oversee the groundwork. Page 11

12 The F.S. Engineering Division The line of authority for this project was set up like this: Under the Forest Service Executive came the Forester-In-Charge Engineering Division (D. Greggor); Engineer-In-Charge Engineering Section (P. J. Hemphill); and Engineer-In-Charge Peace Pondage (H. Miles-Pickup). Once the project got underway, the project managers rotated as they became available. Project Managers were replaced periodically as if to share responsibilities; my understanding! Finding themselves at the helm, in addition to the above, were Terry Prentice, Bob Monroe, Dez Rice, Glen Goerwell, and Karl Rieche. Those figuring in my more day-to-day experience were H. Miles-Pickup (Project Super), Terry Prentice (Second-in-command and Communications Specialist), Don Adams (Water Transport Technician), Ernie Crajczar (Surveys), Karl Rieche (Forest Specialist), Mr. Robbilard (Cook), and Bob Mackey, Dave Dietterle, Walter Zayak (Senior Foremen) and Arnie Odiorne (Shop). The F.S. Engineering Division was instrumental in developing a network of Forest Roads within the Province as early as the fifties. Much of the personnel came to Peace Pondage with considerable experience gained from those road projects. In support of these people were well- established Forest Service departments. One was the Machine Pool. This department provided by purchase or rental, machines, Caterpillar tractors, trucks, loaders, compressors, graders and other construction related equipment. The Marine depot or Maintenance Depot (F.S.M.D.) satisfied the supply of watercraft such as were required on demand. On the Page 12

13 Peace Pondage project those included jet boats, numerous riverboats, a tugboat and several fuel barges. The barges were constructed at the Marine depot. They were, I believe, built entirely of steel with a capacity of around 2,500 gals. A former project manager explained, The Marine depot builds and supplies just about anything from boats to trailer units and provides maintenance on these and numerous other items. Transport Pool delivered large items such as bridge girders and camp equipment including trailer units to projects by barge but mostly by truck transport. Those were some of the on the ground concerns before the project got under way. In response to my letter to R.D.Thomas enquiring about Victoria concerns, he writes the following. The clearing of certain areas of the area to be flooded became one of the reservoir preparation projects assigned to the Engineering Section. Terms of reference had as the major focus, the carrying out of such clearing as deemed reasonable to permit navigation on the reservoir at all stages of water as indicated in B.C. Hydro s plans and data from the then Water Rights Branch of the Govt Dept Lands, Forests and Water Rights. In addition some other clearing was undertaken on a more esthetic basis. Partial work involved the road to Finlay Forks, the identification on the ground of the probable extent of the new reservoir to provide control of clearing boundaries for navigable access to the future lakeshore. These works were restricted to the Parsnip and Finlay River areas. The Peace River arm was the responsibility of B.C. Hydro. The reservoir area was to be partially cleared and the more public sections fully cleared. On the two tributaries to the Peace a waterway or navigation channel was considered but that proposal was nixed and a less provocative plan was followed. Pressure from the environmental community may have helped with that decision. Mills sprang up, encouraged by a more lenient stumpage rate, no doubt! One of the environmental concerns was that too much forest Page 13

14 would be lost, and a decision was arrived at where the bulk of the wood would be removed on the areas most exposed to, or closest to, human access. (From earlier experience, i.e. Kenny Dam and its impoundment, there was a reluctance to repeat the flooding of forests and the resulting environmental mess.) Many would challenge that statement today! This decision would lead to greater effort and expense, one which today might be considered elementary! Today the question is asked, Why didn t they take all the wood out before they flooded it? The answer is It was simply impossible to extract by logging such large volume within the time frame given for the project. That would take many, many years. Basically it was a political decision! Politics being what it is and politicians knowing that their tenure may be brief must do things soon in order to be re-elected. And they did! Page 14

15 The Parsnip Forest Road (The road in) In order to provide road access the Engineering Division of the Forest Service was called upon to start construction of a low class grade starting at the Hart Highway or 97 North. The first Forest Service camp was located at Mile1 just off Highway 97 North and immediately north of the Parsnip River Bridge. Hugh Turner and Jack Bishop headed up the supervision. Gagnon Cr. Bridge Construction (Photo supplied by: Dez Rice) Page 15

16 Mischinsinlika Creek (Photo supplied by: Dez Rice) The first stretch of some 20 odd miles, or to where Mackenzie is now, had numerous creek and river crossings. The road was built to one-lane specs and turnouts. This was one winding sucker of a road, but there was considerable push to get to the Forks. The original road passed next to Morfee Lake when I first travelled there in Too many switchbacks, sharp curves, narrow bridges and whoops, another blinking vehicle! A typical load on a narrow road (Photo supplied by: Dez Rice) Page 16

17 Too close to the edge (Photo supplied by: Pete Mushaluk) Spilled load on Parsnip Road (Photo supplied by: Pete Mushaluk) It wasn t too bad if you met at or near a turn-out but once hauling started in earnest there were so many trucks on the road that even the radio regulations didn t entirely rule out accidents. Kennedy Siding on the B.C. Railway figured heavily in getting lumber and logs to market and much of the truck-hauled wood started its long journey here. For those of us not radio equipped Page 17

18 catching up to a truck meant following behind and depending upon the charity of the driver one might be sucking the hind tit for many dusty miles. Spilled loads were not that uncommon, especially on tight corners, creating additional hazards to approaching traffic. Later it was upgraded, by-passing what is now Mackenzie and speeding up traffic much to the delight of the trucking fraternity. There had been too many incidents on that section earlier! The road would culminate at the Forks 80 odd miles away and was completed in Page 18

19 Logging Camps, Mills With the road (Parsnip Forest Road) completed it wasn t long after that people with dreams followed. There was such a bonanza of wood available for cutting and processing it staggered the imagination. Much of the timber was sawn at these mills and trucked south with Kennedy Siding being a major out-bound station. The possibility to make it was at hand. Without a doubt some did, but there were also casualties! Cattermole or Cattermole/Trethewy The first mill established, to my knowledge, was situated at the forks of the three rivers and the terminus of the road. Smoke from their beehive burner was visible from a distance. View of the three rivers, (The forks). Smoke from Cattermole s mill. (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Page 19

20 It was at this millsite on the river that I saw my first shear boom. Flying over the area gave me a first-hand look at a working model of a simple but effective deflection system. The device was constructed much like a log-boom with logs tied together end to end with boom chains. Individual shear planks fastened to the logs answered to the pull of the current deflecting floating logs into a holding area from where they were retrieved. Certainly, Cattermole was in a most favourable position for some of the choicest timber imaginable. We, the Forest Service, employed several of Cattermole s D-8 s and D-9 s as we cleared the North Harbour. Harris and Miller John (Coog) Harris and his brother Stan along with partners Don and Conrad Miller were the owner/operators of this logging show and sawmill. (I met this foursome when first working on the Omineca Mining Road north of Fort St. James in There, they were engaged in a similar venture, i.e. a sawmill by that name!) The following account comes from a personal interview with John Harris, April Near the forks, their operation was approximately two miles upstream from the Forks, on the west side of the Parsnip. The camp, started in the fall of 1964 provided little, if any, accommodation for married staff. The crews were housed in portables. Many camps were geared for singles, basically! Not feeling confident enough to trust his memory entirely, Coog figures their mill was in the area near Isaac and Esau s Mill. According to Don Miller, their sawmill produced in the neighborhood of 80,000 to 100,000 bd. ft. a day, depending on the scale used. Access to their camp was via an ice-bridge across the Parsnip River. A faller supplying his own saw etc. could make a $100 a day at $1 a tree! Coog refreshed my memory regarding a report I had heard of a near fatal accident in the area. This had to do with a faller getting into a jam with a hang-up on the Harris & Miller show. The injured worker, in spite of his grievous injury, was transported Page 20

21 strapped to the outside of a helicopter in a pod, to Prince George. He recovered! Without malice, Coog told me how they went belly-up and their expectations nose-dived. He then went to work for Cordyban (Carrier) in a portable sawmill and finally rounded out his working days at a Prince George pulp mill. Of the foursome Conrad Miller died in His brother Don lives in Prince George. Don, though of retirement age, still keeps active keeping his hands in making things. At the time of this writing he was working, inventing machinery for the value added industries ( whenever I feel like it, he says.) John Harris (Coog) is retired, also in Prince George, while brother Stan makes his home in Vanderhoof. Isaac & Esau I don t recall its location other than the description in the Harris and Miller account. Ongman s This mill was located where Weston Harbour is today. More precisely, it was at or near Bill Boyko s place at the confluence of Weston Creek and the Parsnip River. Owned by Leonard Ongman of Prince George, his camp access was from approximately Mile 64 on the Parsnip Forest Road. In conversation with Mr.Ongman the following information was gleaned as he fielded my awkward questions with considerable grace. Like many camps at start-up they too lived in somewhat primitive conditions: no cook and batching for a while. An ice bridge across the Parsnip R. was constructed in the immediate vicinity north of camp. I learned that he had been on the project from 1964 (that s the year I too started there) to sometime in As the waters rose in 1968 Ongman had fallers working on the Peace section. Where exactly wasn t established, but the water rose so quickly that the hand fallers were obliged to live on rafts in Page 21

22 order to move with the rising flood. One day a land- slide demolished both tents and rafts. The tent dwellers almost drowned! Apparently they made money the first years but in 1970 there was a sharp down-turn in prices and their fortunes started to slide. At the time (2000) of this writing Leonard Ongman lives in Prince George. Curt Garland s Mill Information on this mill is not available to me at this writing. The mill was probably close to mile 45 on the Parsnip Forest Road. The owner later established Lomak Trucking in Prince George, a sizable enterprise. I recall only one time that I visited this camp. The occasion came about like this. I was returning to our camp from McLeod Lake. It was a dark, wet autumn night. As I rounded a curve in the road I came upon several parked lumber trucks. The drivers were sounding their air horns hoping to guide a lost hunter back to the road. Apparently he was long overdue. Volunteering to check at a camp nearby I and another chap approached the dark camp awakening several grouchy loggers. The hunter had not shown. This could be serious! At this point we decided to notify our camp super, Terry Prentice and drove the odd miles. From our camp several of us fortified with a Thermos or two started back to the scene, arriving there about two hours after the first alert. Expecting the worst, upon arriving we were surprised indeed that the guy had walked out at exactly where he had entered the woods. He was a sorry sight, but glad to be out of the woods, sitting in one of the trucks, getting warm, and grateful for the coffee. Page 22

23 Temporary Camp at 49 Mile Now, back to my story! In May of 1964 the writer and a half dozen or so newly hired employees met at Windy Point Lodge where, under the supervision of Don Adams, a work detail was organized undertaking the revitalizing of an intermediate or temporary camp at the old construction campsite (49 mile). When Hugh Turner s crew had abandoned the site in 1963 they left the wiring and plumbing intact, which our crew would now relocate and hook up. Once that was completed we lived in tents and wooden frames. Several married couples arrived with their own family trailers. High water - Too close for comfort (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Page 23

