Dredging the Okanagan River in 1909. The work on the Okanagan River started in 1908 to dredge the channel. Passenger and freight service between Penticton and Kaleden started in 1912 (with the vessel Mallard) but navigation on the river portion between Skaha Lake and Okanagan Lake was challenging and the route was soon abandoned. By 1952, work began on channeling the river; this work was completed by 1958. (Photo courtesy of the Penticton Museum and Archives)

Dredging the Okanagan River in 1909. The work on the Okanagan River started in 1908 to dredge the channel. Passenger and freight service between Penticton and Kaleden started in 1912 (with the vessel Mallard) but navigation on the river portion between Skaha Lake and Okanagan Lake was challenging and the route was soon abandoned. By 1952, work began on channeling the river; this work was completed by 1958. (Photo courtesy of the Penticton Museum and Archives)

Historic photo: How the Okanagan River Channel came to be

Dredging in Okanagan River in Penticton started in 1908

Proven to be a challenging route for passenger and freight service, the river between Skaha Lake and Okanagan Lake was abandoned and eventually the route became the Okanagan River Channel.

While it is a favourite summer pastime of floating down the channel today, passenger and freight service between Penticton and Kaleden started in 1912 (with the vessel Mallard).

Navigation on the river portion between Skaha Lake and Okanagan Lake was not easy, so efforts were made to dredge the river to restrict it from numerous winding channels through the floodplain to a single circuitous channel.

Dredge boats, small vessels, with a barge, dredge and boom (crane) attached, were sued to dredge the shoals and switchbacks of the winding Okanagan River, so that other vessels could travel safely. The navigation improvements and maintenance activities continued yearly until 1917, when, with the improvement of area roads and the coming of the Kettle Valley Railway — river transport ceased and dredging continued.

READ MORE: Over 50,000 fry released into the Okanagan River Channel

Joe McDonald was placed in charge of operating a swing-boom to dredge the Okanagan River channel. He was also responsible for placing brush along the banks, and driving piles along the side of the river to prevent erosion.

Several years later a control dam was constructed at the mouth of Okanagan River on Okanagan Lake. Although navigation was no longer possible, the dredge boats were still kept busy, with the river channel dredged in the hopes of preventing flooding and to keep water flowing in the channel and off land adjacent to the river channel.

Dredging stopped after the completion of the Penticton channel project in 1953.

— Information courtesy of sssicamous.ca and the Okanagan Basin Water Board

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File photo)
COLUMN: How to help your young reluctant reader

Library has resources to help children

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

C.E. “Ned” Bentley owned a garage on Shaughnessy Avenue, now Lakeshore Drive in Summerland. Bentley later went on to serve on Summerland’s council and was recognized with the Good Citizen Award in 1939. (Summerland Museum photo)
Former Summerland reeve once ran garage

C.E. “Ned” Bentley was a prominent figure in Summerland’s past.

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is offering home compost bins at reduced prices until March 25. (Contributed)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen offers compost bins at wholesale costs

Pricing offer at participating stores in place until March 25

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Multiple people were injured at a Vernon home following an early-morning break-in Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Multiple people left injured following break-and-enter in Vernon

Police believe the early-morning break-in was targeted and not a threat to the general public

Isaac Gilbert is running for council in the by-election for Jake Kimberley’s vacated seat. (Submitted)
First candidate for Penticton council by-election makes himself known

Isaac Gilbert is making a second run at council after receiving 19.63 per cent of the vote in 2018

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna General Hospital

One patient and one staff member on Unit have tested positive for the virus.

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Most Read