Tag Archives: Von Donop Inlet

Early Logging on Cortes Island and Vicinity: Local History with Lynne Jordan

Lynne Jordan has contributed to historical booklets available at the Cortes Island Museum and is currently researching the history of early logging activity in Whaletown.

In the course of an extensive 3-part interview, Lynne draws on original documents, archives, and oral histories to paint a picture of early settler loggers on Cortes — their equipment, their floating camps, the economy in which some prospered and some failed.

The logging community was always a really mixed bag… Much of the logging was done by hand. Some of it using horses.

Logging was not a good way to get rich.

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Success: The search for Western Screech Owls on Cortes Island

Up until now, there have not been any reports of Western Screech Owls on Cortes Island since 2017. That just changed a few weeks ago in the island’s more remote northern forest. 

Field biologist Sabina Leader Mense reports, “I was sitting in the skiff with my husband Dennis, under an unbelievably brilliant sky of stars. It was the last station of the night, pushing midnight, and in the 16th minute of that 17 minute call playback sequence, I heard something. I remember pivoting around in the boat. The sound was behind me and you do what owls do, you turn around.  I think your ears and the muscles and your ears cup and you’re just straining to hear something. Then I heard the call again. It was very distant, but I recognized it was an owl. I began analyzing the audio disks in my head going, ‘is it a Northern Pygmy Owl? Is it a Northern Saw-Whet Owl?’ As I was doing this, it called the third time and I recognized it was a Western Screech Owl.”  

Continue reading Success: The search for Western Screech Owls on Cortes Island

Search for the elusive Western Screech Owl

In 2021, the Friends of Cortes Island received funding from the Habitat Stewardship Program to seek out the elusive Western Screech Owls. This research is being guided by the Pacific Megascops Research Alliance, and biologists from the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship are part of the team. The first season was spring 2022. 

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When fishing was an industry in Whaletown

A great many fisherfolk once worked out of Whaletown. The Cortes Island Museum’s list goes back to the 1930s, at which point there were 7 men and a woman. Three of them used rowboats. 

“There used to be a huge fleet rafted out, both six and seven abreast all along  both sides of the dock, in Whaletown.  In the last 10 years or so, there’s only been three or four boats in there, fishing. The main one  that I know of in the last little while is the ‘C-Fin,’ but he goes outside of the Vancouver Island area and fishes tuna. When he comes back he doesn’t sell it to a fisheries, he sells it from the dock, and the same with his prawns.  So he’s not using a middle man to sell his products, which I suppose is one of the few ways you could make a little bit of money now,“ said Lynne Jordan, former President of the Cortes Island Museum, in the latest instalment of her history of Whaletown.

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Birth of Whaletown as a community abt. 1885-1914

Whaletown may get its name from an old whaling station, but Europeans really did not settle in the area for another 15 years or so. In today’s program Lynne Jordan, former President of the Cortes Island Museum, traces the modern community back to a logger named Moses Ireland.

First Nations people were using Whaletown Bay before that and a fish trap is believed to have once stretched across the entrance of the lagoon.

The whalers came for 18 months, in 1869 and 70.

“It wasn’t very many years after the whaling station left, in the mid 1880s,  that Moses Ireland moved into the area as a logger and set up camp where the whale station had been,” explained Jordan.

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