24 Mile 49 camp, Helicopter & Bug (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Before the summer was over we had trailer units delivered to provide an office, a kitchen, a bunkhouse, a power plant and a mechanical shop. From here daily trips to the new campsite (73 mile) became routine. Forest Service Maintenance Depot provided the transport and hauling. There might have been rentals involved. The camp at 49 mile became a favorite stopping place for black bears. After the camp garbage pit was moved down the road a distance, the need to dispose of excess bears became unnecessary. One day as I drove into camp I saw a black bear poking around near a family trailer. Before I could react the animal raised up on its hind legs. While the bear seemingly tried to gain entrance, a child of about 2 or 3 years, inside the trailer, pressed its face and hands against the window, totally oblivious to the danger. At one point bear and child were within a foot or so of each other, separated only by the window pane. Within seconds I, and another chap ran up to scare off the beast. It had disappeared only to reappear on the cookhouse steps. Mr. Robbilard, the cook, heard a commotion and quickly secured the door from within. By this time the bear had demolished the screen door. This was turning into a circus in a hurry. Soon there were a dozen or more women and children on the scene, yelling and screaming, some even trying to touch the bear! Within minutes one of the mechanics showed up with a 30:30. Page 24

25 dispatching the bear as it poked its head into a garbage can. What a recipe for disaster! Paul Diggle and I built several tree-stands overlooking the new dump from which we observed some very interesting bear specimens. The pecking order became apparent soon. Two giants among bears took charge as soon as the garbage truck left. One was a brown phase, the other black. There was no apparent friction between them. They appeared to be evenly matched. Their huge size suggested to me that they were males! We made some mental calculations to wait until late August or early September when we figured the pelts would be well furred out at which point we would make the decision if we wanted to collect them. Both of us wanted one badly! For some reason unknown to us the bears suddenly stopped coming and our lofty, well calculated designs came down to earth and reality! Fall colours between Scott and Weston Creeks (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Page 25

26 Alf Storm family butchering an early moose (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Mountain top with Paul Diggle and Howard Willis, East of 49 Mile Camp (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Page 26

27 The Work Starts: 73-mile camp The camp had been chosen for its close proximity to the Parsnip River. The immediate area was densely populated with Jackpine (peckerpoles) interspersed with aspen and birch. Terry Prentice & campsite before clearing (Photo supplied by: Robin Edwards) The campsite was cleared of trees and fill hauled in over the closely cropped tree stumps. Mr. Miles-Pickup insisted the site would not be grubbed. The ground was mossy and when dry yielded umpteen zillions of mosquitoes. Later, after families moved in, an attempt was made to improve the living conditions by periodically treating the forest floor adjacent to camp with a pesticide. The sheer numbers of the little beggars Page 27

28 practically ruled out a lot of outdoor after supper activities. A backpack fogger was employed and for a short evening the mosquitoes subsided a bit! In springtime before insects emerged and again in fall, when autumn colours abounded, conditions were rather pleasant. Winter scene from heliport (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Parsnip River (Photo supplied by: Bill & Sheila Andreychuk) Page 28

29 A helicopter landing was cut from the forest and situated overlooking the Parsnip River with the Wolverine Mountains in the distance. A beautiful sight (site) indeed! Naturally a path was soon cleared from the camp area to the heliport and many visitors oohed and aahed over the vista spread before them! Autumn view (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Lifting repeater to Tony Mountain (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Page 29

30 Forest fire in Trench (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Heliport Mile 73 (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Page 30

31 Logging Right of way (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Clearing road down to Parsnip River (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) A road was built from the camp snaking down to the Parsnip R. where a boat landing provided access to the Parsnip R. and its tributaries. I spent a considerable amount of time setting chokers and dumping trucks here while generally overseeing the grade construction under direction of Dave Dietterle. Fill came from a pit across the road on the east side of the camp. Page 31

32 Gravel pit with Mt Selwyn in background. Mt Selwyn, is a misnomer for the promontory shown here. (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Downstream were the Finlay River and the Peace where the three rivers met at the Forks. It was at this physical location that Cattermole had a logging and sawmill operation for some short period. See also page 87. Finlay Forks & Smoke from Cattermole s mill. View from Mt Selwyn (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Page 32

33 Under Miles-Pickup s supervision a well driller was employed with hopes of an adequate water supply. When that supply did not materialize a reservoir, already built, served as a buffer but water had to be hauled in all summer to supplement the well s meager output. I can still hear the grumbling! Deep Well Drilling (Photo supplied by: Robin Edwards) Before winter new Knight Trailers were purchased and hauled in providing living quarters for the single men. A cookhouse trailer and eating hall were also acquired. A new mech shop was also on the menu and completed before winter. All the buildings were propane heated. The camp was staffed with the necessary cooks, helpers and bullcook. Machine operators, foremen, surveyors and office staff occupied the single quarters. The inevitable light plant provided electricity enough for our purposes but there was always a caution not to be too liberal with its use. Don t plug in too many appliances at one time! Camp Life Married couples were provided with parking space for individually owned house trailers and some employees had F.S. trailer entitlement. I had to wait for one to become available! Page 33

34 Sheila Andreychuk & Joan Haftner & kids picnic (Photo supplied by: Bill & Sheila Andreychuk) Terry Prentice, Bill Andreychuk and Ernie Krajcza (Photo supplied by: Bill & Sheila Andreychuk) Page 34

35 Bill Witter and Bill Troup (Photo supplied by: Deb (Troup) Marrello) Bill Witter and Debbie Troup (Photo supplied by: Deb (Troup) Marrello) Page 35

36 Prentice Boys (Photo supplied by: Deb (Troup) Marrello) Seven Camp children: Back row L-R Tim Unrau, Lance Odiorne.Two unidentified. Front row: Unidentified; Lorne Odiorne & Betty Unrau (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) In the meantime I lived in the newly acquired trailers equipped with two single built-in-bunk beds, a propane heater and some space for clothes. These made up the livable area as I remember it. Not much room! Electric lights complemented the arrangement and most evenings I was grateful when the lights went out and I could pound the pillow. Page 36

37 Diggin In (Facing camera, left to right) Norm Unrau, Dave Duris and Walter Voradski. (Back to camera, center) Bill Witter (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Breakfast was my most important meal. The camp cook had a reputation for putting out. I doubt if I ever ate better anywhere, or more. There were always eggs, bacon, toast and all the different spreads of jams, etc. If someone asked for something and it wasn t available it most likely would be in a matter of time. You could choose from ham, sausages, omelet and most juices. There seemed to be no shortages. I felt a bit conscious knowing that I was eating better than my family did at home. Same for the other meals! And still some guys grumbled! New equipment had been ordered. There would be new D- 8 s, TD-25 s, TD-20 s and D-6 s coming. Once they arrived the task of clearing the basin would begin in earnest. Before these new machines arrived, however, the Forest Service would rent equipment such as was available. In time five old D-9 Cats were hired (contracted) from Del Rio Ranch at Chetwynd. One of the D-9 s was used for spare parts, I believe! More on these in Wood Streeper s Barge page Page 37

38 The first Cats arriving came with a ball and chain and experimenting started in the North Harbour. The North Harbour area was located just downstream from the confluence of the three rivers and later named Finlay Harbour. The Harbour was intended to be a safe haven for early water traffic. For sure it was a testing ground where numerous methods of downing (clearing) timber were tried. Downing timber consisted of running two Cats parallel with each other and feet apart with each end of the chain hitched to a Cat. The dimensions and length of the ball & chain assembly might have been something like two lengths of 100 feet of ships anchor chain fastened to a 3-4 feet diameter steel ball in the middle. Needless to say, there was much experimenting. Ball & chain downing (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) It required two heavy machines to pull down a swath of material as shown here, preferably D-8s or D-9s. Depending on the terrain and the volume of trees in the swath much power was required and the skill of the operators determined the amount of work completed in a shift. In heavy mature timber, trails might have to be cut for the Cats to walk in. Once the swath was started and the Cats were moving, the operators didn t want to stop until they came to the end of that particular section. The operators kept in touch by hand signals, if they could see each other, which wasn t the norm. Later they were equipped with radios, simplifying matters a lot. Page 38

39 Ball & chain downing (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Ball & chain downing (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) When the operators (Cat Skinners) got their machines going with the ball and chain lined up there was an awful lot of material within the bight. It had to go somewhere and it did with trees crashing, crisscrossing and falling everywhere. The windrows had symmetry almost like a weave with timber and brush piled higher than the machines in places. Loggers must have drooled over the nice wood that was being wasted. Page 39

40 D-9 Cutting trees (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Clearing, piling in North Harbour (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) The winter of 65 saw us employing four or five D8s and a D- 9 from Cattermole Contracting. The 8 s were basically equipped with piler blades and the D-9 for its power, with a cutter blade. Where the size of timber warranted trails were cut for the Cutter enabling the operator to down a swath without stopping. Of course this meant another tractor unit was required. The diagonal cutter tended to throw the tractor off course testing the skill of the operator constantly. Page 40

41 Clearing, piling in North Harbour (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Clearing, piling in North Harbour (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) This area, because of its intended use, had a higher standard applied. Piling and burning ensured this. We experimented with banding where conditions allowed. Banding was simply scraping up soil and piling it over the downed timber every so many feet (maybe 50 feet intervals.) I don t recall this method continuing. In other experiments banding meant stringing cables over sections of downed trees to keep them from floating away when the waters rose. Finlay Harbour was an experimentation ground. Its geographic Page 41

42 location and its close proximity to the camp earned many inspection trips. It was here that I spent many hours on time studies under the direction of Karl Rieche. Many c-o-l-d, sometimes miserable, hours! Time studies were a necessary mechanism to determine costs, one that the operators detested with a passion. Every stoppage was recorded and this showed up the actual work time. You soon discovered how much time a machine operator might accumulate in un-productive time such as comfort breaks, coffee breaks and whatever breaks. An operator might be forgiven, however, for taking a pee on Government time but yes, everything was recorded! If the operator stopped, for whatever reason, so too did the machine. That was the idea! Names of other employees... (In no particular order, all touching my life in one way or another) John Hafner Karl Borman Don Laird Jim Milner Dan Doyle Dave Beatty Bill Kruiselbrink Jim Scott Brian Coalston Ray Banta Joe Dale Ian Meiklem Doug Emerson Lazlo Bonn Walter Zayak Les Emerson Bill Molnar Ken Nelson John Kellar Fred Reid Jim Walters Glen Goerwell Gordon McMullen Johnny Olson Frank Dietrick George Savage Max McNab Tiley Neil Braun Frank Recek Bert Ware Doug Emerson Ron Pinfold George Berry - Cook Wes Nelson - Cook Stu Grant and friend; time studies? (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Page 42

