Catherine: Ok, we’re recording now, it’s April the 29th and I’m here at Neal Erhorn’s place out on Tachik Lake off of the Kenney Dam Road and Bob Erhorn’s gonna give me an idea of how his family ended up here and how his folks landed in this area homesteading.
Bob: OK... my Dad Bill Erhorn was the first settler out in the area they call Greer Valley, that’s from, that’d be the area south of the Telegraph Road and south of Bear... Stretches all the way to the upper Nechako River. Now, nowaday’s it’s mostly called Kenney Dam Road but it used to be that the old country was called Greer Valley. Anyway he came here with, he had another man with him, by the name of Fred Wright and they, they stopped at Sinkut Lake.
Neal: You should start the… start it off from Ashcroft with four horse...
Bob: Yeah, they started off from Ashcroft with a four horse team and wagon and they came up, all the way up the Cariboo Road and then got to Quesnel, then they came up the Telegraph Road. Right through by Bobtail Lake, Graveyard Lake Mapes and they stopped at Sinkut Lake and looked around a bit but they couldn’t find nothin’ so they, then went on to Fort Fraser. Dad looked around there. He said “the land was already had been taken most of it”. One day he met, he talked to a Indian you know about land and one thing’er another. And he didn’t know anything about the country but he knew he had four horses. He knew he had to find hay for his horses for the winter... You know cut some hay. So this Indian he said “I show you meadow”. So he took Dad out there where... where I live now. There was no road that time, I think it was a bit of a pack trail in from Bear Head but that’s all there was. So he saw the meadow but then he tried to get that at the time it was already somebody in England owned it. So then he filed on a quarter right next to it that had quite a bit of Willow bottom on it and it was cleared later. He filed on that. You filed on a homestead you know. And I think you had to pay, you had to clear a certain amount, maybe... I’m not sure...maybe 20 acres... put it in cultivation, under cultivation and then I think you had to pay $200 and then you got your title.
Catherine: What year would that have been?
Neal: You should mention that he cut the first road in here.....
Bob: Yeah I’m going to. He cut from the end of Tachick Lake here, out here, he cut a road across to the place. All he had was one axe, one of’em would cut the stuff and the other one would throw it out, it took’em four days... long days in June. It took’em four days to get there with the road. Then they built a cabin and I know he said he put peeled spruce, spruce made a roof from spruce bark. And then the other guy he pulled out. Fred Right he pulled out he didn’t want to stay. So Dad stayed then and… and started to clear land. Then he... that was indecently, that was 1911. That was three years before the railroad was completed through you know. That was completed in 1914, this is to Fort Fraser. One crew came from Jasper, one from Prince Rupert and that’s where they met.
Anyway, but before the railroad was built there was a store, a Hudson Bay store there, actually it was at Fraser Lake. You know they called it Fort Fraser. And you could get some things there but not everything so all the settlers at that time used to make a trip to Quesnel, two trips a year, once in the winter and once in the summer. Which took about three weeks to make a round trip, they’d probably stay two days in Quesnel you know to buy what they wanted and then go back. Then after the railroad was completed they could… Fort Fraser built up pretty fast then. You know there was stores and restaurants and hotels and... at the same time Vanderhoof started. They didn’t start ‘til after the railroad went through. There was nothing there, nothing at all...in Vanderhoof. But they built up quite fast after that, after the railroad went through.
Anyway, Dad worked there clearing land. It was all done by hand then. You know with axe and grub hoe. And he got one cow bought in Stoney Creek. The people in Stoney Creek had some cattle, then, a few cattle. He bought a cow and a calf, that’s how he got started in cattle. Anyway he built up and after a while he had a bit of a herd of a cattle and he also trapped a bit in the winter... You know ... around. And that’s the way... After a while though he got... he had some Galloway cattle and they were so wild he got rid of them and then he had mostly short horns after that. Black Galloway cattle were so wild that he couldn’t handle them. But it was quite a story behind that too but I’m not goin’ to get into that. About one day... one time when they made a drive into Vanderhoof. They got the cattle there but he had quite a bit of help too, but they got’em into the stock yards but the stock yards were already full and so they just had’em in the...in the lane way there and they tried to hold’em there but they held them there for fifteen minutes and then they just took off...they went back up the hill. And part way up the hill Dr. Stone, that was the doctor here then came down the hill with a Model-T car you know. They never seen a car in their lives, they just scattered you know...all over the country. Took’em a long time to get’em home again. Some never got home. Some ... I think he butchered at Stoney Creek that were held up there.
