Trails

cape scott.jpgNorth Coast Trail

The Cape Scott Trail can be accessed from Port Hardy. The Holberg Road, off Hwy 19, just south of the Town of Port Hardy, is the access point for the Cape Scott Trail. A land shuttle service can be arranged from Port Hardy. www.nothcoasttrailshuttle.com

You then follow the road to the San Josef Bay parking lot where the trail begins. This trail takes you to the junction with the new North Coast Trail that continues along the northern coast of Vancouver Island, along beautiful beaches and low elevation trails through the forest. You can also arrive by water taxi from Port Hardy.

There are two different companies that service this area.  1. Cape Scott Water Taxi, 2.  Catala Charters. They will bring you to  Shushartie Bay entrance to the park. This route will take you along the north coast of Vancouver Island until you reach the junction with the Cape Scott Trail. The second half of this journey takes you down the Cape Scott trail until you reach the San Josef Bay parking lot. North Coast Trail Shuttle can meet you and return you to Port Hardy if you haven’t made other arrangements.

History of Cape Scott

A chance visit to Cape Scott by two halibut fishermen more than 100 years ago, who sought a goose or duck for dinner, sparked European settlements there.

Rasmus Hansen and N.P. Jensen found two streams choked with migrating salmon in 1894, and a huge area suitable for pasture, and they had visions of a Danish settlement.

Hansen returned in 1895 with three others – Peter Thomson, Nels C. Nelson and Chris Jensen – and they proposed a settlement to the BC government. They hoped to bring 15 settlers the first year and have 75 by the turn of the century.

The settlers wanted to do mixed farming and fish, and asked for a dyke at Goose Harbour to protect their fields and a road to Quatsino Sound, so they could move goods to market.

A severe storm provided a windy welcome to the first settlers in 1897, who lost their anchor and dory and piled on the rocks. Despite that, the wave of settlers continued.

Cape Scott Co-operative Store opened in 1897, with settlers buying shares for $10.

Trails were built as far as Shushartie, on the sheltered side of Vancouver Island near Port Hardy. Corduroy roads, some still existing, were used where the ground was soft and damp.

The first baby born was Bende Dorthea Rasmussen, on July 8, 1898, and the first order of school supplies arrived two weeks later. The first teacher was Carl B. Christensen, who adopted three boys so the community could have a school.

The first dyke was built in 1899, but the gates were washed out by the first high tide. The second dike was finished in 1905, and a wagon could be driven across at high tide.

The community had its first wedding in 1907 – with pictures showing Theodore Frederiksen and Johanne Jensen in front of the Danish flag, an American flag and the Union Jack – but the steamer stopped calling at Fisherman’s Bay that year.

The store closed in 1909, with goods being sold to West Arm store at what would become Holberg.

In 1913, the federal government extended its telephone-telegraph as far as Cape Scott. That same year, seven miles of promised road were built toward Fisherman’s Bay from Holberg, but it would never be finished.

The air force set up a radar station from 1942 to 1945, which closed at the end of WW II. A dozen families moved to Cape Scott to live in the barracks after that, but it was not the Utopia they thought.  A great many of the airmen transferred from the air training facilities in Bend, Oregon near the Cascades mountains.

The first light at Cape Scott was an acetylene flame, replaced by battery power a few years later. The lighthouse was built in 1959. Cape Scott became a provincial park in 1973, with just over 37,000 acres included at the start.