Sunday, June 10, 2018

Hecla Island Trip.

Two hours north of Winnipeg; the longest trip so far for the Mack. Leave Friday afternoon, return Sunday afternoon.

Hecla Provincial Park used to be a farming community before the feeble soil stopped growing crops. Most of the first settlers came from Iceland and the family names still reflect the Icelandic heritage.

Gull Harbour has a new marina but not a lot of boats.

Sunset Beach on the North Shore; white sand and flat limestone rocks. Driftwood and a total absence of litter made for a very pleasant environment.

Limestone was quarried on Hecla Island and shipped to Winnipeg in the first quarter of the 20th century.

The Mack parked at the old mainland ferry terminal. A vehicle ferry service started in 1953, giving the 500 inhabitants of Hecla their first regular link with the rest of Manitoba. The population promptly halved.

Today, the main industries are tourism and commercial fishing. Pickerel is the main catch of these small boats based at Gull Harbour. Sport fishing is very popular, both from boats and from the beaches.

Gull Harbour is the location of the Provincial Camp Ground, about 200 sites with most offering an electrical hook-up.

Most of Hecla Island is wooded. There are plenty of beaches and in early June, the place is almost deserted.

Cycle and walking trails lead out from the camp ground. This one went to the West Quarry Wharf on the North Shore; about 10 kilometres of shady woodland tracks. Most of the other islands in Lake Winnipeg are uninhabited.

West Quarry shipped limestone rubble to Winnipeg.

The old timbers are all that's left of the wharf. The 4 inch wide tyres of the Bigfoot bike were ideal for riding on the sand and limestone rubble. 

Plenty of pelicans on Hecla Island. Maybe if they had called it Pelican Harbour and not Gull Harbour then more tourists would visit.

Map of Hecla Island that shows the causeway that now links it with the mainland and the two villages of Hecla and Gull Harbour.

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