43 Lookin For A Home Meanwhile, my family of three remained in Surrey, BC. I had inquired about F.S. accommodations for them, but I was relatively low on the priority list for Forest Service trailers, so that seemed futile. Then I heard that the Westcoast Gas community at McLeod Lake had a house or two for rent but that place was miles from where I was working. When I got home the next time the question came up, you could get a house in Prince George, couldn t you? I hadn t given that a thought! Later that summer we made application for loans and found a contractor able and willing to provide us with a suitable house. So the work on our house started late in the fall of This was still a long way from Finlay Forks, but now things were looking up. On a subsequent trip home to Surrey, Joyce and I shopped for furniture, made preparations for transport and shipping. We made choices regarding colors and flooring, and then it was time for me to boogie back to Finlay Forks. Back at the Pond I found it difficult to keep my mind on my work. This would be my last term before the Christmas break at which time we would pack up and leave the lower Fraser valley. Strange, how time went by so quickly. When Christmas came near, most of us at camp had already made plans to leave as early as possible. Mr. Miles-Pickup was in a charitable mood when I stopped in at the office to wish him a Merry Christmas. He asked if I d like to stop at the gas pump and fill up the tank in my V.W. bug before leaving, which I did. Then I asked my German-made people-wagon to go and it did. Traffic was exceptionally light with most camps already closed for the Page 43

44 holidays. The snow-covered road was so much quieter than the summer road had been. I recall only one spot where the snow was drifting but my little car punched through this with no trouble. Then, about five hours later, I stopped in Prince George to check on our new home and found it completed and ready to move into. What a surprise! It was unlocked so I spread my parka on the floor and slept some before continuing my journey home early next morning. Early in the New Year of 1965 we made the move to Prince George! The house of 960 sq. ft. c/w basement cost $14, including the lot. Page 44

45 The Tree Crushers By this time the need to expand the operation became obvious. There was a great deal of country to be cleared if the deadline of 1972 was to be met, at which time the dam was to be completed and the reservoir filled. Negotiations had been underway to employ a new method of downing trees and the promo that I saw on LeTourneau s tree crusher created a fair bit of interest. The grand claims of this 300- ton giant mowing down forests in South America proved it would make short work of our clearing. Obviously someone in authority bought the idea and in time it appeared on our project. Unfortunately I can add nothing positive to its record. The machine did not live up to its billing. It required a Cat and on occasion several Cats to bull cook to its needs. Where the machine was favoured with ideal ground conditions and light to medium wood density it did (in my view) only a mediocre job. Its owners were paid for down time as I understood it and getting stuck was not that unusual. I spent several days doing time studies on this machine in the Nation-Parsnip area, riding in the cab with the operator. The Letourneau Tree Crusher was a huge piece of iron. If memory serves me correctly the front roller s length and diameter were thirty feet and six feet respectively. Page 45

46 The large one, pictured here, was 300 tons, I think! (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) The main engine, a diesel motor, powered the generators to drive electric motors inside the main drum. Smaller tree crusher (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) My experience with the tree crusher started near the Parsnip River on the Cut thumb Creek side. The ground at this location was basically flat with some light undulations and the forest cover consisting largely of pine forest with poplar, birch and spruce Page 46

47 scattered throughout. Pretty easy going! This machine came at a price of $300 an hour or $5.00 a minute. After the forest was crushed or partly flattened it was burned. Burning is not the right word either. Charring might be a more honest description. From here we were going to move the crusher to the opposite side of the Parsnip River. I had my doubts if and how that might be accomplished but the record shows numerous crossings were made. I was present for only the one Crusher crosses river (Photo supplied by: Dez Rice) Page 47

48 Is that a big piece of iron or what! (Photo supplied by: Dez Rice) Here are several photos of the two crushers, at work and involuntarily parked. Small crusher at work (Photo supplied by: Robin Edwards) Page 48

49 This one needs help (Photo supplied by: Ernie Krajczar) Thinkin things over (Photo supplied by: Ernie Krajczar) Page 49

50 From the air (Photo supplied by: Robin Edwards) Parked (Photo supplied by: Ernie Krajczar) Page 50

51 Newly crushed area (Photo supplied by: Robin Edwards) Small tree crusher. Troubles? (Photo supplied by: Robin Edwards) Page 51

52 The French crew (from Quebec I believe) in charge of the Crusher consisted of two men. The fella in charge had at one time been a strongman (personal bodyguard) for the leader of the Sea Farers International Union on the east coast. His name was Chapel! You know, like a leetle church? The other chap operated a D6 bull cooking around the Crusher. As well, he was a welder of considerable skill. These two men prepared the Crusher for the crossing by applying oodles of Gunk and sealing both ends of the front roller with precut plywood. The plan was to exclude the water and thereby protect the electric motors. Given the short distance across it should not take a great length of time. The far side had a fairly steep bank and the slope had to be cut down first. This machine did not do well on inclines! Getting it through the waters would be the first challenge but soon it was halfway across and the water was not nearly as deep as I thought. I had expected the machine to break down at any time, after all there were rocks and boulders strewn over the river bottom, but it didn t happen. At a later date it was decided to hire another similar but smaller tree crusher. Why? Beats me! The rate for this one was $200 per hour. The August 1965 record for the large one says, Machine was down all summer for repairs. Work resumed in late September. The record for the smaller T.C is also quite depressing. Getting stuck and down time accounted for 14 days between August 21 and September 29, When the first contracts for the machines expired new agreements were drawn up at a rate more favourable and ethical. Both machines were parked for the winter. Page 52

53 Fort Graham As the clearing operations gathered momentum and distances between jobs increased so did the need for faster transport. The older Sikorsky helicopter was replaced by a newer and faster model. As it turned out I got more rides than I really wanted. We really did get around! Much of my helicopter traveling was during contract inspections but the unit was used whenever and wherever the need was most urgent. On one trip as we were flying up the Finlay I spotted a community, now quite deserted, which in fact was the old Finlay Forks approximately four or five miles upstream from the physical FORKS. There were still several buildings standing at that time. I never did get to set down there and in time it was demolished. Before that happened however, some of our Forestry types rescued several old fashioned phones and other paraphernalia. I don t recall ever seeing it from the river. Page 53

54 Old Finlay Forks with Bobby Vansomer (centre) and Mc Dougal s building at right rear. The other two were not identified. (Information & photo provided by Dave Dietterle & Bobby Vansomer) On one of numerous helicopter trips, nearing freeze-up, we were flying near the old Forks following the river upstream checking on hand falling contractors. Most of these lived in primitive shelters along or near the shores. Ice was forming quickly, lots of it, choking the river. As no one was seen waving us in we continued on. Looking down from my helicopter vantage, I felt grateful to have a salary that wasn t the largest by any means. I would not have wanted to contract under those conditions. At one point we had numerous contracts requiring frequent ground inspections. Under-bidding was quite common. This encouraged cheating. When a contractor realized that he wasn t making wages, he might try and fudge a little. Where the contract required a tree to be bucked to 5 foot bolts the onsite inspection often proved them to be more like 20 feet. After you got to know how the system worked the rules were sometimes relaxed! Those contractors choosing to stay on site might live in tents, depending on weather, etc. others existed under tarps. One pair of contractors built an all weather camp underground. They were snug as a bug and were able to take advantage of the daylight hours; hopefully they earned a lot of money. A Prince George contractor, who had a large contract on the Page 54

55 Finlay River, had a different philosophy. He set up a more modern camp complete with cook, showers and toilet. On the odd occasion I was invited up for coffee. Boy, those camp cooks know how to put it out! The Boss employed numerous fallers. Because he owned an airplane, he visited the site frequently. The plane also allowed for quick shift changes and a means for getting parts and supplies to his camp. Taking off from the Finlay River (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) For other less wealthy contractors unable to supply these amenities the following substitute might have been the only outdoor convenience available. JOHNSON BAR not to be mistaken for Boston Bar, etc. (a) a primitive toilet, (b) a depression in the ground with a log or windfall strategically positioned over the hole. Users soon learned to secure items in pockets. Suspenders also were kept up out of the way, so to speak! (Hanging a ham over a suitable windfall is, after all, not a new thing!) With the back forty exposed to flying insects and your privacy vulnerable you might be forgiven for getting the heck out of there the sooner the better Yeah! Another foray up the river (Finlay s) was with Don Adams who, by virtue of his seniority and knowledge of the country, was the chief marine specialist and in charge of our fastest boat. Our Page 55

56 little jet boat powered with a Ford Interceptor was capable of moving three people (maybe more) in a big hurry. Fort Graham from river (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Don and I and another chap, along with a 100 lb. propane tank for the newly established camp at Fort Graham, scooted out there and back one afternoon. Don was in charge of transporting the survey crews there, I believe! Don s family had pioneered at Gold Bar in the Peace region and it came as no surprise to many that he had a good understanding of the lay of the land and its people! On another occasion a party of probably 6 or 8 of us were returning to camp from work on the Finlay River when we were overtaken by darkness. Our boatman had cautioned us not to be late but we were. Golly, it got dark quickly! With overcast skies there was little to guide us and I had no idea where we were until we were nearing the Forks. You could feel the pull of the water this way and that but with no more than a feeble flashlight and the instincts of our boatman we made it. Scary? Yeah, a little...! There were no lights on shore and when the boat scraped bottom at our landing all of us, I guess, breathed a quiet Thank you! Next spring things were starting to percolate. The camp at Fort Graham started with the cookhouse being set up in the abandoned Catholic Church (Les Nelson (cook). From now on much of the necessary supplies would come in by riverboat. Page 56

57 As an aside (several, five 30 ft riverboats had been constructed by Dick Corless for the Forest Service during the winter. For more on Dick Corless, See ( Crooked River Rats by Bernard McKay ). Page 57

58 Wood Streeper s Barge Word came one day that the Forest Service had ordered barge service from Fort St. John. The barge was intended for travel up the Finlay and I would be going with it on the first trip! One evening it was announced that it had arrived below the Finlay rapids. It was understood that it would take some maneuvering to get up and through the fast water. When one of the senior men and I arrived at the rapids next morning the tug and barge were already tied up on our side of the river above the rapids. Finlay Rapids (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) At first glance one could be forgiven for writing off these guys, there were three in total. But after seeing them run into difficulties you soon realized that these guys were nobody s fools. Page 58

