Big Game Hunting in Newfoundland

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In the beginning . . .

.This past July, he visited Exploits Island in Notre Dame Bay.A man named Mr.The "John Peyton" traveled inland along the Exploits River, where Mr. Peyton had established several salmon pens.

Following the visit of the Anglican prelate, the waterfall was thereafter named Bishop's Falls in his honor.There is not much information on development in this area until 1893, except that Harry Crowe operated a lumber operation out of "Botwoodville" during that time, and probably conducted some logging along the river's banks.


The construction crews of the Newfoundland Railway made the first attempts to span the river in 1893, with the coming of the railway.An effective trestle crossing would take three attempts upstream from the falls before it was established in 1900-01. .Steel trestle with granite abutments stretched 927 feet, which was quite a feat in its day.The last train on the rails was on September 30, 1988.


The rail bed now devoid of its steel rails and rail road ties which were all removed by the end November,1990 is now used as an ATV and snowmobile trail.


There were 20 people living at Bishop's Falls according to the 1901 census of Newfoundland.Their occupations were likely related to the railway.The survey of the ground wood mill site began in earnest in 1908.In 1909, a pulp mill was built, and a town site was developed. The workers lived in an area commonly known as "The Plant.".

.There were now 343 local residents.

The Albert E. Reed Ground wood Pulp Mill

Mr. Reed, principal of.Reed and Co., which owned five paper mills in Britain, expressed an interest in establishing a paper mill in Newfoundland in 1905.However, original plans for a mill in Bishop's Falls fell apart, so Reed continued discussions with Harry Crowe over the area's timber rights, and with the provincial government over power rights on the Exploits River. .The Reed Company acquired power rights over the falls from the Newfoundland government, and the dam was built in 1908, as the mill site was being prepared.

Ground wood pulp produced by the mill was shipped by rail to Botwood then on to England after it was opened for operations in 1911.A total of 130 tons of wood pulp were shipped each day to England.Mr.Harris was appointed manager, a position he held for the duration of the company.After 1923, the mill was purchased by Anglo-Newfoundland Development Co.Limited.Employees started working seven-day weeks when the mill was purchased.As of 1920, wages were only 25 cents per hour, a huge increase over the 22 cents per hour before World War I.Some 500 workers lived and worked in the area, including many in a local settlement known as Shackletown, not far from the mill.From the station to the plant, the town had only one mile of road.

A lack of wood supply, antiquated equipment and high operating costs caused the entire operation to close at the end of March 2009.Layoff notices were received by 450 mill workers and 300 forestry workers.All buildings were left standing until they were demolished in 2017.

Logging Operations

.Millertown and Bo Woodville (now Botwood) were established in the 19th century.As a result of the two mills, four main divisions of logging operations were established at Millertown, Badger, Bishop's Falls and Terra Nova.It primarily served the Great Rattling Brook region, initially accessible from Bishop's Falls, and later from Jumper's Brook, just east of the community.After the mid 1930's, when the Bishop's Falls mill was acquired and Grand Falls' production increased, half of the wood could be floated to the mills at Bishop's Falls and Grand Falls.

The logging operation was largely carried out by a number of local contractors under contracts with the mill management. These contractors built camps at strategic sites in the interior of the state.Early constructors include Amos Feener, Pat Lahey, Theophilus Stuckless and Pierce Penton.The conditions in the woods camps were tough, but they always had willing workers.Most of these people settled in the central towns after coming from the bays and coves of Notre Dame Bay.

The logging operations of the Great Rattling Brook, known as “The Line”, reached extensively into the interior with a large base camp at an area commonly known as “The Depot” (site of Lions Max Simms Memorial Camp today), with names such as “{Pat Lahey’s Camps” or “Amos Feener’s Camps.” Roads built to these camps later on still bear the names of these contractors.

Grand Falls Central Railway

As a result of two railways being utilized by the Reed Company, the mill in Bishop's Falls benefitted greatly from the use of the railways.The construction of the mill made extensive use of a spur leading from the main line and yard at Bishop's Falls.Though it was not used much after that, the spur remained intact for decades after its construction.Two, around 1908-09, the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company built its own train from Botwood to Grand Falls, the site of its paper mill.The A.N.D. Company was able to negotiate a line connecting Reed's ground wood pulp mill to this feeder line.In the early 20th century, Botwood grew significantly as a result of a railway tie spanning 22 miles between Central Newfoundland towns.Shipments of supplies and cargo brought to the company from around the world were shipped to Botwood, then railroaded to Grand Falls. .A late passenger service was set up between Grand Falls and Botwood with Bishop's Falls in the middle.

The Pipeline

.Bishop's Falls operations provided additional power, and a pipeline 20 inches in diameter and nine miles long was built to transport pulp produced in Bishop's Falls to the mill in Grand Falls, where it was made into paper.In 1924, the pipeline was completed and put into service.Almost all of this pipeline was constructed with picks and shovels.

