On the 2019 May long weekend members of the Vanderhoof Flying club and the BCGA flew and drove into the abandoned Woodcock Airstrip located on the banks of the Skeena River near Kitwanga in between Smithers and Terrace just outside Seven Sisters Provincial Park. Pilots came from as far as Chilliwack and Chetwynd.
The Woodcock airstrip was built in the 1940s by the RCAF as a detachment of RCAF Air Station Smithers. All that remains of Detachment Woodcock is the crumbling runway. The airfield was maintained as an emergency airfield after the war, but fell into disuse until 1969, when the Terrace Skydiving Club began using it until around 2004, when the club re-located to Beaverley Airport.
In the decades since it stopped being maintained the runway has become saturated with moss and saplings. Occasionally local pilots carefully pick their way through the over growth and use the airstrip to enjoy the remote backcountry and fish the Skeena River.
"All 3 couples drove in Friday night. Saturday, Bill was the first to fly in from Terrace for the morning. Then in the afternoon the Lauren’s, Ian, and Tyler flew in. The chainsaw needed sharpening by the afternoon so they had to wait til the next morning when Bill flew in with a sharpener to finish off clearing the trees they wanted gone. Jeff and Penny cleared the cut trees off of the runway and pulled that machine out of the way. Anne, Rick, Ian, Marty, Helki, Tyler and I scraped the runway. Jason, Bill and the rest of the guys helped out with getting those trees down. Marty was so proud to use his handsaw for the first time. Sunday we worked some more and then the planes took off one by one. Jeff and Penny departed Sunday afternoon as well. Rick/Anne and us took advantage of another night with the beautiful scenery and headed out Monday afternoon. The weather couldn’t have been better!
We had an awesome time at Woodcock this weekend! I want to once again thank you so much for your support of this event!! I love the fact that we made a bunch of new pilot friends and relationships developed along with the willingness of the different flying clubs to support each other in promoting the fun of aviation. I’m sending a copy of the receipts for the Saturday lunch."
Thanks to the team's efforts there is now over 1700' of moss and sampling free runway to be used by pilots. The BCGA is proud to have sponsored lunch for this event.