Return to main Vanishing B.C. page Return to home page
Page last updated February 17, 2009
© Michael Kluckner
|Port Clements is the third largest town on Graham Island. Masset and Queen Charlotte City, at the north and south of the island respectively, are the main towns. If you enter Masset Sound from Dixon entrance, and pass by the beach with the wrecked fishboat at Old Masset, you pass southward along a narrow channel like a river and emerge into Masset Inlet, which seems like a lake except it's salt water, its edges rocky and choked with kelp. There is a sawmill with a quaint old beehive burner next to the village of Port Clements with, as its neighbour, the Kumdis River Lodge; southwest of Port Clements at Juskatla is another big logging operation.|
This old boat, moored permanently on the waterfront at Kumdis River Lodge, is an old Prince Rupert ferry, or . . . ? I gather it's used for some of the entertainment for lodge patrons, which is part of the very high-end Langara Lodge operations.
Note from Jasmine Erin Ryland, 2009: I regret to inform you that the Langara I burnt down on Christmas Eve 2008. I myself am on the Port Clements Volunteer Fire Department and we were called out at about 10:30am I believe. The fire had been burning for some time before that since the kitchen end of the boat was completely engulfed when I arrived at 11:00am. Just thought that you might like to know this. Very beautiful painting of the boat. It may be gone but the memories are still there.
Note from Bob Turnbull, Langara Lodge: The green boat you refer to is also used as a dining facility, hosting holiday and company functions, for meetings, dinners and with larger groups as accommodations as well. Known as the "Langara I" it was utilized inthe 80's as our lodge, guests and staff quarters, dining and lounge facility at Langara Island. As we grew and built "Langara II" our main lodge at Langara Island the original facility became our dining facility and crew quarters through until 2001. Every year the "Langara I" would moore for the winter at Kumdis. We have since built a new dining facility for Langara and the "Langara I" is know a permanent fixture at Kumdis. Before we purchased her she was known as the "Samson IV", she served on the Fraser River until the late 30's doing a number of jobs including snag puller, dredger and pile driver. She was sold and ended up on the north coast operating in the commercial fishing industry before being re-fitted for Langara.
Notes gleaned from the Samson V Marine Museum page: Samson IV was built by Edward Mercer in New Westminster. Launched in 1924, she was slightly smaller than Samson III, but identical in structure, and she brought with her the engines and boiler from Samson III (which came from Samson II). Samson IV was given even more diversified jobs than her predecessors. Added to her list of duties were icebreaking, dragging for boulders, piledriving, towing scows and taking tidal gauge readings. She served on the Fraser River until she was sold in 1937, but many of her components were preserved and used in the building of Samson V.
Port Clements is a cheery little town in a sheltered spot without, I suppose, the dramatic "west-coast" look of other spots on the Charlottes/Haida Gwaii. It was named in 1913 for Herbert Clements, M.P., by townsite owner Elias Tingley [Dalzell, QCI vol. 2 p. 399] There are some interesting old buildings but I was most taken by the tableau of essential elements: a dramatic tree (albeit a non-native oak), golden in the October sunlight, a modest cottage and a spiffy pickup truck, along the main street. (To the right is an auto repair place, which I had to visit as my beater, from Rustic Rentals in Queen Charlotte City, had blown a tire on the gravel road to Juskatla.
The oak is in a way reminiscent of the famous golden spruce tree a few miles away--a botanical freak that was cut downin 1997 in an astonishing act of vandalism. The Gwaii Haanas site describes Port Clements and the tree: "Small logging town offering basic services and accommodations. They had 2 major setbacks a few years ago. The rare Golden Spruce was cut down by a lunatic and the even rarer White Raven was electrocuted in a accident. There is a small museum of logging history." See also the EXN story and the letter by Guy Dauncey.