Page 11 - The Valley Vibe Magazine Spring 2020
P. 11

Exploring the Alberni Valley  ExploringExploring the Alberni Valley Exploring the Alberni

     by local artists, Alicia LaRue (Winddiva) and Alana Orr,   Two of the four ships, The Blue and The Rusty, were sunk
     one depicting the story of the Canal Beach evolution and   in the China Creek Marina. Before the ships were sunk,
     the other depicting the windy activities along the Alberni   visitors were invited to explore the ships, as a public
     Inlet.                                                   awareness project to highlight just how terrible the living
                                                              conditions were. The ships were sunk in 2001 and now
     The beach offers a waterfront park with a panoramic      home a giant octopus, Dungeness crabs, the occasional
     backdrop of the busy Alberni Harbour. Ideal for the entire  wolf eel, and various species of fish and anemones.
     family; walk along the beach, throw a frisbee, or head out   Visitors can dive down to the ships and witness this
     into the water for a paddle. The perfect place to cool down  beautiful artificial reef. With the mountains and forests
     on a hot summer day.                                     surrounding China Creek Marina and ocean at your feet,
                                                              it has a deep sense of calm, relaxation and exploration.
                          Located just 20 minutes outside
                          of Port Alberni, down the bumpy
                          Franklin River Road, is home
                          to China Creek Marina, a
                          beautiful destination for fishing,                          Paper Mill Dam is located
                          water sports, camping, RVing, and                           on Paper Mill Road off of
                          hiking.                                                     Falls Street. In 1892, British
                                                                                      Columbia’s first paper mill was
                          China Creek is rich in history;                             built on the Paper Mill Dam site
                          starting with gold mining around                            on the Somass River. Paper was
     1862 with small placer-mines, worked primarily by                                produced between 1894 and
     Chinese men searching for “flour” gold. A placer gold-   1895, but due to heavy expenses and poor equipment, the
     deposit is formed by the natural concentration of eroded   mill was unable to continue running and closed down.
     gold-bearing rocks, the process of mining this gold was   In 1915 the dam itself was destroyed to allow schools of
     principally done using a “shoe-rocker” which separated   salmon to continue up the Somass River to their natural
     the gravel from gold. In the summer of 1999 four         spawning grounds.
     Chinese vessels crossed onto Canadian Seas, carrying
     approximately 600 illegal immigrants. Most immigrants    Now, the Paper Mill Dam Park is an ideal location to cool
     were sent home, but this event sparked the creation of one  off during the summer heat in the river, walk through the
     of Port Alberni’s most popular diving sites.             forest, and bask in Port Alberni’s natural beauty.

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