• Years:    July 12, 1911-1951 (left Powell River 1928)
  • Activity:  logging and railway at Myrtle Point, Paradise Valley and later Haslam Lake
  • People:    Bellingham lumberman Julius Bloedel; and two railway builders, Patrick Welch and John Stewart.


They leased logging rights on 10,000 acres (4046 hectares) of prime timber at Myrtle Point for $100,000, and logged under the direction of Sidney Smith, the logging superintendent..

4000 hectares is an area 8km by 5km. If you look at the map of their railway on the right you can see a possible leased area: from Myrtle Rocks up Paradise Valley, north of McLeod Road, through to Edgehill and down into the heart of Westview. (click for larger view)

Paradise Map2-PRRD-Annotated-96dpi800x600-xx They constructed Camp 1 at Myrtle Rocks, and Camp 2 where the creek from Hammil (West) Lake crosses Padgett Road.

They operated in Paradise Valley and westview from 1911-1918 using several logging locomotives.

In 1918 a large fire in Paradise Valley halted operations, and with the best wood gone, they bought the timber rights for the duck lake - haslam lake  operation of Straits Lumber Company.

They kept the Myrtle Rocks terminus and re-routed the railway along hwy 101 to Duck Lake Road, then to Duck lake with many spurs.

After logging there until 1928, the equipment and operation moved to Vancover Island


prpeak photo - CMTFirst Nations people logged the area very selectively, taking only what they needed in a very sustainable way. Evidence of Culturally Modified Trees abound in Powell River, mainly strips taken for baskets etc, but also art. 

Klahoose article here


Nick Hudema cabin - last hand loggerAfter european contact, when the boom created by the completion of the Pacific Railway was over in 1887, the logs from convenient locations near Vancouver were taken, and a huge demand from back east emerged. In the 1880's and 90's, independent loggers migrated up the coast and cut the old growth that was typically a few hundred feet up to half a mile from shore. Distance depended on the quality of trees and ease of skidding or rolling them to the water. Steep slopes were easiest, but most dangerous, and led to erosion later. Nick Hudema got the last hand logger licence (PRMuseum story)


 oxen teamTeams of oxen pulled timber to the waters edge or rail lines up until the first world war. 

Seven pairs of oxen, called the Bull team, pulling two logs. The peevee on the log in the background is for rolling the log if it gets hung up on one of the cross logs.

You can see the Bull puncher carrying his 'goad', or sharp rod, to prod the bulls.

In the 1890's, Hastings Mill had an oxen logging show at Lang Bay, near Powell River.


Anderson Steam DonkeyBy then, Steam Donkeys connected with spar poles had usually replaced the teams of oxen.

Steam power was introduced to logging operations in the early 1900's in the form of a small steam donkey that replaced bull teams and horses.

Steam donkey engines created the steam that powered winches. They were used to yard and load large logs from the woods to the railway landing. Some were very big, with several steam engines and single large boilers on one set of timber skids.  

Steam also powered other logging equipment such as steam shovels for road construction and steam locomotives to haul the logs by rail.

In the 1930's, steam donkeys were replaced by gas/diesel-powered machines. By the 1950's, steam had disappeared from the forests.

skid roadsLogs were moved in the bush on greased-log skid roads.

Most skid roads had logs laid across the direction of travel.  This one has the logs parallel to the travel.




kew"The toothpick" - 237 feet (72.2 meters)

Cut out of the Stillwater area on June 22, 1918.

It was four feet (1.2 m) at the butt and 14 inches (35 cm) at the top.>

It was sent to Kew Gardens, England, and erected in 1919 to replace a similar "toothpick" sent to Kew gardens in the mid 1800s from a Bloedel site. A third pole was sent in the 1970's.

Logging crews were employees of Brooks, Scanlon & O'Brien Co.




Shingle Mill Powell Lake 1910The Shingle Mill on Powell Lake was operating in 1910.


The 1923 map "Powell Lake"   shows very effectively where the timber claims were in the Powell River area.
1923 map Powell Lake

PowellRiverForestAreaThe "local" forest described in this website is the area bounded by Jervis inlet, Georgia Strait and Toba Inlet, plus the north-eastern islands of Georgia Strait. 

