Kitsault River, Alice Arm

Kitsault River, Alice Arm

by | Apr 21, 2019

The Kitsault River is located at the head of Alice Arm, which is the northeastern arm of Observatory Inlet, British Columbia. The name Kitsault is derived from the Nisga’a language, which means “at the inside”. Three communities are located near the mouth of the Kitsault River, the former boat landing of Alice Arm, the molybdenum mining town of Kitsault, and the Nisga’a community of Gits’oohl.

Alice Arm is an abandoned settlement and steamship landing, named for the Alice Arm of Observatory Inlet. The name was conferred in 1868 by Captain Daniel Pender in honor of Alice Mary Tomlinson (née Woods), who traveled with her husband immediately after their wedding day in 1868 on a 24-day journey from Victoria to Kincolith in a Haida canoe.

The community of Alice Arm supported the operations of the Dolly Varden Mine. In 1910, rich silver deposits were discovered by four Scandinavian prospectors, Ole Evindsen, Ludwig Eik, Ole Pearson, and E. Carlson, in the middle section of the Kitsault River watershed, about 14 miles (23 km) north of the head of Alice Arm. The discoveries, called the Dolly Varden claims, proved to be exceptionally rich in pyrite, galena, silver ore, and native silver. The name ‘Dolly Varden’ comes from the heroine of the Dickens’ novel Barnaby Rudge. A narrow-gauge railway was built that ran for 16 miles (26 km) from tidewater to the mine site, enabling the mining company to transport equipment and supplies to the mine, and ore from the mine to a loading dock on Alice Arm for shipment to a smelter. In 1919, the Taylor Mining Company took over both the Dolly Varden Mine and the railroad. Dolly Varden produced 1.3 million ounces (36,854 kg) of silver. In the mid-1940s, the railway was replaced by a road. Today the prospects are still active but with limited activity. Read more here and here. Explore more of Alice Arm here:

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