The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) is adding historic sites near Christina Lake and rural Grand Forks to a heritage bylaw. Once amended, the bylaw will enshrine the sites’ cultural significance by adding them to provincial and federal registries, according to Anitra Winje, Corporate Officer at the RDKB.
Winje, who drafted the bylaw, said no one voiced opposition at public hearings on the proposed amendment held via Zoom on July 12 and 13. “In fact, we had tremendous support from the people who showed up,” she added.
The first site to be added is the Cascade Cemetry, perhaps the last standing vestige of what was once Cascade City. The ghost town rose with the Columbia and Western rail line and faded away after a short-lived logging boom in the early 20th-century, according to Greg Nesteroff, West Kootenay historian and author of Black Press’s renowned Kootenay Place Names series.
Spanning roughly 4.5 acres below Stewart Creek Road, south of where Highway 3 meets Highway 395, the cemetery holds few graves marked by headstones, Nesteroff added. A search of the grounds using ground-penetrating radar showed 27 unmarked burials, according to the draft bylaw. Of these, 22 have been identified by the Cascade Cemetery Restoration Committee, which maintains the site.
Area C Director Grace McGregor on Thursday, July 15, said, “The RDKB will be seeking grants for the maintenance of the cemetery as well as using ground-penetrating radar to determine if there are additional burials. We also have work to do on the access to the cemetery so that everyone will get a chance to visit this historic place.” McGregor then personally thanked Nesteroff “for all his work on collecting the history of the cemetery.”
Next to be added to the bylaw is Area D’s Franklin Trail, a 19-kilometre former wagon road that once joined the historic Union gold mine to a train stop on the North Fork. Early 20th-century miners would haul ore to waiting trains, leaving their travels imprinted in the path that stands today.
The Franklin Trail lies near the Bluejoint Recreation Site, around 45 kilometres up Granby Road, and another 8.5 km north on Burrell Creek Forest Service Road. The roadbed is maintained by the Grand Forks ATV club, which entered into an official partnership with B.C.’s forest ministry last July, according to the draft bylaw.
Both sites are on Crown land. The heritage bylaw amendment is due for a final reading and adoption by the RDKB’s board of directors later this summer.