Herb Lake 100


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by Linda Butler

Alma Mardis, writer/editor of Snow Lake Salute to the Trail Blazers now lives in Campbell River, a community on the north end of Vancouver Island.  The publication of this booklet as a centennial project in 1967 provides a valuable history of the Herb Lake/Snow Lake area and the information continues to be appreciated by readers.  It has been republished by the Snow Lake    Greenstone Tourism Committee. I was curious to know about Alma's involvement and interviewed her in June 1999. 

Linda: How did you become involved in the project? 
Alma: I entered a writing contest and won second prize, the huge sum of $25.00, and was invited to a banquet in Winnipeg. Cliff Casselman knew about this award and told me about the Centennial Committee's plans to record the history of the area and asked if I would write it. I had worked in a newspaper office and had a knowledge of writing, so I agreed. At the time I was living at Osborne Lake at the mine site and I welcomed the involvement with the project as it was an opportunity to meet people in the community. 

Linda: How did you conduct the interviews? 
Alma: Cliff Casselman was the postmaster and had come to Snow Lake in 1949, living in tent town until houses were constructed.  He knew the history of the area and was interested in preserving it. He made arrangements for the interviews as he knew the oldtimers.  He attended the interviews with me, which were conducted in Snow Lake and at the South End. In addition, Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting provided reference material. 

Linda: How did you prepare the booklet? 
Alma: I let people tell their own stories and then asked questions.  I recorded the interviews on tape, then typed and condensed them as there were space limitations in the booklet. Tim Chell   prepared the cover design of the lobstick, a tree with all branches cut off except for one on either side to provide a directional sign post for early travelers on the waterways.  Other people were involved selling advertising to pay the printing cost. 

Linda: Did your family have any involvement with the history of the area? 
Alma: I was surprised to learn after the project was completed that I had an uncle who had been a blacksmith at Hale's Landing in the 1920s. He shod horses which hauled freight from Wekusko to Hales’ Landing, and in winter, across the ice to Herb Lake.  After the scandal of the Bingo mine, which was salted to increase the gold assays, mining activity at Herb Lake went into a slump, and my uncle returned to The Pas.   

I expressed to Alma the community’s appreciation for the work she did and the details that she included in the booklet.  It is an invaluable reference for the history of the Herb Lake/Snow Lake area.

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© 2013 Community of Herb Lake Landing
c/o Linda C Butler
PO Box 92, Chilliwack BC Canada V2P 6H7

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