Anyway, then he got shorthorn cattle after that. He also had a few milk cows you know, used to make butter. That was before he was married, of course, he worked there... he stayed...he run the place for twelve years before he got married and then my mother came over from Germany and they got married and then he kept on with it...with the cattle. He used to sell hay, too, baled hay for... the logging camps around Prince George. They used horses then for logging. They had lots of horses. And shipped feed down there and got pretty good price for it. And anyway he kept on and then I was born in 1924, they were married in 1923. I was born in 1924, my brother Walter I think in 1926 and Neal in 1927. So they kept on then and the Depression came it was hard goin’. But we never... We always had enough to eat. We never were, never went hungry but we didn’t have much else. There was no school, you know where we could go, so we took corresponding lessons from Victoria. We’d do our lessons, send them away, and then they would look’em over and then make any corrections or whatever was necessary to do, send’em back. And that is the way we got our education. So I don’t know where to go from here.
Catherine: When, when did you guys start working on the property with your Dad, I mean you worked on the farm all the time right then?
Bob: We did, when we..... even before... even, you know before we were growin’ up we always worked you know at something. And Neal remember, I think it was the late 1930’s we started clearin’ the land with an axe you know and grub hoe and I remember the first year we really went at it we cleared four acres. The next year we done eight acres, we thought that really was good, it was... we cleared it, piled it, burned it and plowed it up you know with horses. So...
Catherine: For more hay to sell or for your own cattle?
Bob: Yeah, more feed yeah.
Catherine: So were you selling hay or were you using it for your own cattle?
Bob: By that time we were using it all for ourselves. By that time we had a bunch of milk cows too... milk cows and we...First my mother made butter, sold it in the stores in Fort Fraser, also eggs, she had quite a lot of chickens and sold eggs you know to stores in Fort Fraser but after a while that played out too. So then we got a cream separator, I think it was in the late 30’s, then shipped cream to Prince George creamery. That worked out all right. It was a bit of income you know, they paid every couple weeks, worked out pretty good. We had a good place to keep it. We had a spring there, well I still have the spring and it had a house over it. We keep the cream in a box, flat box, kept the cream in the water there you know you could keep it sweet for five or six days. If it was... There was three grades you know you got for the cream, there was special that was the best and then there was number one, that wasn’t bad and then there was number two, maybe it turned sour then you know.
Catherine: So did you guys do your own trades when you got old enough to do other work, were you out trapping or hunting or...?
Bob: Oh yeah, we trapped a little bit and then later we made railway ties. You know with a broad axe. You ever hear of that? Ties?
Catherine: Making ties. Yeah that seemed to be big thing here.
Bob: It was.
Catherine: When would that have been?
Bob: Well I think I... I was 20 years old when I started the first... I worked for somebody at Engen. A guy by the name of Bert Monroe then I worked for myself after that. That would have been, I think when I started, 1945. And I made ties for 16 years straight, every winter. That was, I think it was 1961 when they didn’t take anymore, they had to be sawed, so that was it. Neal worked at it different times too quite a bit.
Neal: Quite a few winters. I don’t know, I was pretty young when I started. We made pretty fair money at it. At that time it was one of the better things to do.
Bob: In fact I think you could make more money in a day, then you could doin’ anything just about. It was hard work.
Neal: Yeah the only real problem was sometimes you couldn’t get big enough contracts, ‘cause there was too many guys wanted to make ties. No work you know.
Neal: But, we usually got a thousand, two thousand... could do all right on…
Bob: By the time, like ah during the depression they were a poor price you know. Well not that bad I guess, really because a dollar was worth something then, about I think 50 cents for the number ones and then there was a number two. I think it was 32 cents if I remember right and then number three was hardly worth anything but there wasn’t many number threes. You try to get as many number ones as possible, but like when we were makin’ ‘em. What were they worth about a dollar then...or somethin’ like that?