59 What appeared as a hopeless situation simply took a bit of extra time. Versatile? You bet! Just how versatile, I was going to find out in a few short days when I would be asked to chaperone the first trip up the Finlay to Fort Graham. Our load consisted of a winch equipped flatdeck work truck with an electric welder, oxy/acetylene and Curt Garland s D-8 complete with two blades and barrels of fuel. Curt Garland s Cat & truck on barge heading for Fort Graham (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) The tugboat was attached to the barge ahead by cable and pulleys making me wonder, How can this possibly work? But work it did, indeed! The Finlay breaks up into different channels. Boatmen who knew the river, especially the locals, had little trouble. Their experience made them stand apart from novices such as me. So, when Wood asked, which channel? I guess I shrugged my shoulders. Before long it became apparent that we had taken the wrong channel and there wasn t enough water under the barge. We were stuck on a sand bar. Well, I would have been, but not these guys. That small punt that they carried tied to the stern took one of the crew, spooling off cable as he went, to a tree onshore. From there it was a small trick and we were winched out of there and the trip continued. Simple! Page 59

60 Barge Service to Fort Graham (Photo supplied by: Dave Duris) Cool Cat on barge near Davis Creek (Photo supplied by: Bill Troup) Page 60

61 Walkin the Cats Several surveyors, Dave Duris and Howard Willis, had been delegated to flag a line with surveyor tape from Finlay Forks to Fort Graham. This line was going to be our reference as we moved the Del Rio D-9 s in overland. I have no idea how long the surveyors took but here are some observations I made as I chaperoned these smoking behemoths to our work area. Streeper s barge ferried the 9 s across the Peace one day assembling them on the far side upstream from the Finlay rapids. The following morning after receiving a briefing and a map drawn up for this purpose, I climbed aboard the lead Cat and we started out. It was my job to locate the flagged line and direct the Cat operator. On occasion we lost the markers and all had to stop while I got off my machine to search. After locating the line again we continued with trees crashing and criss-crossing to the side and ahead of us. What a racket! These machines weren t built for comfort. There was no provision for passengers and I don t remember what I sat on but I do recall hanging on for dear life and earning a pain in the butt. Bum bruising! There was no attempt to save trees since all would one day be under the waters of what now is Williston Lake. IT WAS HOT riding that pile of steel, and noisy! There were flies and mosquitoes and when everything seemed to be going smoothly one of the machines heated up and we all had to stop. Most often the radiator was blocked with moss and leaves and more often than not we had to wash out the rads to prevent heating or possible fires. The last Cat in line pulled a sloop (fuel tank) carrying a fire pump and hoses. Page 61

62 If water was handy the job didn t take too long. The last thing we wanted was a fire which most certainly would have resulted in the loss of a machine. While I carried a radio, its sole purpose was to stay in touch with base camp. Depending on the nature of the terrain we might find ourselves by days end having to clear a landing area for the helicopter. Sometimes, for some reason we couldn t make contact so we would continue on a way, and try again. When contact was established and a time set, we chose a landing site where the timber was a bit more open and all the Cats would get with it and clear a path for the helicopter. Fuel was ferried by helicopter to us from points along the river. It was very exciting listening for the chopper and someone with keen ears first reporting its arrival. After a day on one of those machines one might be forgiven for not hearing well! At the end of the first day I was surprised at the short distance that we had come! Diesel fuel, in 45-gallon drums, had been dropped on gravel bars along the Finlay River. From there the chopper lifted them to the Cat train in cargo nets. On occasion, the cargo of two drums was lost dropped amongst the trees when the hook became undone. No one went looking for them. Those beasts took a lot of fuel. This routine was repeated for nearly a week. I recall working through a long weekend. One day as we were crossing a drainage on a beaver dam it dawned on me that the guys flagging the road must have had a different picture than we had from on top of the Cats. My Cat had little trouble but the second one nearly lost it so the guys started pushing wood into the ruts and after considerable time they all got across. It was a muggy, drizzly day and as we were engrossed in our work the Forest Service fire patrol buzzed us. I guess they had seen the smoke from the D-9 s and came to investigate. These machines used oil, a lot of it, and cases of Bar s Leak for their leaky radiators. The tractor train progressed slowly but surely. Creek after creek, drainage after drainage, swamp after swamp. Washing rads, getting stuck, getting pulled out, helicopter in, helicopter out, building heliports and after approximately 60 miles, Fort Graham! Finally! Page 62

63 Fort Graham and Ernie Krajczar, Terry Prentice and Bobby Vansomer (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Cat pulling trees. Church and supplies (Photo supplied by: Dave Duris) The Fort had its heyday earlier. The Catholic Church (St. Peter s and Paul s Catholic Church) built, circa , was now the centrepiece of what was left of Fort Graham. The building would serve as our cookhouse and diner for my short term there. Wes Nelson dished up food here suitable for royalty. Plywood bunkhouses had been built and we had dry beds to sleep in. Page 63

64 Camp construction at Fort Graham (Photo supplied by: Dez Rice) With the drop in fur prices the Bay had closed its trading post there in the late forties. Now as I got my first look at this piece of history, I wasn t even aware that this place had an historical past, it simply didn t appear historic, just old and in disrepair! Reportedly, there had been another half dozen or so buildings along with the Catholic Church at Fort Graham some years earlier.the remaining few derelict buildings that I saw were not considered fit for human habitation. Page 64

65 HUDSON BAY COMPANY Hudson Bay Company at Fort Graham, Finlay River - No Date P General Photograph Collection Courtesy of the Fraser-Fort George Regional Museum HUDSON BAY COMPANY Hudson Bay Company at Fort Graham, Finlay River P Timber and Forestry Branch Photograph Collection Courtesy of the Fraser-Fort George Regional Museum Page 65

66 The Fort, as we called it, was recorded as Bear Lake Outpost in early Hudson s Bay history, according to John Revel s account The Sekani Indians of Fort Grahame on the Finlay River in Northern British Columbia. There had been rivalry enough, between the Finlay area natives and those of the Skeena River water shed, to prompt the Bay to create trading facilities here, exclusively for the local population. Fort Grahame, (old spelling) served the area until The authors of This was our Valley speaking of the Fort Grahame community, on p-331, say, In 1914, five Federal Commissioners visited the Sekanis at Fort Grahame and Fort McLeod (communities of 57 and 75 members respectively); 800 acres were set aside at Fort Grahame and the existing 286 acre reserve was affirmed at Fort McLeod. According to the same authors Fort Ware was settled in the mid forties. Art Vansomer served the upper Finlay area, during my term on the project, from a store at Ware. After Art s untimely death, his brother Jimmy Vansomer replaced him. John Revel in his above noted account says this regarding the Sekani natives, The Sekanis were very close and loving families with babies and young people a joy to be cared for and taught by both parents; old people were never neglected. Smallpox had taken its toll among them with the coming of the Europeans earlier. Change had also come with the arrival of Catholic priests when some accepted the Christian faith while retaining some of their old traditions. Now they would be required to adapt even more to the changing times while the waters were about to rise around them. The valley, in which Fort Grahame was located, is called The Rocky Mountain Trench. From here the mountains are always within sight. What I saw of the area confirms much that has been written elsewhere. I did not have time to do much exploring here. My work, however, allowed me to see firsthand some of the stands of timber that we would soon be destroying. I did not have time to think much of the loss of habitat, etc. But man, oh man, some of the spruce must have reached nearing eighty or ninety feet in height and close to three feet at the butt. Page 66

67 The Finlay River broke into numerous side channels and oxbows calling for knowledgeable and experienced river men to navigate its waters. Once flooded the area would extend 15 or so miles past the Fort. My work took me a few miles upstream of the Fort, short however, of the farthest point of the project. I felt deprived when I did not get to see the upper reaches of the Finlay River. Our work was fairly simple. Any trees projected to be above maximum drawdown had to be cut down, pushed over and burned. Handfaller (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Of the 165 contracts awarded in 1966 only a half dozen were over 100 acres. Most of the remaining ones amounted to, on average, acres each. Approaching a hand-falling site you knew you were close by the humming and buzzing sound of numerous saws. The sounds echoing through the woods, one from this direction, one from another direction, assured you that work was being accomplished and hopefully everyone was making money. There were, however, numerous defaults. Some fallers simply couldn t hack it. Page 67

68 Burning near Davis Creek (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Burning, Davis Creek (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Getting to and from work was most often accomplished by boat. It was here that I first met a native fella named Keom Pierre. He was a jewel of a guy. I could depend on him. He was true to his word. He might have been the only person still making his home at Fort Graham at that time. Keom s brother Willie also served as a boatman in this general area. I expected that the Indian agent had Page 68

69 earlier negotiated the terms for the residents there in order to get them to vacate. Another boatman I recall was Paul Salonas. Paul and another local native, A. Salonas, both completed hand-falling contracts in the area. One of them told me how he had received treatment for T.B. in a sanitarium somewhere in the Fraser valley. His description of the place made me think it might have been at Sardis, near Chilliwack, where I once lived. One day as I came ashore, near Davis creek, I spotted a tree with something hanging among the branches. This something turned out to be a half dozen large traps most likely used for beaver sets. On a subsequent check the trees had been felled and who knows if someone recovered them or not! Most of the natives trapped at one time or another! When work took us farther along the river the Forest Service housed us in a floating camp. Floating camp at eventide (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Page 69

70 Floating camp near Collins Cr. (Photo supplied by: Dez Rice) Meanwhile, work continued on the Finlay in the summer. As the distance to the work area increased the Ft. Graham accommodation was added to with a floating camp to service the downstream area saving a whole lot of travel. Here the fuel barges proved their worth. Each delivered in the neighborhood of 2,500 gallons at a crack. After our own (F.S.) machines arrived, more experimenting was done up river on the Finlay. A longer length of chain for example, worked much better in certain stands of timber. The ball was dispensed with where warranted. Page 70

71 Some Days Are Better! The morning started much the same as other good days had for weeks. It s a good thing that we can t tell the future, eh? Had I been able to do that I would have stayed in the sack, for sure! My instructions were to move a pair of TD-25s to a new area that included a creek crossing. On good days I am a very optimistic guy. This day would not be one of those! The plan was that I would ride with the rear Cat and the lead operator would take directions from me on our radios. After we entered the creek, high in flood, it became apparent that possibly we should have tried elsewhere. Soon the water was over the tracks and getting deeper, but the operator assured me things were okay. Very quickly the water was over the floorboards. This didn t look good! When I voiced my objection he couldn t hear me say, Get back! Get back! His radio was drowned by now, I guess! Boy, did I feel helpless! Had he stopped right there he might have been all right. But when I saw his tractor seat go floating away I knew this was going to be a bad day. Then when he finally stopped to back out, the motor quit! My operator maneuvered his machine close in order to allow the operator, of a now dead Cat, to escape via our machine. Which he did! You would think that this was enough embarrassment for one day; however, my dignity was going to be trampled on just a bit more when Brad Wilson s helicopter appeared overhead. Aboard was our senior foreman, Bob Mackey! Yeah, they saw it all! I spent many sleepless hours replaying that experience, something like the car accident that I experienced a few years prior and never getting an answer other than, I should not have been there! Golly, I felt sick! Page 71

72 Hamburger Joe Joe Berghammer (Photo supplied by: Pete Wilson) After settling in at the Fort one evening after supper, I met a chap who was referred to as Hamburger Joe Joe was a tough guy, or so I was told. His real name was Joe Berghammer. I can t recall what his business was with us that night. He was a boatman among other things. He had come to this neck of the woods many years prior. He was a very capable man and quite suited for the work we had for him. He had trapped in the area. He was a river man, a faller and bucker, but his reputation as a survivor went ahead of him. The story was that one winter he got caught away from camp and froze parts of his feet. When he finally gained the security of his Page 72

73 cabin, where he lived alone, he realized that his toes or toe would have to be amputated. Apparently he did the surgery himself with a butcher knife and a block of wood. After he left the area he returned to his property on Highway 97 North near the Parsnip River. His cabins were quite visible from just below the bridge on the upstream side. Joe worked for us as boatman and later as a falling contractor with his power saw. A more complete account of Joe s ordeal is available in Bernard McKay s Crooked River Rats. Exploring the Finlay prior to our machinery arriving there, I was looking the area over from a riverboat piloted by Joe Berghammer one day. We had entered a side stream, some people called these oxbows, which had a fair volume of water. The water here was much quieter than the mainstream. If the river drops a bit there won t be any current, said Joe! With that established we were doing just fine when a bear appeared on the bank looking down on us. The bank was probably 12 or 15 feet above the water. The bear huffed and took off. That was the last I expected to see of that animal but it was so interested in us, or so it seemed, that it followed us looking down on us as it galloped along keeping pace with our boat. It had a genuine look of interest on its face. Joe figured it was a young grizzly of about two years. To my untrained eyes it appeared quite large! Joe had a toughness about him, but I got to see a gentler side of him. He soon learned of my love for the outdoors and took occasion to help this tenderfoot. We were working inside of a side channel when I returned to the boat for lunch where the discussion inevitably turned to hunting and trapping. At some point I complained about my lack of bait for my marten sets come November. You want bait? I ll get you some! he said. Of course I wanted bait! Some 10 days or so later when the shift changed, one of the returning operators came looking for me. He had a covered pail for me from Joe. There was my bait, several pounds of ling. Problem solved! Another time Joe came to my trailer asking me to accompany him up Manson Cr. where he had a falling contract. Apparently there was some question regarding the flagged line that marked the boundary for his contract. After snowmobiling in and Page 73

74 straightening up the dispute he took me back to camp. He showed considerable respect for my wish to celebrate Sunday! Page 74

75 My work, great days! From the first day when I appeared at Windy Point to the last day when I left Hudson s Hope my involvement with the Pondage program had been nothing short of incredible and exciting. Firstly, I didn t come to the project with any proper credentials. There s a huge list of things for which I did not qualify. Truly I was not a surveyor. I never did like the word can t but I did survey work, of sorts! I wasn t a forest technician but I did a bit of scaling, cruising, and measuring waste and debris. Not being a machine operator really cramped my style but my superiors trusted my judgment enough to have me supervise machine operations, i.e. clearing contracts, etc., etc.! No, I did not mind being supervised and inspected. I discovered the Forestry brass to be a very considerate bunch of guys. Marking boundaries and keeping machines and fallers within certain areas was a good deal of my job(s). At times I enjoyed snowshoeing into areas as it gave me giving me an insight into what made the country tick. I simply loved it! There were always animal tracks to observe in the snow and on the ground and it was a revelation to see something new. There were wolf tracks and all kinds of other creature tracks, lots of them. Contract inspections took a fair bit of my time and I enjoyed most of that except when a contractor tried to pull the wool over my eyes, trying to cheat! Note: I was somewhat amused and felt a degree of smugness upon reading the 1966 annual report where the writer says it is fair to conclude that an older man is more suitable for this type of Page 75

76 work than the younger man. He suffers fewer qualms of conscience in insisting on the full measure of the agreement. I was going to reach my fortieth birthday on this project so I count that as a sort of compliment, after all, compliments weren t that plentiful! At times I set chokers, flagged lines and areas. The upper elevation or maximum height of the expected lake was strictly adhered to, but there were times when it was violated. Then a superior might remind me of the sensitivity of the project! As an aside, when we were engaged in downing trees upstream on the Nation River, the Quebecers (guys in charge of the tree crusher) had changed oil in the machines spilling some oil on the ground. When we arrived at work the next morning we saw grizzly tracks in and out of the oil splotch. There were tracks all over the place. The animal apparently had little regard for the unusual smells and was gone when we arrived! Travel to and from work often required that you did your own transport. We had a fair number of boatmen but I recall where I once travelled up the Nation in a riverboat doing my own piloting. I wasn t exactly new to boating but this was going to require a bit of skill, as there wasn t much water under the boat. The 30-horse outboard soon kicked up gravel in the shallows and I wondered, How much can that shear pin take? Being a Sunday, I had brought my young son along to give him a break from camp. I was beginning to regret having him there but things worked out all right for us both! This might have been my first and last time operating a thirty-five foot riverboat. Snowshoes (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Page 76

77 Author near Parsnip-Nation R. (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) So you soon learn to do the right thing, lift the outboard slightly and let the lower half of the prop do the work. If I d had a choice I would have preferred to have a boatman like Bobby Vansomer, Bill Whitter, Ed Strandberg or Joe Berghammer do the boating for me! Really, what can be more satisfying than drifting through some quiet water, watching mergansers and beaver or seeing a mother bear s tracks where she had brought her cubs to the water s edge. Now look at that, just below the small logjam, see that riffle? Could be a good dolly in there! Page 77

78 Leisure times Base camp had few provisions for personal recreation. The reason being that in the early days everyone took off for Prince George or other parts. Of necessity this changed when winter came. Road and weather conditions dictated that the risks were extreme for someone caught stranded. After the Pondage project got into high gear the road itself was a hazard with many trucks competing for a place on the narrow gravel road. In camp the married folk did their usual coffee klatches visiting back and forth, exchanging gossip regarding the kids and who was doing what and why. There obviously weren t too many secrets kept for any length of time. The single men of course had the liberty of going to town whenever that could be arranged. After a few months of camp life many wondered what they had seen in this winter wonderland. The beauty of this snow-laden isolation was dimming and thoughts of civilization, the city and other people to talk to, became a near obsession for some. Page 78

79 Winter picnic. Present are, (Gardi, Stu, no other names given) Blaine Morton, Arnie Odiorne, Alma Odiorne, Isabel Morton, Mary Krajczar, Maralyn Dietterle, Julien. (Photo supplied by: Bill & Sheila Andreychuk) Radio reception was generally poor, I would say, with evenings best when some Calgary stations might have come through. Television was still in the future for this area but, what now may seem a bit humorous, was an attempt to get early television to mile 73 camp. Someone with the aid of Brad Wilson and his helicopter lifted a bedspring for an antenna into position on Mount Selwynn (Actually a peak much closer to camp). The report that I got regarding reception said there was considerable room for improvement. One winter a hockey rink was built. Refrigeration was cheap and there were no maintenance charges. Other times The National Film Library provided films free, and if the crummy driver had remembered to pick them up there might be a showing some evening! Summers provided fishing trips to local lakes. If you had access to a riverboat you might be able to tangle with a good sized dolly at the mouth of a larger creek. Some played baseball, some pitched horseshoes and trips to town might be arranged. The policy regarding getting gasoline for private use from the Forest Service tanks was pretty dicey. It wasn t supposed to happen; however, there were exceptions made on occasion! Before we moved into mile 73 Camp, the camp at 49 mile Page 79

80 provided some of us with fine fishing at a small lake impounded by a beaver dam at about mile 51. There was absolutely no skill required to catch small trout here. The only requirement was that you get some sort of lure into the water. Trolling almost any lure worked. Trolling dry flies produced as many fish as did fly-casting and almost anything worked. The fish, all rainbows, were not tackle busters. I doubt if any were two pounds, more like 12 to 14 inches, but hey! To get to the water was a bit of a trick. Some one had a fiberglass boat hidden nearby. Borrowing it, you had to pole your way through tall grass for 20 or 30 yards before entering the lake. The lake drained out over a sturdy beaver dam and the stream found its way into Scott Cr. I think! Wolf Den within 100 yards of the Forest Road (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) At times you shared the water with beaver or the odd loon. Moose were also present occasionally! One evening I spotted a cow moose in the shallows. This particular time I had decided to fish from shore and as the light changed at eventide I noticed the moose I had been watching appeared to have a long tail. Indeed it did! Not being too familiar with wolves I started to slowly make my way towards the road where my car was parked. This THING kept watching me and by now I guessed that the beast was standing in shallow water. On a follow-up trip I investigated the higher ground near this place and found a den within a hundred yards or Page 80

81 so of the road. There was considerable sign around the entrance indicating that this was a recently used den. People traveling the road had reported sighting a wolf bitch in the vicinity. Betty Unrau and trailer at M-73 camp (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) My wife Joyce and son Roy at 73 Mile camp (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) In the fall of 65 a Forestry trailer became available and, my wife Joyce, three children, and I moved into our newly acquired thirty foot by eight foot unit. Come wintertime, for me, this was pretty close to heaven. With my wife beside me and with my three Page 81

82 kids tucked in it was quite assuring as we lay in bed hearing the trees crack with the cold. Our new Irwin built house in Prince George was rented and I was thinking of the marten sets that I had made by lantern light that evening. Not working weekends this winter gave me the opportunity to do what I had desired to do since I was a young blade in Manitoba years ago. There wasn t much time though, only Saturday. By Sunday evening I would have to pull my traps. I had only a few Conibear traps in sizes suitable for short-term use. I found them very efficient. Raw skins in our lean-to (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Unrau Kids, Tim & Betty (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Page 82

83 Several lynx skins (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) I had obtained permission to trap land fur on Bill Boyko s line. He was not able to provide me with a distinct boundary description but it was an area much larger than what I could ever cover. Bill s buildings were located at the confluence of Weston Cr.- Parsnip R. and I used his main house to warm up in from time to time. It was abandoned by this time but in very livable condition. Bill and his family lived at McLeod Lake by this time and Bill was employed with B.C. Highways. Fur that I trapped was mainly marten, some fisher, the odd weasel, mink and lynx. The country also hosted pika up in the rocks, pack rats and many wolves. Wolf tracks were noted occasionally where they approached the perimeter of the camp. This news was not advertised. After the clearing had started and the flat next to camp was accessible by car, I drove my family through the area one Sunday afternoon. The drive was uneventful until I heard my youngest boy exclaim, doggie, doggie! We didn t have a dog and WAIT A MINUTE! Where Tim, where? A wolf that had been lying in the open slash had just risen and was making tracks for the bush line. Stopping the station wagon and quickly loading my rifle, I fired, spinning the animal around giving me enough time to reload and fire a second round. The animal died in mid air. I can t say that I Page 83