This area is almost identical to that of the Tla'amin Nation traditional territory, with small sections next to Jervis Inlet the Shíshálh (Sechelt) Nation, and on the west and north the Klahoose Nation.

The PRFHS web team acknowledges and respects the ancestral, traditional territory of the First Nations on whose territory we work, live and play.

This Forestry Heritage website attempts to record and celebrate the history of forest land stewardship shared by industry, government and First Nations.

Click for more information about our landscapes and watersheds; some Forestry management processes and forest recreation opportunities.

 Forest Ecology  Most of the local forest is in two ecology zones described nicely in brochures:

Forest Stewardship within the Powell River Forest is shared byTSA-tenure

BC Government for Parks and protected areas (several shown in light green)

City of Powell River and PR Regional District - BC Land held by them

Crown Land - Forest Tenures, with stewardship by the tenure holder, monitoring by MoF staffs and the Forest Practices Board

  • the dominant TFL 39 (Stillwater Timberlands), managed by WFP and predecessors since 1961
  •  our two Community Forests (Sliammon CF and Powell River CF) since 2008
  • Forest Woodlots, (Westlake Woodlands and Tla'amin)
  •  Pacific Timber Supply Area, shown blue with brown border to the right; with stewardship by BC Timber Sales, since 2012
  • Sunshine Coast Timber Supply Area  (crown land not in area-based  tenures), managed by the Duncan street office. SC TSA website contains timber supply analysis and AAC rationale):
    • other areas charted to BC Timber Sales
    • forest licences, firewood licences etc.

Privately owned land

  • Tla'amin First Nations, about 8000 hectares, including 6000 hectares Treaty Settlement Lands effective April 2016,
  • Managed Forests
    • Island Timberlands

 Forest Access

Sunshine Coast Natural Resource District Access maps 

WFP access map   









to be written

Some local trucks on a Doug Lucas site

Video from 2007




high rigger brooks scanlonThe years 1924 - 1928 saw old-growth logging at its heyday in the Powell River area. In addition to many small "gyppo" outfits, three big outfits were taking enormous quantities of old growth timber.

Brooks, Scanlon and O'Brien were well through their 1.5 million cubic meters of Douglas fir and cedar from Stillwater through the Horseshoe River Valley, until the big fire swept through the Horseshoe area in July. Their railway had 30 miles of track, four engines, and 112 cars.

Another big operation owned by Ring and Merrill was in its third year on the Theodosia River, with six locomotives and many miles of track.

Bloedel, Stewart and Welch operated 24 miles of track and five camps between Myrtle Point, Haslam Lake, and east of Duck Lake.

We've linked to  a series of photos from the B.C. Archives website taken in 1926 by photographer H.W. Roozeboom. Most are from the Stillwater operation, but some are from Theodosia.

 His 1926 collection included many shows on Vancouver Island as well as the Powell River area.

These Roozeboom photos went to BC archives from the Powell River Museum Archives; check locally for print-quality photos.

See links to some of Roozeboom's local collection below

More historical photos here

 high rigger at workLogging in a new area began with a high rigger preparing a spar tree. (from a Brooks,  Scanlon, O'Brien location).
brooks scanlon rigger
 Then the fallers would do their work with handsaws. (Chainsaws didn't make their appearance until the 40's.)
 The "high lead" system (cables suspended from spar trees and special pulley blocks) reduced damage to the logs and terrain. The steam donkey and crawler tractor assisted crews to get the felled, trimmed and bucked logs to the railway loading point.
donkey crew brooks scanlon
 The yard crew loaded the logs onto skeleton cars on the railway.
Both the Brooks Scanlon and Theodosia shows used similar techniques
the train crews at Theodosia and Brooks Scanlon also looked similar
 The #4 Shay with its offset boiler and gearing on the right side
 Turf to Surf.  The logs reached water either by log dump or chute
 Pond cews got the logs or shingle bolts ready for towing

Then the logs were towed to mills.


That concludes our links to the Roozeboom collection, as seen from the spar tree preparation through felling, yarding, loading onto trains, dumping into ponds, and towing.










As time permits, summaries of local logging companes will be written.

For companies of the Railroad Logging era, information of the company can appear in the
Railroad description.