Coastal Communities, Pacific Northwest
Port Kusam is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, just south of Kelsey Bay, it is below the snow capped peat of mount Kusam. In the beginning, the port was accessed by water or by traveling a 4.5 mile long trail that wound up and over a 1000 foot ridge, this trail ran from the Sayward Valley.
T. Peterson,a settler who moved into the area at the end on the 1800’s built a store at Port Kusam and in 1899, a government post office was opened in his store. There was a dock at the store where supplies were brought in by boat, the other settlers in the Sayward Valley would walk or ride horseback to Peterson’s store to purchase supplies and pick up mail.
Next to Peterson’s store, the Ruby Hotel was built to accommodate travelers in the area, the store is mostly gone now but you can see the hotel still, although it has fallen in and the land is claiming the site back. On July 1st, 1903, Peterson sold his store to Otto Sacht, who had immigrated from Germany, Mr Sacht became the new postmaster. Otto also built another store at the mouth of the Salmon River.
By 1911, a road had been built into Kelsey bay and Otto closed down his store at Port Kusam and moved the post office to his new store in Kelsey Bay. Otto was still the post master. Today, as you drive through Sayward, you can a sign on the stone gates of the Armishaw farm, it reads, The K’Kusam Trail. I used to stop at this store when i was in the area, it was built at the end of the road.
Following the trail into Port Kusam is a great hike now, the trail is still in good shape and the climb is not so bad. At the end of the trail is some pretty cool ruins, you can see quite a few of the old buildings as they are being claimed by the earth.
The Port itself is a beautiful place, lots of grassy shores and rocky bluffs, its a place that you will find very interesting. There is a good chance you could see wildlife on the trail, Black Bears and cougars, elk or deer and many other types of forest creatures and birds are commonly seen here, so bring your camera.