When Bishop's Falls was taken over, A.E.Harriman was retained as mill manager, and later became manager of the Grand Falls operations until 1929.Harris left behind an impressive collection of etchings and watercolours depicting Newfoundland as it was in the early part of the 20th century.These paintings are still visible in and around Bishop's Falls.

Red Indian Lake Dam and Other Developments

The mills' operations were improved through many modifications in the 1920s.At Red Indian Lake, a new concrete and steel dam increased the efficiency of power production during low water times.The increase in power production in 1928 was used to supply operations in Botwood, which was now an export port for newsprint and ore mined at Buchans.In 1929, a transmission line was built between Grand Falls and Bishop's Falls.The mill and Grand Falls and Botwood operations now receive power generated at Bishop's Falls.Additionally, improvements were made to the Bishop's Falls mill in the 1930's, which allowed it to produce 205 tons of ground wood per day, along with improved quality through modernization.

The Depression Era

The mill's wages decreased as newsprint prices fell in the 1930s.Nevertheless, 1600 men were engaged in the woods operations, with tons of wood being harvested from July to December, and then winter hauling.Still, the mills were profitable.St. John's was boosted by a ten-year contract to haul newsprint.As the 1930s continued, profit levels dropped due to fluctuating world prices, despite continued growth and efficiency.As war broke out, both operations emerged successfully.Newsprint exports to England declined during the war, but new markets were opening in Central and South America.In the meantime, the mills were forced to run on less than full capacity because of a shortage of labour caused by the men enlisting to assist in the war effort overseas.

Decline and Closure of Bishop’s Falls Mill

There was a shadow hanging over the operations of Bishop's Falls after the war ended.Adding four pocket grinders to the Grand Falls mill's operations helped the mill achieve 650 tons per day as a monthly record.The Grand Falls mill and Bishop's Falls hydroelectric power station were both to be upgraded.Other factors pointed to the eventual demise of the mill as a production facility, including the pipeline connecting the two mills.It ceased ground wood pulp production in 1951.It would take another two years for the facility to be demolished.In the following decades, Bishop's Falls power plant remained the last significant element of the operation that had helped create the community.

Over the years, the mill was abandoned and neglected.During the 1970s, the building had deteriorated to the point where security measures were taken to prevent entry.Access was restricted to the power plant and only to company employees.After the war, the generation of the post-war years knew little about its significance in the community.

The above was written by George Saunders: Author of "In the centre of the forest..I remain"

The highway


May 16, 1893, was the date of the signing of the contract to put the first road across the island of Newfoundland.The road was originally built as a gravel road to connect St. Johns, the capital on the east coast, and Port Aux Basques, on the west coast.


It was not until July 2, 1954 that construction began on the 600 foot five piered Sir Robert Bond bridge that now crosses the Exploits river and eliminating the need for Hampton"s ferry. The project was finished on July 2, 1958, four years to the day. Due to its narrow width the bridge was never meant for transport trucks so in 2014 construction began on a new bridge adjacent to the old one, down river that will carry all traffic going west. The Sir Robert Bond bridge will still carry traffic east.

The Flood of 1983

On January 14, 1983, some of the worst flood damage ever recorded in Newfoundland occurred, thanks to the Exploits River on whose northern bank sits the Town Of Bishop"s Falls. According to the Department of Environment and Conservation, Water Resources Division, exceptional rain fell on an above average snow-pack, and following several days of above-freezing temperatures resulting in a flood of water never witnessed in the area before.

Most of the damage was caused by bank erosion, and three houses located on Circular Road were swept away along with most of the road itself.Local Lions Club community centers, a senior complex, and a newly-constructed riverside park containing several railway cars were also destroyed.Yet the river also served as the site for the "powerhouse" or hydroelectric generating facility owned and operated by Abitibi Price, which operated a pulp mill nearby.This power plant supplied electricity for its shipping warehouse in the nearby town of Botwood as well as its pulp mill in Grand Falls.Besides these houses, other homes were damaged, totaling $3 million in damages.No previous flooding had been recorded in the area.

It rained 200 millimetres; the river current surged from 6,000 cubic feet per metre to 90,000 cubic feet per metre during the flood.The power plant was reconstructed following the disaster and an additional number of flood gates were installed.There was a theory that the inability of the staff at the generating station to open all the flood gates within the dam caused this disaster.Built in 1907, the facility was one of the largest in the world.

At the park known as "The Bark," two old railroad passenger cars weighing 60 tonnes were tumbled about like dinky toys until they sank out of sight in the river.Nearly 110 families have been evacuated from the riverbank.Lions Club buildings will later be found in Botwood and Peterview, two communities located along the shoreline of Notre Dame Bay, approximately 10 miles downstream of the washed-away Lions Club.Unfortunately, the train cars were never located.


.The boat he was aboard at the time threw another passenger into the river who miraculously survived.

A video of the actual flood can be viewed at:

Visit Youtube to see the new hydroelectric power plant: