British Columbia Lake & River Service
and the Crow Boat Service (4 of 6)

A-00075   The tug and barge service on Kootenay Lake made use of the large tugs Ymir (1899), Procter (1900), Valhalla (1901), and Hosmer (1909) and three-track railcar barges. The barges were over 200 feet (61 m) long and could carry 15 or 16 freight cars. Large transfer slips were built at Nelson and Kootenay Landing to move the railcars on and off the barges. In 1901, the tracks were extended from Nelson to Procter at the mouth of the West Arm of Kootenay Lake where another transfer slip was constructed. In severe winter conditions, the West Arm could freeze over making navigation very difficult and sometimes dangerous.

The completion of the three large sternwheelers marked the high point of the Lake & River Service. Although traffic in the years following the First World War and the 1920s remained brisk it did not stretch the capacity of the Lake & River Service and no new sternwheelers were built. A new tug, the Granthall was built in 1928 but no other significant vessels except for steel barges were constructed. By the late 1920s, with an outlook of increased traffic over the railway, construction finally began on the trackage along the shore of Kootenay Lake between Procter and Kootenay Landing. Opened on January 1, 1931, the railway brought about the retirement of the Crow Boat service between Nelson and Kootenay Landing and the tug and barge service from Procter to the south end of the lake.

After that, only the Moyie and the new tug Granthall were retained on Kootenay Lake. All the other steam vessels were scrapped except for the Nasookin which was leased and then sold to the Provincial Government for use as a ferry across Kootenay Lake connecting the road system along Kootenay Lake. The Nasookin operated between Gray Creek and Fraser Landing until 1947 when it was replaced by the new diesel-powered ferry Anscomb. The Moyie continued to serve the communities on the northern shores of Kootenay Lake for nearly another 30 years before finally being retired in April 1957. By that time, roads had been built to nearly all communities in the area and the steamer service was no longer justified. A barge service operated by a charter company using the diesel tug Melinda Jane continued to serve Kaslo, Lardeau and Riondel until 1977.

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