Neal: Ahhh not right at first I guess they went up to a dollar and then they went even higher before they shut it down...the human ties. Yeah I think...I can’t remember what the last couple years or so got...it was more than a dollar.
Bob: But let’s say they were worth a dollar and you made thirty, thirty five ties a day, well that, let’s see, $35 well that time that was lots of money...
Catherine: So where would you get the actual trees from? Whose property would that be?
Bob: No, you would get the...you would go to the Forestry and apply for... that time for a quarter section... that’s the way they did it then. Nowadays they do it different they... wherever the timber is you take a block and...which is a better way I think... it was a whole quarter. There was a lot of area they didn’t have any you know...timber that would make ties. Because that’s the way we did it, we’d apply for a quarter section of timber and then they’d come out and cruise it for whatever there was on it and then you had maybe two years or so, two or threes years to take off the timber.
Catherine: And where would you take it... to Vanderhoof?
Bob: No we used to haul to... well when my Dad was making it, making ties, he hauled it to Martin Lake with horses you know. Martin Lake is, used to be a station there, it’s like between...you know where Engen is?
Bob: Between Engen and Fort Fraser... ’bout halfway or so. Then when we were making... We hauled them out with the horses to the road you know and we got it truck hauled and then Neal after a while had his own truck and we hauled it with that.
Neal: Yeah but earlier there we got’em hauled to Engen and then later I hauled’em to Vanderhoof, I can’t remember just why. I guess because after they built the Kenney Dam Road the road was there.
Bob: I think so, I know we even when we when I got somebody to haul it they always, well first to Engen and then after a while to Vanderhoof.
Neal: That was only because better roads.
Bob: I think on account of the road, better road.
Neal: That old Greer Valley road was a pretty bad road.
Bob: Big hills and pretty bad sometimes but ah..... Indecently the, let’s see the Kenney Dam Road was built in 1951. That’s when they built it to the dam and then they built the Kenney Dam. So after that we had a better road.
Catherine: And you are still in that house now, Bob?
Bob: Yeah still live at that house there. Well not in the old cabin. I mean that...that was there before...gone as long as I can remember but I think Dad built that house I think in the early 1920’s maybe ‘21 or ‘22 somewhere in there. And it has a brick chimney in it, there was a had a cedar shingle roof on it but you know ice used to build up on it on the eves because the house is warm the water meltin’ and then sometimes it would start to leak a bit. And then later we put on aluminum, which everybody uses this corrugated iron now you know, we call it tin but that’s what it is, it’s corrugated iron but that’s aluminum. It’s similar you know. That’s what it has on it now. This house...you can tell all those houses that were built in the 1920’s they all have... you see that museum in Vanderhoof there?
Bob: You know those roofs... this way and that way..... that’s the way my house is built.
Catherine: With four...
Bob: Maybe that’s the way they built’em then..... ...
Catherine: Four sections?
Bob: Yeah. I mean the roof you know.
Bob: That’s the way they were built at the time.
Catherine: Mmmhmm and did you, on your property or further out... have ummmm guiding or hunting cabins as well?
Bob: No I was never in the hunting business but my brother Walter was and Neal helped him guide.
Neal: Yeah I guided for about 15 years.
Bob: And you did up north too for one year.
Neal: Tommy Walker.
Bob: Yeah, Tommy Walker at Coldfish Lake, that’s in the...what’s now the Spatsizi Park. They took horses out there, Walter and Neal you know a bunch of horses...saddle... well they had saddle horses, pack horses and a buncha horses out to that hunting outfit out at Tommy Walker’s.
Neal: Tommy Walker bought’em here in Vanderhoof...
Neal: ...and we took’em in, that was in June 1949. I was pretty young then yet.
Bob: How... how long did it take you?
Neal: Ohhh we had a bad trip...
Bob: Bad spring...
