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Inlet Bridge



Located at the north end of Inlet Road, this bridge crosses the Inlet River giving access to the property currently owned by Joyce, wife of Harold Berndt.  Harold was the son of Herman and Adelaide (Fenske).


The forest mostly north of Mulgrave & Derry was logged for the white pine trees starting around 1850.  Logs were floated down the Blanche River.  Logs also coming down the Inlet River were towed across the Blanche Lake to the Blanche River and eventually they all ended up in Thurso.  There the logs would be sorted based on the quality and needs.  Some of the high quality wood was sent to Britain or Europe.  Other logs would be cut into lumber and sold.  This process continued into the 1930s, when trucks began to haul the logs to the pulp and lumber mills.


The Blanche and the Inlet Rivers each had three log driving dams before the waters left Mulgrave.  These dams were used to hold water from the spring thaw and then were systematically opened to drive the logs down the river.


In the year 1900, at age 13, Herman took on a man’s job.  Leaving home at midnight with a coal oil lantern in hand, he would walk for several hours through the forest and partially open the three dams located at the outlets of Bark, Fork and Squaw Lakes.  This would start raising the water in the river, preparing for the start of moving the logs at daybreak.


Herman married Adelaide (Fenske) and started the family farm.  They raised eight children.  In 1956 Harold, the youngest, married Joyce Storey and they raised their three children on the farm.  Like many families in Mulgrave & Derry, not only did Harold farm and do some logging, but also kept tourists - especially hunters in the fall.


As these wooden dams were no longer needed for driving logs; they were left to deteriorate.  The dams continued to hold water, especially during the spring thaw.  Then it happened - DISASTER!  One spring night in 1954, the Fork Lake dam gave way and the flood was on, taking out the Squaw Lake dam.  By the time the flood reached the Inlet Bridge, there was so much water that it moved the original bridge approximately 200 feet down river.  Herman’s farm on one side and his son Hedley’s farm on the opposite were just islands in a sea of water.   


The bridge remained intact.  Many days later when the waters had receded, Herman and his team of horses managed to pull the bridge back to the original location.  Although the bridge was quite crooked, it was passable by foot and fortunately just in time for Herman to walk his bull to the other side and sell it to a cattle buyer.


Later that year, a new bridge was built a bit upriver from the original.  It was higher and had stone cribs placed on either side to stop erosion in high water.  Steel girders were used as stringers and when completed, the wooden railings were whitewashed.  When this bridge started to show its age, a third was built using the same steel girders with new wood piers, deck and railings.  It is still being used.


Joyce and her family still enjoy the family farm.     

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