84 was over elated, maybe even a bit sad. But then I am a bit of a sentimentalist! Wolf sign was spotted frequently and numbers of tracks indicated more wolves. I had saved a beaver carcass and reluctantly decided to try for a wolf near the dump. The dump was situated several miles down the road. Wolves habitually use high points to scan the surrounding area and I knew of such a spot overlooking the road. Here I set four # 13 traps around a large tree trunk, the tree visible from a point of the road. This way I would not have to check my set from close up. After hoisting the beaver carcass up about 5-6 feet and wiring it in with some old electrical wire I congratulated myself on a very professional effort. A few days after that it snowed. Beautiful! Taking every opportunity to visit the dump I would drive past the place and, NOTHING! One day however, there were wolf tracks all over and I simply had to check closer. They had approached within a few feet of my traps. Suspecting that my traps were frozen down I started to lift each one as I located them and reset them. Again I waited and waited. I was beginning to doubt my competence, maybe I wasn t as good as I had thought. Besides, I couldn t spend this much time so, one day I pulled my traps leaving the beaver in the tree. Coming by the dump some days later I decided to check out some wolf tracks along the roadway and, sure enough, they led to my tree. The beggars had taken the beaver without a fare-thee-well leaving me wondering, How d they do that! Page 84

85 Wolf. Was this one whose tracks were seen near camp? (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Driving past the dump one day after a trip to town with my family I noticed an unusually large concentration of ravens congregating in the trees. Since I had a trap in the area I was encouraged to make a spot check before driving home. It became evident that an animal was caught but it wasn t a wolf! What is that? It was smaller than a wolf, for sure and all black. When I approached the set I was somewhat apprehensive but I wasn t about to leave this animal to the crows and ravens. It was a large male fisher! The animal lunged at me to the length of the trap chain sinking its teeth into my rubber boot barely missing my foot. I guess I had had visions of fur prices in the late 30 s and early 40 s when prime marten and fisher pelts might have commanded bids up to $100. Crews working on the Black Water R. reported river otter and I remember Bill Boyko catching one in his beaver traps. There were probably wolverine too but I never laid eyes on any sign. Beaver were most plentiful, but Bill and I had an understanding where he would concentrate on beaver that were traditionally trapped during the spring. I was permitted to take an animal or two for bait purposes, no more! Here are a few interesting notes taken from Handbook #11 The Mammals of British Columbia, authored by Ian McTaggart Page 85

86 Cowan and Charles J.Guiguet regarding the marten. Mating occurs from June to September; young, two to six, average three, born after a gestation period of 220 to 272 days, at least 5 months of this being taken up by delayed implantation. Reporting on the fisher, he describes, a 350-day gestation period and all but two months of this time is taken up by delay in the implantation of the blastocyst. What interesting creatures! The price on fur wasn t great, but I was working out a fantasy not many get to do and I was proving a thing or two to myself. I could learn and I was paying for my gas and a few new traps. Nothing like the pros, but what the heck! Stifling the urge to sell all my catch I saved a few skins to practice on doing my own tanning. After health problems necessitated moving to Prince George my decision to keep a few was amply rewarded. I still have them: trophies of sorts. But, back to the past! One weekend I found myself near the road that had been pushed into the mouth of Weston Cr. Instead of following the road towards the Parsnip River I decided to explore the opposite side, the east side, of the Parsnip Forest road. After I left the road I discovered I was in a completely different world. There was a tangle of fallen trees and windfalls the likes you seldom see. Water was trickling through the under brush in small rivulets. The downed trees were moss covered reminding me of the coastal forests. My mind was telling me that I was in totally virgin territory. Kind of eerie there in the shadows, but a shape caught my eye amongst the trees. There were no tracks, animal or otherwise, anywhere close to this place. The underbrush had grown up around this structure which was man made. Completely surrounded by trees was a lean-to type of building about six feet at the peak with a base of about four feet. It was just long enough and wide enough for one person to lie down in. No window. The door opening reminded me of a doghouse. To enter a person would have to crawl on the knees. Inside, to the side by the door, was what appeared to be a fire ring made of stones, small and compact! The construction seemed to be of hand-hewn planks. I did not go digging around the place but I did take a long look around and found no sign of human activity. I concluded it was an old abandoned trapper overnight cabin. Page 86

87 My wife Joyce, who had given up our new home in Prince George in order to accompany me at my work, and who in her other life, had been an elementary school teacher, took on the responsibility of getting some learning into our oldest son. Good idea! Our 8 by 30 foot trailer hardly leant itself to more bodies but after the correspondence papers arrived our trailer became the schoolhouse for our son (Roy), Buster and Debbie Troup and Billy Molnar, all camp kids. Our lean-to provided me with a bit of room to follow my after-hours trade. Here I did not get the customary don t-do-thatin-here treatment. The outdoors provided a cold room enabling me to postpone skinning until a more suitable time. I doubt that my fantasy ever encroached upon my Forest Service duties. Looking back though, I can relate that the cook shack did in fact contribute the odd can of sardines for survival food. Coincidentally, any sort of fish makes great marten bait! Summers were better suited for families, however, as the following camp photos tell the story. Betty Robbilard & Linda Monroe (Photo supplied by: Deb (Troup) Marrello) Page 87

88 Tommy Jackson & Betty Unrau (Photo supplied by: Bill & Marg Troup) Buster Troup & Roy Unrau on steel ball used in downing trees (Photo supplied by: Bill & Marg Troup) Page 88

89 Buster Troup & Keith Monroe (Photo supplied by: Bill & Marg Troup) Buster Troup holding Tommy Jackson. Dan Berry (Photo supplied by: Bill & Marg Troup) Page 89

90 Ernie and Mary Krajczar & Mitzi Prentice? (Photo supplied by: Bill & Sheila Andreychuk) Isabel Morton (Photo supplied by: Bill & Marg Troup) Page 90

91 Tim Unrau & Warren Milner (Photo supplied by: Bill & Marg Troup) Vic Lutz & Troup family (Photo supplied by: Bill & Marg Troup) Page 91

92 Finlay Forks Lying beneath the waters of Williston Lake, where once was the confluence of three major waterways, is (was) Finlay Forks. The Forks could easily have been named after the Parsnip River or, it might have been named after the Peace River. Today it doesn t matter! Along with other dreams of the past its secrets lie covered by a small sea of water. Finlay Forks A Doz. Buildings Appear on air photo Finlay Rapids Begin Manson Creek Finlay and Parsnip Rivers Join Cattermole s Mill Air photo. Flown prior to clearing operations, circa Page 92

93 Few today will remember what it was like except when reading accounts of those who were there. Gone are the aspirations for a railway down the Parsnip and Peace Rivers to the farmlands of the Peace Block. There will be no city here, though there might have been! That dream included a rail branch up the Finlay River, who knows, maybe as far as Alaska! A look at a map of the area confirms a straight shot up the Trench to the vicinity of Lower Post and access to the Yukon, Alaska and northwestern B.C. Another time, another set of circumstances and the dream of the 1900 s may one day be fulfilled; personally, I hope not! But, wait a minute, if not a city what about some other venture like a get away from it all community near the Forks with paved road access, water access and of course floatplane services. It has all the earmarks of something special, I believe! Surely there are still those today, who hold to the notion that the north is not adequately exploited, developed. They could be right! See Bob Miller s account in the Citizen Jan where he cites former Prince George Mayor Harold Moffat s remarks, it s a shame B.C. Rail didn t follow through with its rail line to Dease Lake, which should have been extended to the Yukon. Regarding more power development, Moffat says, On the Iskut River in northwestern B.C. there are at least nine places where hydro dams could be built, using the same water over and over downstream to generate electricity. It should be done on the Peace River too. Given the sharp rise in natural gas and electricity rates one has to speculate where the heat and energy will come from. And then the question arose, Why not use the water over and over again? In Alberta they expect to do just that! Peace River water, when dammed somewhere between Fairview and Spirit River, is calculated to produce enough electricity to supply up to 40,000 homes. The people who preempted land in the area then are identified now in records only. References to the ability of the lands potential for farming and growing of crops are limited. As with pre-emption (homesteading) in other places, hopes faded and the entrepreneurs looked elsewhere. For those with pioneering blood in their veins, Page 93

94 this must have been heaven. Imagine having a piece of property to call your own. To spend years at developing it and planting crops with dreams and hopes of a harvest one day only to have the exercise end in disappointment for one reason or another. Outposts of sorts found place and reason to exist here from time to time. Supplies for trappers, prospectors and miners were distributed from here. Cabins were in evidence. Surveyors stopped and camped here. When I worked here in 1964 my party found evidence of old survey marks in what is now Finlay Bay. Howard Willis and I were setting boundary markers for clearing operations when he discovered and uncovered a bearing on a tree. The blaze mark was overgrown to such a depth that I could not recognize it but underneath were numbers which Howard did recognize. He marveled how those early engineers could have been so accurate! It was in this general area that a pioneering couple from California started a homestead from scratch in Jack and Lucille Adams found themselves in possession of 160 acres here initially. For reasons unknown to the writer, they left after a few short years and moved down the Peace to establish a new homestead in the vicinity of Goldbar. Like other pioneers in other parts of the land, the Adams were never short of hope or enthusiasm and never entertained the thought of quitting. Lucille Adams on left (Photo supplied by: Bill & Marg Troup) Page 94

95 I saw Mrs. Adams once, at our 73-mile camp where she and our Project manager Miles H. Pickup were in animated conversation. I was struck, kind of, by her peculiar attire, in particular her boots! Lucille Adams and her husband Jack were the parents of our own Don Adams! My first encounter with settlement in the area was at Weston creek where Bill and Mary Boyko had a place. Access was by boat on the Parsnip. By this time, however, the place was vacant and marked for destruction. Soon a road would be pushed into the place making it accessible for clearing crews. Incidentally, place names such as Finlay s River, Weston Creek, Scott Creek, Fort Graham and Skog Lookout were named after people, some very interesting characters! It gets you thinking. Where did they come up with names like Tutu Creek and Cut Thumb? Page 95

96 Displaced Citizens My recollection of aboriginal peoples in the Finlay Forks and surrounding area were the ones that the F.S. hired on temporary basis such as the boatmen. Some were from the immediate area I understood. Some had lived at Fort Graham and others at Ingenika. Little did I know at the time that the McLeod Lake population and the ones around Finlay Forks might be related. All appeared to be somewhat nomadic, moving about the country as their needs required. Then there was a fella named Max McNab-Tylee whom I met while boating the Parsnip with Bill Boyko on a beaver-trapping excursion one weekend. Max had a temporary cabin on the Parsnip River, but the exact location escapes me. He may have done some hand falling for us as well. A name (Max Tylee) came up in the news in Sept when the Prince George Citizen reported, Grizzly attack injures hunter. I learned lately that this is the same person. Bill Boyko s wife Mary was also of native extraction. The Boykos had already moved to McLeod Lake when I first met them. Bill was employed with the Highways Dept. at the time. I understood that a negotiated settlement had already been made in regards to the Boyko place at Weston Creek. Bill never voiced any details about the deal, no complaints, nothing! Like most residents of the area, Bill had also trapped furs from his place at Weston Creek in season. Their cabin, by now abandoned, appeared well-taken care of. I was allowed to use it whenever I wished! Bill was really proud of his family. Bill and Mary had two boys Page 96

