Jack Boudreau, B.C.'s northern backwoods chronicler, dead at 84

The popular historian wrote several B.C. bestsellers telling the stories he collected as a postmaster, forester and outdoor enthusiast in northern B.C.

Popular historian wrote several B.C. bestsellers telling stories he collected as outdoor enthusiast

Boudreau worked in several jobs related to B.C.'s forest industry prior to his retirement in 1993, when he turned his attention to writing. (Jack Boudreau)

Jack Boudreau, author of several provincial bestsellers chronicling the history and stories of northern B.C.'s backwoods, has died at the age of 84.

Boudreau wrote nine books, which continue to be stocked at grocery stores, gas stations, community museums and bookstores throughout northern British Columbia.

Boudreau authored nine books about northern British Columbia. (Caitlin Press/Harbour Press)

Born in the small community of Penny, B.C., east of Prince George, Boudreau worked as the local postmaster and later as a forester, industrial first-aid attendant and forest firefighter.

He was also an avid outdoorsman — enjoying hiking, fishing and skiing in B.C.'s backwoods. In both his work and recreation, he collected stories from people he met that he would later document in his books.

His first collection, Crazy Man's Creek, told the stories of trappers and outfitters in the McGregor Range east of Prince George, their confrontations with local wildlife and the hardships of long, cold winters.

It was a provincial bestseller, as was the follow-up, Grizzly Bear Mountain, which focused on his own childhood in Penny and his burgeoning fascination with the outdoors.

Author Jack Boudreau in Prince George, B.C. (Jack Boudreau)

Other topics were the sternwheelers that navigated the Fraser River before the arrival of the railway, the life stories of local guide outfitters and his ongoing interest in grizzly bears. 

Boudreau died Jan. 19 in Pincher Creek, Alta., where he had recently been living. 

A celebration of his life is planned for Prince George on Saturday Feb. 3 at Vanier Hall.