Dr. Peter Murphy describes the history of the fur trade in Canada and the race between the Americans and Canadians to reach the Pacific via overland and the Columbia River. The Great Portage, "La Grande Traverse" was the one of the two major portages on the fur trading route from York Factory on Hudson Bay to the mouth of the Columbia River on the west coast. From 1811 onwards for almost fifty years, this was a key route traveled twice a year by Canadian fur trading expeditions.
La Grand Traverse from Jasper House on the Athabasca River to the Big Bend on the Columbia River was a rugged trek in snow and high water across the high pass between the Columbia River and the Athabasca River. The first fur trade explorers (David Thompson) and other adventurers who travelled La Grande Traverse describe a dangerous trek rather than a portage. Disaster Point was a notable hardship trek for travelers and their horses.
Dr. Peter Murphy is Professor Emeritus of Forestry with the Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta. He is co-author of " A Hard Road to Travel" about the land. forests and people of the Upper Athabasca River from Hinton, Alberta to Jasper National Park. His presentation was the evening keynote address at the 2013 Forest History Association of Alberta annual general meeting, March 2013.
This video is part 2 of 5.