97 and two girls if memory serves me right. Of the four, two were probably born here. Rose, the second oldest I believe, visited my wife and I when she attended school in Prince George. She went on to become a person of considerable esteem, a judge! As the waters rose, several native families reportedly, moved to a site within a few miles of the Forest Service camp circa , one that I do not recall seeing. Others apparently relocated temporarily near what is now Mackenzie. Few, if any, had any idea or might even have imagined the immensity of what was about to take place. My understanding is that a good number of these took up residence at Ingenika at a later date. While my association with the Sekani people was limited to those hired by the Forest Service as boatmen and fallers my closest dealings were with the Pierres and Salonas, Good men! Other citizens of the area were of the four-legged kind. Most plentiful were moose. It was predicted that with the rising water many would drown. Numbers were thrown around like rice at a wedding. Someone came up with a good solid number, like 3000 animals would die. The debris on the lake will prevent moose from getting to shore! The furor excited a lot of people. As a result the hunting limit was raised to three animals per hunter that year. Good thing for some hunters! Moose are excellent swimmers, and I doubt if the numbers came to that. Later reports indicated that the earlier numbers might not have been that exaggerated after all. A pilot of some acclaim who flew the area frequently reported that many moose were trapped amongst the floating debris as the waters rose. Apparently there were enough dead carcasses floating to disgust the hardest of hunters. The local residents confirmed the tremendous loss of wildlife! Deer, caribou and bears along with furbearers probably suffered comparably. No one knows for sure! All creatures great and small have a tremendous instinct for survival, and like the human variety, they too know where safety lies. I once saw how animals could act when a portion of their habitat disappears. When the area near the confluence of the Parsnip Page 97

98 and Nation Rivers had been cleared I came upon two moose standing in the middle of a vast clearing looking most forlorn. I got the impression that these critters couldn t figure things out. Instinct told them we used to live here, but look at it now! They simply stood there! Regardless of the numbers of animals that perished, now, three decades later, newcomers must wonder what all the hue and cry was about! Everything looks serene and natural! Page 98

99 To Hudson s Hope I found myself transferred to Hudson s Hope during spring breakup in I would be overseeing a clearing contract on the upstream side of the dam. Under normal conditions I love flying. We did a fair bit of that on this project. I was flying from the Forks to Hudson s Hope. The pilot was having a bad day, a bad air day. He was mad, mad, MAD! I was getting scared, scared, SCARED! We got up in the air all right but I swear we missed the first peak by inches. The pilot apparently had an agreement that he could moonlight between F.S. flights. The story went like this. On a return flight the previous day he had landed on a body of water where his engine stalled. The battery was dead! His radio was inoperable and of course his engine wouldn t start. I guess the night must have been torturously long with the mosquitoes and all. To make matters worse he was missing a private flight that had promises of some REAL money. The F.S. helicopter found him next morning and after delivering a new battery he was soon airborne. That s where my flight came in! The landing on the river at Hudson s Hope might have been disastrous. We landed there with such impact the airplane bounced way up in the air and when I got off I had to find a toilet quickly. The pilot was still swearing! A more seasoned traveler might have reported him. Fortunately this kind of nerve-wracking travel was kept to a minimum. At Hudson s Hope I awaited the arrival of the contractor s machines, exploring my area! No, I didn t go fishing, hunting or anything like that! I wanted to learn the extent of the contract area Page 99

100 and get to know it well in advance but I was thinking in little boy terms. I couldn t get it through my skull how big this operation really was. Fortunately, my superiors came up on an inspection trip, and discovered that I was in over my head. Before they left I was seeing a much bigger and clearer picture. Page 100

101 The Dam Today the dam, a very impressive structure, sits there looking powerful, which it is. It is also quite aesthetic, almost regal, holding back a reservoir exceeding 200 miles in length. The reservoir rates about 10th among the world s larger impoundments (by volume). Before construction began, a source for the large amount of fill had to be found. Actually it had already been found within a few miles of the proposed site. The earth fill dam would require millions and millions of tons of material. Transporting the material to the site required a 3:1/2mile long conveyor belt. Coincidently, during my presence in the dam area, I did not once see the belt in operation. Apparently it required a great deal of attention and maintenance. It must have however, moved a lot of material rapidly supplying the numerous screening and sorting plants. Talk about moving mountains! With load limits on the highways, I figured the Cats would be a while before they would show up, and with Hydro not permitting ANY traffic over the dam, well, I could be in for a long wait. One morning while on my usual trip to my area I stopped for a coffee when someone asked if I had talked to the Cat crew. Not only had they come through the Highway s scales, they had already crossed over on the dam and were ready to go to work. Somebody said; Grease always works! Visitors to the plant can hardly imagine what went on underneath where the dam sits today. I had the opportunity, once, to be toured through the bowels of the structure. We entered the cavern from the top I believe, via a wooden platform and steps fastened to the side of this vast hole in the rock. It wasn t that I feared high places. Page 101

102 After all, I had been on jobs that required climbing and I don t scare easily! The height appeared to be about that of a ten or twelve story building. The leader just motioned to my companion and me to follow, you couldn t hear for the noise! My knees started to quiver and I wondered if I would wet myself. How secure are these steps? That is a long way down. This is crazy! If memory serves me this is where the gantry was set up in preparation for one of the turbines. They also had a mobile crane with a very long boom and jib working in there with room to spare. Wow! For a novice like me, this was almost too much. Now, I recognize at least three major components, i.e. the dam which is the most visible feature, the powerhouse or the underground guts and the above ground generating station. On the floor, sitting suspended over an opening was this circular thing that I guessed to be about 30 feet in diameter. I supposed it would fit into the hole beneath it. With all the activity and noise in that confined area I found the whole experience a bit bewildering and I would be glad to get back out and resume my own duties of supervising clearing contracts on the upstream side of the dam. (The ground where I worked simply seemed a more reasonable work place, one I could relate to!) To date, a total of ten turbines, (Francis Type) manufactured by Mitsubishi, Toshiba and Fuji with each complete turbine weighing 670 tons, have been installed. Their speed is given at 150 RPM and their runaway speed (whatever that is) is recorded at 275 RPM. Someone asked, Did you ever? No! I interrupted. I never did get a dam picture! The Bennett Dam, while huge and impressive in every respect, loses some of its awe when its numbers are placed alongside of other world-class dams. Compare the Bennett dam s height of 180 meters (600 ft.) with that of the Nurek dam of the USSR at 300 meters (984 ft). I found it interesting to note also that both dam s hydro plants have almost the same installed capacity of approximately 2700 MW. The planned capacities of both plants were not given at the time! The numbers for both plants pale when compared to the Itaipu dam of Brazil/ Paraguay whose numbers are given at 12,600 MW (from The World s Major DAMS & HYDRO PLANTS, by T.W.Merm). Page 102

103 A Harbinger Of Things To Come When hard times came, as they did, I need not have worried. There was a place found for me to work at my pace with time available to let my body catch up - sick leave. In late summer of 1967 I had recurring symptoms with my health and needed to seek professional advice. My condition had been diagnosed the winter before as rheumatoid arthritis. Now as the pain increased, it was suggested that I go to Vancouver, to C.A.R.S., where I was told they do all sorts of good programs with arthritics. That episode can be read in my Arthritis and the Long Haul. Before leaving Hudson s Hope, I once more came to realize how much one depends on others. Those Forest Service guys and gals were once more going to bat for me. They would provide another position, one that I could handle, away from the physical stress that my position had required. Before my family and I left, we were assured of my continuing employment and the rest is history except to say that in 1982 at age 55 I accepted early retirement. After my involuntary retirement from field duty and life had returned to a form of normalcy, I took up some of my former interests again. My hunting for winter meat was becoming a very real challenge and my moans and whining must have reached the ears of a friend. One winter day during our afternoon radio sched the operator asked, Is Norm there? Don Leiterman at Pondage advised me to wait for the crummy tonight. I have a package for you! R-r-rodger! I breathed a God bless you Donald! Moose meat is acomin Page 103

104 and before quitting time the crummy driver was at the door of our office wanting to know where do you want it? Getting into my parka I followed him outside to where my V.W. bug was parked. You d better have a look first! said he. When he opened the batwing doors on the crummy, my heart sank to the snow on the ground. No one at the office envied me. There with four feet up in the air, frozen stiff and leaned against the inside of the crummy was my moose meat, a cow moose with head and hide on. It was gutted. What to do? I really wasn t up to this! After persuading the driver to store the carcass in the truck till morning I had to scramble and find someone who would take in a frozen, un-skinned moose and cut it up. The truck driver delivered the carcass to a local meat cutter next morning where I learned that there would be a charge for thawing, skinning and then the cutting charge. This free moose was getting expensive! There was however, another teensie bit of irritation coming. Can I see your license and tag? asked the butcher. Before this morning ended I would use my own license and tag on an animal that I had not killed myself, something that I had never done before or expected to do! The dam, and the Hudson s Hope community in general, has received a remarkable amount of attention, first during planning, promotion and finally with construction. In more recent times the discovery of sinkholes within the dam s structure raised questions of frightening possibilities. Before the integrity of the dam could be assured, downstream communities under the gun, so to speak, must have wondered, How did we get to this situation? From my home in Prince George I too breathed easier once the problem was rectified! In 1967 my personal participation in the Peace River Pondage (Lake Williston) came to an end. My interest stays alive and well. I am convinced that with the right governmental supervision and guidance of groups like the B.C. Wildlife Federation, B.C. Hydro and local clubs, the maintenance of wildlife populations will be assured. Barring major earthquakes or sabotage the Bennett dam and its water impoundment Williston Lake, gives us hope of many more years of uninterrupted electricity. Page 104

105 Bennett Dam (Photo supplied by: Norman Unrau) Returning to Hudson s Hope many years later I recognize the dam much as it was nearing completion. It appears more dressed up, tidier. The construction camp is long gone. The lake (Williston) behind the dam is at peace. It s a calm day. The reported debris is not in evidence. The scene is almost serene. If I have any regrets regarding my involvement on the Peace project, it would be in regards to the disruption and displacement of our first nations people. That story is not a pretty one. I have an idea how that all played out politically and it s not a great commentary on white man s dealings with the natives. Who would guess what lies under these waters? Its 1,100 miles of shoreline hides a multitude of frustrations, injustices and disappointments. Will they ever be corrected or must they be placed forever under the waters of forgetfulness? Maybe that s where they belong! On the other end of the lake, at Mackenzie, people there too will forget what the rising waters brought. Page 105