Neal: We had snow in the mountains yet, it was foggy and it should’ve only taken a month but we were six weeks. It’s about 400 miles and there was no road then it was all through the bush.
Bob: The only road...there was a road as far as Germansen then...
Bob: But there was no bridge across the river yet then was there...the Omineca River... No the other rivers you had you either ford or swim...
Neal: Well we had two, four, three more I guess major rivers and I think some more small ones but ahh it was a good trip for a couple of young guys who …. and we thought we were pretty tough that time and I guess we were. We enjoyed it. I don’t think I would anymore...
Catherine: Were you going there to go hunting or were you going there to deliver these horses?
Neal: Well we took the horses in and then I guided for Walker that fall...
Catherine: In that area?
Neal: Around the Spatsizi Park there. Out at Coldfish Lake at that time but they shut that camp down now... and ah they moved the outfit over to the main camp over to Laslui Lake that’s southeast of Coldfish..... You know we went back there ‘bout four years ago went through from Highway 37 and come out here on the North Road at...
I don’t know if you know where Sheddy(((())))? mines was up on the Toodoggone. The mine moved outta there now but they have road that far and we come through and hit that road and then hauled our horses home.
Catherine: So you were on horseback four years ago when you went through
Catherine: You were on horseback?
Neal: Oh yeah packhorses but the weather was pretty miserable, first 17 days, straight rain and high water and this place’s pretty dry country normally but it wasn’t that fall...so...
Bob: If it had been good weather it could have been a nice trip...
Neal: Oh it wasn’t bad anyway but it was kinda miserable raining all the time. But anyway we got through...
Catherine: So when you look at the surrounding areas around where the property you’re parents had for you and that you grew up on, how have you seen things change with the land and...?
Bob: Well right there it hasn’t changed... well we cleared more land and now it is the Kenney Dam Road and there’s another road that goes through my place there that goes to the Kluskus Road the cutoff road. But outside of that, that area right there hasn’t changed very much, the land is no good around it, it’s all rocky. But the surrounding country yes it seems, like the Telegraph Road here it used to be. You know from here through ‘til Fort Fraser except where you get close to Fort Fraser it was just a narrow track through the bush and now it’s mostly fields along the way or a lot of it was cleared land. You know people living there. Also along the Kenney Dam here there’s quite a bit of land been all opened up, cleared. So things have changed quite a bit. And another thing I should mention that is you know one time now you either have make pasture for your cattle or you have a range permit. You can turn’em out but you have to pay for that of course. One time it was all free range, you were just turn your cattle out and let’em go. One time we had all the, you could run our cattle all the way from Tachick Lake here to the Nechako River.
Catherine: And now how do you range your cattle, do you have cattle still?
Bob: Oh yes, mostly in pasture, all together in pastures but I still have a range permit but I can’t use it now, I’ve been dealin’ with the Forestry on it, have to build a drift fence so they can’t get away, a drift fence is just, what they call a drift fence is keep cattle from... into a ... keep cattle in a certain area like. I guess the forestry will build it but ...they’re not going to do until next year.
Anyway, it’s different than it used to be.
Catherine: How much property are you on, that you... ?
Bob: I think it’ 820 acres. But it’s not all in one place... see there was the homeplace there’s, I have two quarters there and then I couldn’t get anymore there so I got some along the Telegraph Road here. Also...well... another place there off the Kluskus or you can go in from the Telegraph Road access is just for growin’ hay.
Catherine: So do you sell all your cattle in Vanderhoof in the auctions?
Catherine: And how have the prices changed over the years?
Bob: Well yes they’ve been up and down, like for here a couple of years ago they were really bad but they came they were much better last fall and they’re still pretty good prices from right here, right now.
Catherine: So that’s pretty much how you’ve been making a living?
Bob: All together here late years. I haven’t worked in the bush for I guess 30 years.
Catherine: And what was the work that you were doing when you were in the bush?
Bob: Well ties and mostly a little bit, a few times in sawmills just worked you know but not that much.
Catherine: Do you still see quite a bit of wildlife on you property or is that less than it was?
