Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Usk Ferry, Usk, British Columbia

Usk has two parts to it on either side of the Skeena River. It started on the north side of the Skeena River due to the railroad. There has been a ferry operating here since 1913. Many years ago Usk used to be bigger, flooding in 1936 and 1948 destroyed most of the town. When the highway was built it was constructed along the south side of the river which further affected the town.

The ferry only holds two cars and is an on demand ferry. It is a reaction ferry meaning the current pushes it across. On the other side there is no place to go, the road ends. A few people live on the other side and the railway is on the north side. When the river is too rough to cross or during winter there is a cable car to take passengers across the river.

I have been on this ferry several times as a kid when I lived in Terrace during my elementary school years. My father loved to gather up the family and go for a drive when he had the time. A lot of times we would go from Terrace to Cedarvale which was a truck stop (and nothing else) where dad would stop for pie and coffee. The odd thing about Cedarvale was there was a wall inside with numerous accident photos of highway trucks. Dad was always on the lookout for a place that served good pie, raisin pie being a favourite. The one and only building that was Cedarvale is no longer a functioning business and looks abandoned. Usk would be along the way and sometimes we would take the ferry.

The Skeena River always unnerved me as a child. My memories of it that stick out are when it would be spring, the river would be high from runoff, it would be a muddy brown and the water would be turbulent. The Skeena River would flood sections of Terrace some years. One year several highway bridges along Highway 16 outside of Terrace were washed out. Even when the Skeena River was calm I always felt a bit apprehensive since I knew how destructive it could be.

South side of the Skeena River looking north.



North ferry landing off in the distance.



Steps up to the cable car on the south ferry terminal.

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