106 Debris salvage at Mackenzie, B.C. (Photo supplied by: Robin Edwards) They are reminded however, every time when the water level is nearing maximum draw-down that the available water is way out there, and that prosperity has a price! In a generation or two the people concerned then will have passed on and if the next generation has to deal with the silting and filling up there will be challenges, no doubt. The fact that the dam has already used 33% of its anticipated life, however, might give us pause to consider how and where we will look for future power. Possibly at some point people will once again look to our rivers remembering the dreams of the past generation. When that happens the holus-bolus approach of the sixties will hopefully have been laid aside for a less contentious one. A new breed of dreamers may find good alternatives that we have not even imagined. Let s hope so! Now, thirty-five years later, I find the time to punch out these words on my P.C. one finger at a time. I am retired, approaching my mid-seventies and grateful to the Almighty for the road that I was privileged to take. To my departing day I shall treasure the people that crossed my path on this and other projects. Page 106

Longman Communication 3000

Longman Communication 3000 LONGMAN COMMUNICATION 3000 1 Longman Communication 3000 The Longman Communication 3000 is a list of the 3000 most frequent words in both spoken and written English, based on statistical analysis of the

More information

PROJECT 81 ONE STEP UP. Consumer Director Housing and Care for Disabled People. The experience of three people PROJECT 81 -ONE STEP ON

PROJECT 81 ONE STEP UP. Consumer Director Housing and Care for Disabled People. The experience of three people PROJECT 81 -ONE STEP ON PROJECT 81 ONE STEP UP Consumer Director Housing and Care for Disabled People. The experience of three people Published by: HCIL Papers, 39 Queens Road, Petersfield, Hants. GU32 388 (c) One Step On PROJECT

More information

[SEE PIC CHRIS.JPG ] [See Map1] Jon Krakauer INTO THE WILD

[SEE PIC CHRIS.JPG ] [See Map1] Jon Krakauer INTO THE WILD [SEE PIC CHRIS.JPG ] [See Map1] Jon Krakauer INTO THE WILD For Linda AUTHOR S NOTE In April 1992, a young man from a well-to-do East Coast family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness

More information


ROBERT A. MONROE Updated Robert A Monroe has been a pioneer in exploring out-of-thebody experiences, and Journeys OUT OF THE BODY, his first book, has become the undisputed classic in the field. He had a long and distinguished

More information

Boater s Guide. New York State. A handbook of registration, operation and safety information for the prudent boater

Boater s Guide. New York State. A handbook of registration, operation and safety information for the prudent boater New York State Boater s Guide A handbook of registration, operation and safety information for the prudent boater Scan and find a boating safety course For More Information About: New York State Office

More information

BRING BACK THE STREETCARS! A Conservative Vision of Tomorrow s Urban Transportation

BRING BACK THE STREETCARS! A Conservative Vision of Tomorrow s Urban Transportation BRING BACK THE STREETCARS! A Conservative Vision of Tomorrow s Urban Transportation A Study Prepared by the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation By Paul M. Weyrich and William S. Lind The Free

More information

Does Transit Work? A Conservative Reappraisal. by Paul M. Weyrich and William S. Lind

Does Transit Work? A Conservative Reappraisal. by Paul M. Weyrich and William S. Lind Does Transit Work? A Conservative Reappraisal by Paul M. Weyrich and William S. Lind "Read (This Study) and I Think You'll See Why Even Conservative State Governors Want More and Better Public Transit,

More information

Are you prepared for the next big

Are you prepared for the next big Are you prepared for the next big in Alaska? By taking action now we can significantly reduce future losses from earthquakes. What to do during and after an earthquake How to prepare for an earthquake

More information

building site! this place is like a service and people first

building site! this place is like a service and people first building site! this place is like a A report on the introduction of loose materials to three primary schools in North Lanarkshire service and people first Generations of adults look back fondly at their

More information

Repairing Your Flooded Home

Repairing Your Flooded Home Repairing Your Flooded Home Repairing Your Flooded Home Contents Step 1. Take Care of Yourself First.................................... 1 Protect yourself and your family from stress, fatigue, and health

More information

Workability. What You Need to Get & Keep a Job. Managing risks. Listening skills. Time. management skills. Appearance and dress. skills.

Workability. What You Need to Get & Keep a Job. Managing risks. Listening skills. Time. management skills. Appearance and dress. skills. Workability Listening skills Appearance and dress skills Managing risks Time management skills What You Need to Get & Keep a Job Money management skills Work-life balance Understanding and preparing materials

More information

COMMON SENSE GOVERNMENT WORKS BETTER &COSTSLESS. Vice President Al Gore. Third Report of the National Performance Review

COMMON SENSE GOVERNMENT WORKS BETTER &COSTSLESS. Vice President Al Gore. Third Report of the National Performance Review COMMON SENSE GOVERNMENT WORKS BETTER &COSTSLESS Vice President Al Gore Third Report of the National Performance Review Common Sense Government Works Better and Costs Less Vice President Al Gore Third Report

More information

Richard Hamming ``You and Your Research''

Richard Hamming ``You and Your Research'' Richard Hamming ``You and Your Research'' Transcription of the Bell Communications Research Colloquium Seminar 7 March 1986 J. F. Kaiser Bell Communications Research 445 South Street Morristown, NJ 07962-1910

More information

Riders Guide. to Public Transit for People with Disabilities. Fixed Route. ADA Complementary Paratransit. by meeting the challenge, inc.

Riders Guide. to Public Transit for People with Disabilities. Fixed Route. ADA Complementary Paratransit. by meeting the challenge, inc. Riders Guide to Public Transit for People with Disabilities Fixed Route ADA Complementary Paratransit by meeting the challenge, inc. Table of Contents Introduction...5 Fixed Route ADA Requirements for

More information

A nationally recognized outdoor skills and ethical awareness program

A nationally recognized outdoor skills and ethical awareness program A nationally recognized outdoor skills and ethical awareness program TEACHING LEAVE NO TRACE A nationally recognized outdoor skills and ethical awareness program A CKNOWLEDGMENTS We thank the following

More information

Health and Safety Guide for New Retail Workers

Health and Safety Guide for New Retail Workers Health and Safety Guide for New Retail Workers About WorkSafeBC WorkSafeBC (the Workers Compensation Board) is an independent provincial statutory agency governed by a Board of Directors. It is funded

More information

First Nations Financial Fitness

First Nations Financial Fitness First Nations Financial Fitness Your Guide for Getting Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of British Columbia Acknowledgements 2011 Aboriginal Financial Officers Association

More information

You can afford to leave: A financial guide for women and children experiencing domestic violence

You can afford to leave: A financial guide for women and children experiencing domestic violence You can afford to leave: A financial guide for women and children experiencing domestic violence There are no explanations anywhere, there are no leaflets anywhere none. You tell me where there is information

More information

Being There. When Mental Illness Strikes Someone Near You. A guide for a friend, family member, or co-worker

Being There. When Mental Illness Strikes Someone Near You. A guide for a friend, family member, or co-worker Being There When Mental Illness Strikes Someone Near You A guide for a friend, family member, or co-worker Being There When Mental Illness Strikes Someone Near You A guide for a friend, family member,

More information

Living in Harmony with Bears

Living in Harmony with Bears Living in Harmony with Bears Living in Harmony with Bears Derek Stonorov Project Director and Writer Gary Lyon Illustrator Nancy Lord Editor John Schoen Contributor Living in Harmony with Bears is a project

More information

The costs of not caring: supporting English care leavers into independence. December 2014

The costs of not caring: supporting English care leavers into independence. December 2014 The costs of not caring: supporting English care leavers into independence December 2014 Contents We would like to thank the practitioners involved in this research, who worked with passion and diligence

More information

The One-Straw Revolution

The One-Straw Revolution The One-Straw Revolution i ii Masanobu Fukuoka The One-Straw Revolution An Introduction to Natural Farming With a Preface by Partap Aggarwal Edited by Larry Korn Other India Press Mapusa, Goa, India iii

More information

The support older people want and the services they need

The support older people want and the services they need The support older people want and the services they need Roger Clough, Jill Manthorpe, OPRSI (Bert Green, David Fox, Gwyn Raymond and Pam Wilson), Vicki Raymond, Keith Sumner, Les Bright and Jinny Hay

More information

Module 8 Surveying and Setting Out

Module 8 Surveying and Setting Out Module 8 Contents: page 8.1 Selecting the Road Alignment 1 8.2 Instruments and Surveying Aids 10 8.3 Setting Out Horizontal Alignment 20 8.4 Setting Out Vertical Alignment 25 8.5 Setting Out Cross Sections

More information

The Newcomer s Guide to Canadian Housing

The Newcomer s Guide to Canadian Housing The Newcomer s Guide to Canadian Housing CMHC Home to Canadians Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada s national housing agency for more than 60 years. Together with other housing

More information

Edited by Stian Westlake

Edited by Stian Westlake Contributions from Ryan Avent, Frances Coppola, Frederick Guy, Nick Hawes, Izabella Kaminska, Tess Reidy, Edward Skidelsky, Noah Smith, E. R. Truitt, Jon Turney, Georgina Voss, Steve Randy Waldman and

More information

Praise for Breaking the Time Barrier

Praise for Breaking the Time Barrier Praise for Breaking the Time Barrier It s the eternal struggle of the freelance worker: how do you price your work in a way that s fair to both you and the client? Nothing less than your career success

More information

Lean from the Trenches An example of Kanban in a large software project

Lean from the Trenches An example of Kanban in a large software project Lean from the Trenches An example of Kanban in a large software project Date: 2011-08- 01 Author: Henrik Kniberg Version: draft 0.9 Page 1 of 75 NOTE - this article is an early draft of the book "Lean

More information

Read a Story That Will Change Your Life!

Read a Story That Will Change Your Life! Read a Story That Will Change Your Life! The One Minute Manager is an easily read story which quickly shows you three very practical management techniques. As the story unfolds, you will discover several

More information

Getting. A Curriculum for People Moving into Employment R E VISED E DITION 1996. by Marian Colette Beverly Woliver Mary Beth Bingman Juliet Merrifield

Getting. A Curriculum for People Moving into Employment R E VISED E DITION 1996. by Marian Colette Beverly Woliver Mary Beth Bingman Juliet Merrifield S E E D S O F I N N O V A T I O N Getting There A Curriculum for People Moving into Employment by Marian Colette Beverly Woliver Mary Beth Bingman Juliet Merrifield R E VISED E DITION 1996 The Center for

More information