Last year was my summer of kayaking, this year it’s canoeing. I’ve been out twice in a canoe in the last few weeks, spending Memorial Day on Iowa’s Maquoketa River (a Mississippi tributary) and a few weeks ago I paddled down the Nechako River (a Fraser River tributary) near Prince George.
My time in Prince George, with Bruce Hawkenson, a Prince George Sports Hall of Fame inductee and veteran marathon canoe racer, rekindled my love of the activity and helped me write an article for FestivalSeekers about the history of the region that can be experienced from the water.
Paddling Through Prince George History
“All of our area has a history of travel by canoe,” Hawkenson told me between paddle strokes. “They tried doing it by riverboat, but the rivers are strong, and there are rapids.” Hawkenson explained that the Hudson’s Bay Company first established their fur trading post at Fort St James, which by way of the Stuart River, connects with the Nechako. Another trading post was set up in Prince George at Fort George Park (now Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park).