1986 –

The Canadian National Railway (CNR) carried out a blasting operation in May 1985 to remove rock above their rail line on the east bank of the Fraser River about 1.5 mile down from Hell’s Gate. The rapids, named Little Hell’s Gate has been a fish obstruction area since the railway was built in 1913 and waste rock was dumped into the river. Prior to the May 1985 blasting, the Commission through the Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans tried to have the work delayed until the fall, at the end of the salmon migration period. The recommendation was not accepted by CNR and the blasting was done on May 30, 1985. As observed by IPSFC engineers and shown in photo, large amounts of rock and railbed embankment entered the river projecting material more than half across the stream. At the time it was difficult to assess possible adverse effect on subsequent fish migration. In 1989, DFO constructed a by-pass channel, 10 feet wide, 20 feet deep and 250 feet long on the West Bank of the rapids in aid of migrating salmon.

Little Hell's Gate, May 30, 1985 Little Hell's Gate by-pass channel, 1989
Yale Rapids, west bank fishway, built in 1957 (low water, fishway dry) Bridge River Rapids, upper fishway on right (west bank), completed 1946 Nadina River artificial spawning channel for sockeye, completed 1973
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The Commission’s senior professional engineers in charge of design and construction of fishways at Hell’s Gate, Bridge River Rapids, Farwell Canyon and Yale Rapids and who in succession became Chief Engineers were Milo Bell, later a consultant, Roy Jackson, later an Assistant Director, Alex C. Cooper, later a Director, Fred Andrew, and Per Saxvik. In addition to the senior engineers, the Commission employed many project & assistant engineers, technicians, surveyors and draftsmen, all invaluable in carrying out the design and construction of fisheries enhancement projects.
Monument located on the side of the Trans Canada Highway above Hell's Gate Plaque honoring the first Commissioners of the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission Plaque near Hell's Gate Suspension Bridge honoring Commisioners & staff
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The end of an era came on December 31, 1985 when the Governments of USA and Canada, in a joint agreement dissolved the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission. At dissolution, Per Saxvik, IPSFC’s last Chief Engineer and his staff were transferred to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) where he, as a Senior Engineer and later as a consultant, designed two more fishways to improve low level fish passage at Hell’s Gate (1989 and 1994).
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