Stikine Wild – The Wilderness Years by Stefan Jacob

The place at the end of all roads was called Glenora, a long abandoned gold rush town site beside the Stikine River. The dirt road simply ended on the rocky shore of the river. 

Past that point for hundreds of miles to the south, west and north, there were no roads and no people until the river finally reached Alaska, 150 miles away. 

It was there and beyond where we lived and raised our family for many years.

In late winter of 1976 Stefan and Ann Jacob drove there with their four month old baby Ariana, and Samoyed dog, Misha, in a van crammed full of everything they imagined they might need to live in the wilderness. The only village was Telegraph Creek, BC, (population 200), the most remote community in all of British Columbia, Canada, several hundred miles east of Alaska and south of the Yukon. The town had no electricity, telephone or television, and was 400 miles (700 km) by gravel and dirt roads from the nearest town with a supermarket, which was a twelve hour drive away.

Twelve miles beyond Telegraph Creek, the road simply ended by the river where a gold rush town once existed called Glenora. It was the end of all roads. They left their van there by the frozen river and went 17 miles (25 km) further down the river on the ice, to live in a tiny 8X10 foot long abandoned log cabin homestead. This is the story of their life in the Stikine wilderness, raising a family of three children, mostly living off the land, creating their own electricity, growing vegetables for the town and eventually helping develop a salmon fishery in the Stikine River wilderness by the Canada/USA boundary near Wrangell Alaska.

The wilderness in-river fishery created an international conflict between Canada and Alaska, since Alaska didn’t want to share the Stikine salmon with Canada, even though most of the salmon were spawned in Canada. Stefan become part of the small Stikine River wilderness fishery, and represented the fishermen at the Canada/USA salmon treaty negotiations, along with a representative from the Tahltan Tribal Council (the local first nation people of the Stikine region) at the Pacific Salmon Treaty talks. Together they helped find a compromise based on co- managing the salmon stocks with Alaska, eventually creating more salmon for both countries. This formed the basis for the Trans-boundary Salmon Treaty.

This story is about their family’s personal adventure in the Canadian wilderness with many photographs of our life there. It also tells the largely unwritten history of the conflict between Alaska and Canada over the fishing rights to the salmon spawned in the river, and the future role of the Tahltan First Nation people controlling their own salmon resources. Later Stefan co-managed the commercial in-river fishery with the Tahltan First Nation, which led to many other adventures and an unexpected conclusion.

The book is both a personal memoir of their family’s experience, and a snapshot of that time and place in the history of this remote region of the country. 

About the author

Stefan now lives in Victoria BC, Canada. where he is enjoying putting some of his many life stories into print. He currently works independently from home on his writing and on international trade. In the 1990s he founded ‘Planet Products’ one of the first fully biodegradable detergent companies. He often still travels into the wilds of Vancouver Island and the coastal mountains north of Vancouver to connect with the innate quiet of undeveloped places.

He is currently writing a collection of short stories comprising various events and experiences including riding the rails (freight trains) across the USA, going overland to Central and South America, and overland from Europe to India and Nepal, and a seven day non-stop drive across the USA and back with five other friends (3 girls and 3 guys, in the late 1960’s of course). Other stories in the mix are about a tragic accident in Mexico, and being lost in the High Sierra mountains in a three foot deep snowstorm, alone.

He still holds deep memories and feelings for the Stikine River in Northern BC, Canada, where he lived for many years. There is a story to be written of the fishing collective he formed in the Stikine River fishery with his three children in the 1990’s. Lastly and possibly he may write about his daughter Aliya who is buried beside the Stikine River which she loved so much.

To know more about Author Stefan Jacob visit: Amazon