Bob: A lot less than it used to be, we used to have lots of moose. In the winter time they would come in there and eat hay, well I didn’t mind that so much but now there’s just... well there was a few this winter again around but there’s other things around. There’s a few deer, I think the deer have increased a bit here in the late years. And then there was lots of wolves, there’s still wolves around and lots of coyotes of course and other animals too like bears and fur bearing animals.
Catherine: Do you still do a bit of trapping Neal?
Neal: Ahh a little bit. I did a little last winter but this winter fur prices were so bad, it just wasn’t worth it. I shot a few coyotes.
Bob: There’s too many around.
Neal: But we got a big trap line, Ella and I. There was a couple of guys that did a bit of trapping on it, they had nothing else to do and mine was handy to where they were. To make a few dollars I guess.
Catherine: Do you still have a guiding area as well?
Catherine: So just the trap line?
Neal: Yeah well I had a trap line some years ago, when I was building this place up, place got to be a full time job so I sold the trap line and a...I couldn’t really handle it you know properly... but then it ended up Ella’s brother and her both had a pretty big line and when he died Ella got the whole thing and my old trap line too was included in it so she made me a partner in it. Now we own it together.
Catherine: So is that close to here?
Catherine: Is that close to here?
Neal: Well it comes quite a ways down the river, oh about across from here or even north of here, it goes right out to just about to the Nechako Reservoir...well there’s another trap line in between the river and ours like you know but it’s quite a big area... like it’s mostly in between... on the... between the Kluskus Road and the river.
Catherine: And has that area been logged at all or...?
Neal: Yeah they’re working on it now, in fact I hear that they’re gonna log lots of it in there in the next few years.
Catherine: And have they contacted you?
Neal: Well they do but it don’t do any good you know. They tell you what they’re going to do, where they intend to log which is kinda good of them but complain about it and that’s about all you get out of it, they do it anyway.
Bob: That’s the same with range you know, the permit there, they’ll log on it, they’ll notify you that they’re goin’ to log but that’s all. It isn’t going to..... you can‘t do anything about it really. ‘Course all those areas suppose to have multi-use you know. You can, like if you have a permit over a certain area for grazing cattle, you have the right to put cattle on there and let’em graze, you have no other rights like they can log on it, they can mine on it or anything else. Although, there is a clause in there, they’re not suppose to, like if they log on it they’re not suppose to disturb the cattle and things like that you know but...
Catherine: Have you had them log areas that you have range cattle on?
Bob: Oh yeah.
Catherine: And they let you know and then you have to move the cattle?
Bob: Oh yeah, they’ll always let you know that they’re goin’ to log on it.
Catherine: And then do you have to go and get a permit for another area, to move your cattle to?
Bob: No, no..... you still have the rights to keep’em there.
Neal: Well I think really this multi-use is a good idea.
Bob: Oh yeah.
Neal: If it’s managed right because quite a few parties get something out of it.
Catherine: But I just picture them logging while your cattle are actually there is that what they’re doing?
Bob: Yes, but then they’ll... they’ll be informed about it too, the loggers, they’ll probably... costing them to be a bit careful about cattle.
Catherine: ...cattle being in there...
Bob: They watch for cattle and not to, let’s say fall trees on’em or something.
Catherine: So is there, there’s quite a bit of feed in there, amongst the trees for the cattle?
Neal: Shut that thing off...
Catherine: Yeah we’re back on.
Bob: Well it varies, you know, there’s places where the feed is quite good, peavine that’s very good it grows in the bush you know like in poplar mostly and sometimes vetch, fireweeds but they won’t stand too much grazing. If you graze it too much, peavine especially it’ll seems to disappear, so you can’t over graze’em. But it’s good, it’s really good feed but then it’s a lot of this timber range where there’s nothing hardly just moss and certain places it’s fairly good.
Catherine: You wouldn’t be able to keep as many cattle on as you would any other?
Bob: No, not as many as you would on a meadow or a fenced pasture, you know that’s been seeded not near as many, no. Takes a big area to range a bunch of cattle on.
Catherine: Still thinking back, what other major things have happened in this area besides the Kenney Dam, had that affected you at all or..... just the road being...?
