Princess Louisa International Society
Mac and the Princess Louisa International Society
Once you’re in Princess Louisa Inlet, you will never want to leave. Once you’re gone, you will crave a return trip. You may even entertain thoughts of returning to buy some property near Chatterbox Falls where you’ll build a modest cabin and live out your days. Everyone who visits this Canadian gem leaves with these daydreams but only one person has acted on them. James F. MacDonald was just an American tourist when he first saw “the Princess” in 1919. MacDonald, a businessman known simply as Mac, returned eight years later, in 1927, to buy 45 acres of property at the head of the inlet surrounding Chatterbox Falls. On the property, he built a log cabin where he lived for many years until he switched residences to a houseboat.
Mac loved the inlet’s natural beauty and delighted in opening his facilities to travelers taking in the Princess for the first time. From 1927 to 1953, boaters traveling to Chatterbox Falls found a friendly host in Mac. In 1953, Mac decided he was too old to maintain his property here. He turned down big money offers from prospective buyers, instead turning the property over to the non-profit Princess Louisa International Society. During his time in Princess Louisa, Mac has reconciled that such a wonderful place should not fall under the ownership of one man but be shared by the greater community to delight in its beauty. The Princess Louisa International Society would oversee the inlet’s protection from commercial and real estate development while provided travelers with services to better enjoy its resources.
In 1964, The Princess Louisa International Society turned the park over, with Mac’s blessing, to the British Columbia Parks Department, which designated the property as a marine park. The Princess Louisa International Society continues to survive today, raising fund to buy and protect land within the inlet and building shelters and facilities for those who travel there.
Paddling through the inlet you will pass an island with available camping at about the halfway point. This is an example of some of the property the Princess Louisa International Society has bought to preserve its availability to the masses. The island, originally called Hamilton Island, was renamed MacDonald Island by the Society after it was acquired in the early ‘70’s.
For more information about Mac and his relationship to the inlet, check out the book “Mac and the Princess” by Bruce Calhoun.
Learn more about Kayaking the Princess Louis Inlet with Kits Kayaking Tours