Freedom Road - A Short History
Before the road was built the only way to bring in supplies was by packing it in yourself, pack horse, plane or boat. It was clear to the valley residents that a road out of the valley was essential to its survival. A group of local Bella Coola residents, led by Cliff Kopas, formed the Bella Coola Valley Board of Trade and petitioned the government for support. After continued stalling by the government it was decided to go ahead with building the road. (The government would later support the road with a cash outlay totaling $58,000).
With $250 dollars in the bank and the determination of the Valley residents, construction was started. On September 14, 1952 construction of the road began. Alf Bracewell, on a rented D6 Caterpillar began at Anahim Lake and soon after rock breaking work began from the bottom of the Valley up the mountain with George Dalshaug operating an ancient TD18 bulldozer.
Front Row, Left to Right:
Elijah Gurr, Hon Phil Gaglardi, Cliff Kopas, Evan Jones, Tony Gargrave.
Back Row, Left to Right:
Blondie Swanson, Wally Stiles, Norman Saugstad, Morten Svisdahl, Dean Gurr, Bobby Roberts, Stan Levelton, Ralph Sneyd, Curtiss Urseth, Mike Christensen, Ed Willson