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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns >  Yellowhead Hwy > Usk

Usk is located 22 km (14 miles) east of Terrace and 76 km (48 miles) west of Kitwanga (Gitwangak) on Hwy 16.

River Usk
Usk is a small rural community, situated on the banks of the Skeena River, whose European history dates back to 1912 with the building of the right-of-way for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. The name Usk is thought to have been derived from one of the railroad engineers working on the project whose birthplace was from near the River Usk near Cardiff in South Wales.

Ferry Service
A ferry was first implemented in 1914 at Usk to help service the building of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, which happened to be situated on the north side of the Skeena River.

Gold Mining Claims
From the period of 1914 to 1936, the community of Usk thrived with a large influx of Europeans arriving with the discovery and opening of gold-mining potential with the Cordeliera and Lucky Luke claims near Kitselas and Bonite Mountains.

American Influx
People from the USA made up a large percentage of this population, many having the opportunity of purchasing low-cost land containing vast quantities of easy-to-harvest timber. Eventually, a number of sawmills were built in Usk to help supply lumber for the mining operations, as well as the building of a public school, the Shackleton Hotel and other businesses in the Usk region.

Sawmills Eventually Closed
Sadly though, because of the low quality ore and the cost of operation, the Columario Gold Mines Ltd. operation ceased existence in 1936. There were still a number of sawmills operating in this time providing jobs but, with the coming of the depression and harder to get to timber, times proved to be too tough for the local population working in the bush.

Skeena River Floods
Then, with unseasonably warm winter seasons in 1936 and 1948 and the coming floods from the Skeena River, Usk had to rebuild a number of times. Unfortunately, Usk never really did recover to its past glory with the last remaining sawmill closing in 1959, because of the building of Hwy 16.

Two Separate Communities
Today, Usk is made up of two separate laid-back communities along the north and south banks of the Skeena River. Both communities combine to make up Usk but, individually, have a completely different community atmosphere and view depending on what side of the Skeena River you are on.

North Side
The north side of Usk is very isolated with very little signs of life besides the CN Railway that now operates, since 1923, on the old Grand Trunk Pacific Railway right-of-way. There is a Via Rail drop-off station located here for passengers travelling on the railway.

Usk Inland Ferry Service
To get to the north side of Usk, you have to take a reaction ferry operated by contract by NNC (Nechako Northcoast Cont.) for the Inland Ferry Service. The free crossing, which takes around five-seven minutes to go across the Skeena River, operates from the swift current in propelling itself across the river in a green, non-motorized form. The on-demand ferry operates from 6:15 a.m. - 11:45 p.m. year round, with the only exception being in low water or icy conditions when a passenger-only aerial tramway has to operate.

South Side
The south side of Usk is bordered by Hwy 16 and the Skeena River. There are no stores or commercial enterprises here with the only exception being an organic farm and a small RV Park called Golfish Resort. The rest of the community is generally made up of small hobby farms and residential homes on small acreages on Usk Frontage Road and Grandview Drive. There is a tourist attraction across Hwy 16 at the Usk Frontage Road turnoff called the Usk Pioneer Chapel.

Usk Pioneer Chapel
Located right on Hwy 16, the Usk Pioneer Chapel has served the Usk and Terrace communities, being a major back-drop for weddings and other special ceremonies. The small chapel welcomes visitors, many who come to sign the guest book and take pictures of the building.

Terrace-Usk Skeena RV Park
Situated at 2158 Grandview Drive, the Terrace-Usk Skeena RV Park offers a convenient location if you are exploring across on the north side of the Skeena River. The facility offers Skeena River fly-fishing, ocean charters, a 9-hole pitch-and-putt golf course and an RV park that accommodates 20 campsites. Telephone (250) 635-9457.

Kitselas Canyon National Historic Site
If you do visit Usk, make sure that you also visit Kitselas Canyon National Historic Site at the First Nation Kitselas community of Gitaus only 4 km (2.7 miles) away. The canyon, long regarded as sacred by the Kitselas First Nations was also the scene of amazing feats by riverboat captains as they plied their way up and down the Skeena from Terrace to Hazelton through the very swift and narrow Kitselas Canyon.

Kleanza Creek Provincial Park
There is a provincial government campground located near the Kitselas Canyon National Historic Site at Kleanza Creek. The facility is only a five-minute driving time west of Usk on Hwy 16 and makes a perfect base camp if you are visiting Usk and Kitselas Canyon National Historic Site, especially if you like walking or cycling.

Information on Usk



click image for larger map
click image for larger map


Usk Ferry
Usk Ferry


Skeena River at Usk
Skeena River at Usk


Chimdemash Loop - South Side Usk
Chimdemash Loop - South Side Usk


CN Tracks - North Side Usk
CN Tracks - North Side Usk


Usk Ferry
Usk Ferry


Usk Ferry
Usk Ferry


Usk Pioneer Chapel
Usk Pioneer Chapel


Terrace-Usk Skeena RV Park
Terrace-Usk Skeena RV Park


Totem Poles at Kitselas Canyon
Totem Poles at Kitselas Canyon

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