McLean Sawmill

The R. B. McLean Sawmill was a family-run sawmill near Port Alberni, on Vancouver Island.  Built in 1925, the steam-powered mill “is typical of the remote coastal lumber camp and sawmill complex from the middle of the last century.”  A restoration project at this National Historic Site is ongoing, the impressive magnitude of which can be found here.

Stan Harder, my uncle, recently visited the mill – and captured these wonderful images – offering a glimpse of the way it once was, in BC coastal lumbering.

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“Slowest Fire Season in a Decade”

“B.C. officials say the province is experiencing its slowest fire season in a decade and as a result, firefighters are being sent to out of province fires, while others are building trails and clearing brush.  A rainy July has made this the slowest fire season in B.C. in ten years, and that status is not forecast to change for the remainder of this fire season.”

Full Story

Mellin Magic

While there are many picturesque lakes in the world, I’m not sure any can match Mellin when it comes to both beauty and privacy.  Situated on the Douglas Lake Ranch property 50 kilometers east of Merritt, BC, my dad and brother and I used to visit this high altitude lake for a fly fishing trip on an annual basis – until the lone cabin burned down five years ago.  After learning this spring that construction of a lakeside yurt would be ready for summer, the three of us couldn’t wait to return this past weekend.  When we reached the ranch Friday morning, we then headed up the familiar dusty old logging road for another 90 minutes, dodging numerous cattle along the way.  Upon arriving at the lake, I was in awe all over again.  And the only sounds all weekend (between the lively reels ‘n laughter) were of rainbow trout jumping in the distance.  A memorable time!

Ernie, Matt, Paul

Our first rainbow

We caught images of early round-up time, just underway in the high country

Lumber Poetry

Plywood, Plywood on the wall

Who’s the fairest of them all?

OK, so it won’t make the weekend literary section.  But when I came across this link connecting me to politics and poetry, it got me searching for lumber poets.  So far I haven’t found’em.  Meantime, maybe some new lines will reveal themselves.  For a few days though – ’til Monday at least – the only lines this corner will be concentrating on will be the ones aimed at getting the attention of Mellin Lake trout.

Summer Run

While it’s unclear where lumber markets go from here, the sockeye salmon are off and running.  Fishing opened Thursday on the Fraser River as the sockeye return to spawn in the annual “early summer” run.  After barely one million sockeye returned in 2009, a whopping 34 million returned in 2010, a number not seen since 1913!  What will happen this year?  Most recent estimates are at four million, though that number may climb to seven million.  After BC’s commercial sockeye salmon fishery closed on the Fraser from 2006 through 2009 due to depleted stocks, it appears the numbers are normalizing.  Good news!