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.