Low Lake Level Reveals a Thriving Forest Industry of the Past

Log Ramp and Tree Stumps

The water level of the Arrow Lakes is always at its lowest at spring time to make room for the run-offs later in May and June. That is when the snow in the mountains begins to melt. If the season is accompanied by very warm weather and heavy long-lasting rains, then we can expect the rivers and creeks to turn into raging torrents causing wide-spread destruction. Before the lake was dammed up in 1967 and large tracts of fertile agricultural land were flooded, Fauquier’s prosperity relied primarily on the forest industry. It provided work and income for the local residents. In the 1940’s the area around the two branches of Pin Creek and Taite Creek formed the basis for a large logging operation employing many people. The loggers often lived in camps, as the distance was too large for the daily round trip to and from home. The cheapest way to ship the logs to the log mills was to haul them down to the lake, where they would roll down the log ramps into the water. Tug boats would then pull the log booms down to Castlegar for processing. This year the lake level was much lower than normal due to maintenance and repair of marinas, boat docks and other recreational facilities along the lake shore.

Today I went for a walk along the beach and took some pictures of one of the log ramps that is usually submerged as a result of the building of the Keenleyside Dam some 30 km south of Fauquier. The ramp and the tree stumps are now a relic of the past and stand in stark contrast of the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains, scenery and the beaches of the Arrow Lakes.

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