Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

Gold River


From 1967 to 1998, the town of Gold River on the west coast of Vancouver Island bustled with activity. Then the pulp and paper mill shut down and it became almost a ghost town.

It’s a tidy town, clean and organized, but there are not even enough people left to support a large grocery store. Two small general stores provide the basics and not much more. The civic centre and police station and two schools are all modern and neat, as if they came right out of a picture book.

Several miles out of town, we found much more activity. A mermaid welcomed us to the wharf area.

Although the mill was shut down, in the remote forests around the Gold River area, logging is still going on. It leaves ugly scars for a while, but the regenerated forests do have their positive effects, providing more sunlight for smaller shrubs and trees which make better food and hiding places for small animals. You can see the new growth in sections that were cut in previous years.

Logging trucks bring the cut logs to a sorting yard near the wharf outside of Gold River.

They are then rolled down the embankment into the salt water, to be put into sections according to type and possibly by size by the dozer boats you see in the photo. They push the logs into the appropriate partitions, ready for loading onto ocean-going ships.

Without the pulp and paper mill, the logs are sent out to other countries to be processed further.

It’s sad to see the mill in ruins. Eventually it will be dismantled.

Meanwhile, the town and the coastal inlets are  destinations for eco tours and sightseeing trips by boat or by plane.

A small float plane company has set up shop near the wharf. It serves those who want a tour by air, and provides transportation for loggers flying to jobs in even more remote areas of the coast.  As well, air freight is a quick way to bring in supplies and parts for machinery that may have broken down.

Here is the grand office of the seaplane service.

Book your ticket and fly on this float plane.

We had our truck so we made our way back by land this time.

Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

37 thoughts on “Gold River

  1. What a beautiful area, Anneli. I think I could sit on that dock (first shot) for hours! Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gorgeous photos. They remind me of your books, with your wonderful descriptions of settings like these. I wonder who (what?) posed for the mermaid statue. :-0 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always thought it was such a bad idea to allow the logging without a manufacturing plan. The local economy suffered, and it left the town little to support it. I’ve been living on Vancouver Island since the 1960s, and watched this develop—BC governments were so short-sighted!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. But there is another factor, and that is all the protesting of groups against the cutting of trees (who would have us use plastics instead). The logging seems to have picked up a bit, in this area anyway, but we still ship away the logs (and all the jobs their processing might have provided).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s sad when a town dies. Now nature can take over! Beautiful shots, Anneli!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Funny how we both have recently been to small towns. I think yours was a little more scarce with much higher mountains. I’m also reading a novel with mermaids, and I thought of it immediately when I saw that statue. Those photos are gorgeous. I love mountains.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny how things go like that sometimes, isn’t it? You go along for months with no changes and then suddenly we’re both doing similar things. The mermaid factor is really a coincidence. Yes, Gold River is a pretty area. Beautiful rivers and lakes all through there.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a beautiful area. It’s a kind of blessing that man’s intrusion was limited. Although, a lot of pulp mills do a good job of forest management.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the regulations are getting so stringent that they have to do a good job of forest management – much better than in the old days. No one likes to see slash on a hillside, but after a couple of year the new growth is really good for the grouse and other small animals.


  7. wow, I would love it there

    Liked by 1 person

  8. If you like peace and quiet or you like to fish or take pictures, it’s a beautiful place.


  9. Any idea how many students attend the two schools?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s so pretty there they might be able to replace the mill with tourism eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So beautiful. Sounds like a good spot to just relax and regenerate.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Interesting post Anneli and lovely photographs.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Beautiful place and beautiful pictures! Is there a hospital? Would maybe be better for the old folks to live there. A little house on the river side would be a dream for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Gold River is gorgeous. I did a series on forest regeneration ca 1940 on my blog from a scrapbook my father made of when we lived and logged Port Renfrew. An equally lovely spot.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I agree. There is a lot to be said for restraint on both fronts.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Enjoyed the history on Gold River Anneli. Very attractive location. Very upsetting that we ship our logs out of country to be processed. Such a shame that our mills were too expensive to operate. Grew up in the Cariboo where logging was the economy and employed a large portion of population. Big changes.

    Liked by 1 person

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