Bob: Not really us really... expected to see a river you know being down had affected some people, not us, no because we are too far away from there...but let’s put it this way, just myself I would a... I’d a rather wished it hadn’t happened to the Kenney Dam because it pretty well kinda ruined that river you know. It used to be a nice river, Nechako River was nice, nice green clear water. I know near Fort Fraser you could stand on the bank, look out from here to the middle of the garden there. You know the water may of been about this deep or maybe as high as the ceiling, you could, it was so clear you could see the bottom. You can’t anymore, it’s always kinda dirty now, most of the time. Maybe right in the spring when the water was a high you’d be get a little muddy but most of the time it was nice, nice kinda of green colour. It came out of those big lakes you know, like Tatelkuz. Course that’s I don’t know if (this just a place anymore))?? flooded so much... around Ootsa Lake enlarged a lot and but there used to... The Nechako River was a you know a full blown river when it came out of them...it was many big lakes feeding it. Lots of rivers start from a small stream but the Nechako was a full blown river.
Catherine: Did your Mom do work in the area too or did she, she just, she was doing her chickens and the cattle?
Bob: That time it was too far away from anywhere to really try to get work or anything anyway.
Catherine: And your Dad just kept the cattle and ...sold them locally?
Bob: He trapped a little bit too but not very much, he never had a trap line, just mostly on his own property.
Catherine: I think Walter’s name came up, he had the, did he have the cabin further out?
Neal: Well he had a place about four miles south...
Bob: Of my place...first
Neal: ...the old place and oh he was there for several years, he had a bunch of cattle.
Bob: Yeah, he had quite a bunch of cattle you know but then he sold the place and then after a few years he sold the cattle too and then he went into that guiding. Well you tell better than I can... I guess..... .
Neal: Yeah the area is across the, right at the Nechako Reservoir and like to Natalkuz Lake, Chedakuz Creek and that area north slope of the Fawnie’s ...
Bob: ...and the Nechako Range...
Neal: ...and the Nechako Mountains, it was all in his area. Anyway at that time there was no roads you know the end of the road was at the dam eh. Kluskus logging road wasn’t... didn’t even exist that time but I don’t know we guided in there for 15 years or more and then when he heard this Kluskus Road was going to be built within 5 years. It didn’t quite happen that quick. So he sold out and moved up to Atlin, guided up there for 12 years and his intention was to get his own guiding territory up there but he come a year or two too late they started selling for big money eh. And he never really did get a chance to get one... of his own. So he just worked for other outfits. He was in the Yukon and around Atlin. One winter he worked out of Inuvik where the oil exploration was you know and ..... .
Bob: Him and another fella they were goin’ around with a plane, but they were putting in helicopter pads you know for oil and gas, I guess mostly mineral exploration. They seen a lot of country, they flew around the Yukon and Northwest Territories quite a bit.
Catherine: So did he eventually come back here?
Neal: Well then when he sold out at Atlin he moved down to Lilloet and he only stayed, he bought a place there, a nice little place but... and he figured it would cost him too much to get the water to irrigate because that’s pretty dry country eh. He was out at Bridge River away there so e sold that and moved to Williams Lake. Just down on the Fraser just below the Sheep Creek bridge there on the east side of the Fraser, he found a small place. Stayed there for several years. And they wanted to get power in there awful bad but there was one neighbour whose place that the power line went after it through his land and he fought it every way, he wouldn’t allow it but he decided he’d sell out. He moved back up here, up the Nechako River oh about 20 miles, more than 25 miles up from...up the Kenney Dam Road. That place was already there, this guy Tom Erickson had his own little place but he died suddenly...
Bob: ...he got poisoned with propane... refrigerator...
Neal: Anyway, then the place was up for sale and I bought it and had it for a couple of years or so then Walter come along and he decided he’d like to have it, so I sold it to him. Oh he wasn’t there too long before he died... what three years, four years?
Bob: It was in January 1970.
Neal: Yeah but I meant he wasn’t there in that place...
Bob: So when did he come, was it ‘93 or ‘92?
