January 18th, 2023

British Columbia fjord: Princess Louisa


I have had the privilege of visiting this incredible marine park on two occasions, thanks to my friend Larry Stickles. This photo was taken in 2005. Princess Louisa Inlet, called by indigenous peoples “Suivoolot”, meaning sunny and warm, has beckoned sea travelers since it was first seen by man. Except for aircraft, the sea is the only way there. The privilege of enjoying this bit of paradise comes through the generosity and foresight of James F. “Mac” Macdonald who first saw Princess Louisa Inlet in 1919. In 1926, after years of prospecting in Nevada, “Mac” struck it rich. With his newfound riches, he was able to attain his real Eldorado: Princess Louise Inlet. He obtained the land surrounding Chatterbox Falls in 1927 and build a log cabin that was tragically destroyed by fire in 1940. In 1953, “Mac” made the decision to turn the property over to the yachtsmen of the Northwest. “In giving it to the boating public I feel as if I am completing a trust. It is one of the most spectacular beauty spots in the world,” he stated. “I am turning it over in perpetuity as an international project so that you, your children, and your children’s children, ad infinitum, all may enjoy its peace and beauty as God created it, unspoiled by the hand of man.” After ten years of guardianship, the Princess Louisa International Society, with the blessing of Macdonald, decided that for greater public benefit, administration of the property should pass to the government of the Province of British Columbia. With the understanding that all previous stipulations would remain in effect, the property became Princess Louisa Provincial Marine Park in 1965. The Princess Louisa International Society continues to play an active role in the conservation and management of the park. (Visible in the photo is a large tour boat, which gives a sense of the size of surrounding hills)

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About Photographer Steve Berentson

A fourth generation Skagit County native who was moved kicking and screaming from this island community in 1960. I finally reclaimed an Anacortes address in 1980, and I have been in constant celebration of my return since that time. Many of us who call Anacortes home love Fidalgo Island for its natural assets: among them are rugged beaches, pristine lakes, thousands of acres of forestland and some awesome views of the Skagit Valley and surrounding islands. Another element of my love affair with this community is its people, both natives and immigrants. They will “star” in many of my journal entries.

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