Logging on Hernando Island

When the first non-native settlers arrived on Hernando Island in the 1880s, they found large stands of timber surrounding a natural meadow in the center of the island. Income to supplement their homesteading efforts came from hand-logging some of the big timber, using oxen to pull the logs on skids down to the water.

Most of the original settlers left the island by the early 1900s and by 1915 Michael Manson had extensive landholdings there. He asked his daughter Robina’s husband, George Freeman, to look after the logging being done by the Campbell River Lumber Company; Michael and Jane moved to Hernando themselves in 1916.

There was a logging company camp in Stag Bay, with maintenance buildings, a cookhouse, commissary and individual cabins for the crew, which included Japanese pole cutters, and their families. Logs were moved to Stag Bay via a narrow-gauge railroad and dumped into the water off a long pier.

After 1920, when the logging company had finished its operations, members of the extended Manson family homesteaded on Hernando and worked together in a small logging operation, adapting the abandoned buildings of the logging camp to their own uses.

Hernando Island was sold by the Manson family after the death of Michael and Jane and today it is privately owned by a residential co-operative.