Neal: Somewhere around there but anyway I should mention that when he was at Lilloet he did some guiding there for another outfitter and then when he moved to Williams Lake he did some guiding in the Chilcotin...
Bob: Yeah the place you call Big Creek.
Neal: That was...seemed to be that’s the main thing he liked to do was guide, outfit and guide...
Bob: ...and horses, he liked horses...
Neal: He always had horses.
Catherine: When was the Kluskus Lake Road built?
Bob: Kluskus? Kluskus was built in, they started in it on making the right of way in 1971, ‘72, ‘73 then they really built it.
Neal: And they kept extending it further out after.....
Bob: First they only went to Finger Lake and then they built it on to, well when they did extend it further they went to Tatelkuz and then on over the Fawnie Range and down you know Fort...(()))?? but they never got to the Blackwater but down that way...
Neal: Well they’re awfully close to the Blackwater.....
Neal: Four miles I guess, off the Blackwater.
Catherine: What’s the biggest change you’ve seen happen in this country, Neal?
Neal: Well I guess you know up until that time anyway Kenney Dam would have been the biggest thing that happened here and I can’t say that, well this big mill in Engen and the Plateau Road I guess would be the second, next big thing that happened in this country.
Bob: And then Vanderhoof changed a lot you know. Since, like before they built the Kenney Dam, well...when let’s say...just after the war, the second world war there was only about they figured about 400 people. So that’s changed a lot you know.
Bob: Yeah, but actually not Vanderhoof, well I don’t know what their population is now exactly..... .
Neal: Oh pretty close to 4000...
Bob: But the surrounding area, there’s a lot of people in the surrounding area, a lot more than there used to be.
Catherine: Are there still people clearing land and turning it in to agriculture?
Bob: Oh some, not as much as they use to but they still are... clearing land.
Catherine: Still a lot of new faces coming into the area...would some of the people clearing the land just be coming in or some people that had the area, property already?
Bob: Mostly I think it’s people what, the property, maybe it’s changed hands. You know maybe somebody else bought it and then they cleared some more land. I don’t think there’s too many new places startin’ now.
Neal: Well there isn’t all that much land left...crown land...
Bob: ...arable... you know, land that’s fit for farmin’. There isn’t that much left anymore.
Neal: There’s some privately owned that can be cleared.
Bob: Yeah...and it’s nothin’...
Neal: Most of the crown land has been taken... agriculture land...oh there’s small parcels here and there I guess...you can pick up.
Bob: It was in a 1960’s they started work, people started buyin’ lots of land you know, crown land and lots of Americans came in here ‘course they couldn’t buy crown land at first they had to be you know. There was one thing you have to be to buy here, crown land here in this area, I guess anywhere in BC is what it goes... you have to be a Canadian citizen and you ahve to have lived in BC for 6 months otherwise there’s no restrictions.
Neal: I thought landed immigrants could buy land, but I’m not sure about that.
Bob: Well maybe I’m not either, maybe.
Neal: Anyway there was one thing I didn’t agree with, when...when was that in the ‘70’s, when the Social Credit government threw this land ... wide open
Bob: ...it was 1980
Neal: It was 1980, yeah, and they made a quite a mess of it in the end.
Bob: And they still that hasn’t been straightened out yet.
Neal: You know a lot of land that wasn’t agriculture land, they took the timber off of it and let it go and just walked away from it because they made a pile of money and the land was no good..... now that isn’t all of it, that’s just some..... some...
Bob: There was quite a bit of it, a lot of it, it wasn’t really good agriculture land anyway. Why...why the government did that I could never figure it out.
Neal: Oh they had some notions. You know gonna give everybody in BC a chance to own a piece of land, it sounded good but it didn’t work out.
Neal: Because you know... ranchin’ and farmin’, they needed that timber to get some money, quick money eh, so they could develop the place.
Bob: Yeah well, it was someone, some of the rest of us did but some land too. I know I did in 1980, I bought another quarter, ‘cause I knew I had to or it wouldn’t be there. Somebody else would take it. But then there was timber on it. You used that money you got from the timber to clear the land... see... but some of’em didn’t.