In 1919, James F. MacDonald ("Mac") saw Princess Louisa Inlet for the first time. He purchased some 45 acres at the head of the Inlet in 1927 and built a lovely log cabin. He offered hospitality to all who came through the years.
In 1953 he deeded his property to the boaters of the Northwest, feeling that it was too lovely a spot to be owned by one person and that it should be preserved in its natural state for future generations to enjoy. At that time the Princess Louisa International Society was formed to administer the property. The Society is a non-profit organization governed by an equal number of Canadian and American Directors.
In 1964, when the British Columbia Parks Department declared the entire Inlet a recreation area, the Society Board decided, with Mac's blessing, that the property should be turned over to the Parks Department to become a Class A Marine Park. The Society continues to function as an advisory body and helps with maintenance costs which always run more than the budget of the Parks Department.
In 1970-71-72 a special campaign resulted in the Society raising sufficient money to build a beautiful lodge as a rainy day shelter for boaters and children visiting the Inlet. It was completed in 1972 and named the James F. MacDonald Memorial Lodge.
In 1972 Hamilton Island, about midway up the Inlet, 30.5 acres of low-level land behind the island and a couple of other small islands and rocks totaling 43.5 acres became available. In order to preserve this part of the Inlet in its natural state, the Society moved promptly to acquire this property. With the help of several Society members interested in preserving the Inlet in its natural state and avoiding encroachment by commercial interests, temporary financing was arranged through a campaign to raise the money over and above regular annual dues. The island has been renamed, MacDonald Island.
In 2001, the Society secured options to purchase the remaining freehold land in the Inlet from Weyerhaeuser Canada over a 10 year period.
In 2003, the Society, in partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and with the generous support of the Tula Foundation, Weyerhaeuser and our members, purchased the 2,221acres immediately surrounding Mac's original lands and added it to the Marine Park. The Society is continuing to raise funds to acquire the remainder of the land under option.