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Logging the Wood and Long (Kalamalka) lakes’ littoral

McCarthy's load of logs
McCarthys’ load of logs1

At the turn of the century Johnston & Carswell operated a sawmill at the north end of Long (Kalamalka) Lake. When the canal was completed in 1908 the Winfield Flats were logged and the logs hauled to the shore of Wood Lake along what became Bottom Wood Lake Road. The logs were piled on to the frozen lake and at breakup they descended into the water.

Booming logs
Log booms2

From there they were boomed and transported the length of Wood Lake, through the newly-opened canal and on to the sawmill. The McCarthy family was active in this business.

As years passed more logging occurred around the lakes, including on the plateau called Lumby Flats on the east side of Kalamalka (Moses Lumby, the government agent from Vernon was the first owner of this property but on his death the land was acquired by Price Ellison). Ken Ellison writes:

South of the rocky point on the east side of Geer Bay there was a steep log trough running from the field above to Long (Kalamalka) Lake. I suspect it was pre-WWI. Some of the  logs were driven into the lake with such force that they looked like piles and are still there today. The tug the Maud Allan towed the boomed logs to the Johnston & Carswell mill at the north end. In the 1930s on the west side of the First Lake plateau they cleared a swath (a couple of hundred feet wide) from the flat to Kalamalka Lake. They hauled the logs to the edge of the flat and turned them loose over the bank to roll into the lake.3

Harry Gibbons logged for the McCarthys4 in that operation. One day he rowed over to the H.B. Thomson residence on the west side of Kalamalka to borrow a tool and there he met Orma Thomson, who he later married.

NB: in a previous post Guest Blogger Ian Pooley describes the Johnston and Carswell log chutes as well as other logging chutes in the area. See Logging Chutes in Lake Country.

1 Photograph from the McCarthy Family Album at the Lake Country Museum and Archives.
2 Photograph #2010000017 from the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives.
3 Ken Ellison, correspondence February 2016.
4 More information on the McCarthys’ logging operations is available on this website in the article Logging the Winfield Flats.

Family photographs are very important historical documents and readers are urged to place them in the archives to protect them for the community. Please contact the Lake Country Museum and Archives if you have family photographs that you wish to donate. The Museum staff can make digital copies if you would like to have your photographs returned.


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