Wednesday, September 21, 2005

September 3, 2005

Originally uploaded by Au_Kalan.
I walk around Oona River just poking my nose around old boat workshops, lumber mills and meeting the people of Oona. It was my lucky day, it was River Festival Day and there was a big celibration down at the river. Taco lunch, kids games, fish counting and a duck race. You could pick your “duck”, a float from an old fishing line that was painted bright colors, and enter it in the race. All the “Ducks” would be dumped in the river upstream and then would float down to the finish line. Almost the whole town was there, I counted 33 people. Everyone was so warm and friendly, I had a great time.

Many members of the founding families of the Oona River settlement were Scandinavian homesteaders who were recruited to live in the Northwest in the early 1900s. At its peak, the tight-knit community had more than 100 residents and 25 homes. Until the 1970s, fishing and forestry provided a stable economic base that supported the rural lifestyle preferred by its residents.

Originally uploaded by Au_Kalan.

Oona River's population is now about 35. In addition to "old timers", it continues to attract new residents who take pleasure in the lifestyle. A number of mainland families own residences in the community, travelling to Oona River on weekends, holidays and during the summer months. "Oona" is considered to be an especially great place for children, providing a safe, secure environment where they may experience freedom and independence and a sense of family and community.
The Setting
The community of Oona River is situated on the lee side of Porcher Island in a well-protected harbour at the mouth of the Oona River. It faces eastward, looking over Ogden Channel toward the Skeena River. Twice a day the view is dramatically altered with the changing of the tide. As the water drops, stone fishing weirs used by Aboriginal fishers, perhaps as many as 5000 years ago, are revealed, offering proof that the river has long supported prolific salmon runs and helped to sustain the people of the coast.
The community is set in the spectacular oceanic waterway known as the Inside Passage, plied by cruise ships and recreational sailors, alike. Sheltered coastal inlets, pristine islands, and abundant fish and wildlife draw sightseers and visitors from near and far.

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