The Fraser River corridor reverberates with history, but decades of under-investment and diminished tourist travel has taken a toll. The heritage assets of the Cariboo are under stress while communities there face uncertainty after the harvesting of pine beetle wood.
Consultations in the past two years with a broad spectrum of British Columbians (including historians, authors, First Nations, mayors and tourism operators) have convinced us that B.C.’s history is an undervalued asset, one we can capitalize on.
The NPTGS’s strategy is to:
- Build cultural content and develop new initiatives.
- Market and promote the content and initiatives.
- Successfully deliver the initiatives in 2008.
We believe that history and stories cannot be left to museums and dusty archives: they must be communicated in new ways so British Columbians can experience them.
The NPTGS has identified a list of potential projects that will encourage British Columbians to rediscover their history. We’ll work with other groups to continue to generate ideas and implement all initiatives successfully. Some examples of projects that could be undertaken as part of BC150 initiatives include:
- The Chief David Spintlum Precinct: central to the events of 1858. Projects related to the Canyon War could include developing an historical site in Lytton adjacent to Spint’lum’s grave and the commemoration of other Canyon War historical sites.
- The birth of B.C. Multiculturalism in 1858: The Fraser River Gold Rush brought a plethora of cultures to B.C. Chinese, Kanakan, Mexican and black miners played key roles in founding B.C. Projects related to multiculturalism could include an inventory of Chinese historical sites, outreach to Chinese community in Vancouver to build support for protecting those sites and outreach to other multicultural communities about linkages to 1858.
- Historic Markers: Review BC’s existing roadside historical markers and develop new content for 2008 that take into account First Nations perspectives.
- Live Events and Cultural Programming: A coordinated “pageant” of events taking place during the summer of 2008. Complementary to this initiative, NPTG proposes to train local ambassadors to bring the stories of B.C. history to life for tour operators.
- Use IT, don't lose it: Information Technology and 2008: Options include compiling interpretive CDs giving details on historic sites and communities (as well as tourist information) and using MP3 technology specifically aimed at youth as educational tools and marketing devices.
- Schools Program: Work with the school system to develop a plan to encourages more schools experience B.C. history first hand, starting in the Hope-Barkerville corridor. Also, NPTG would develop troupes of performers who could bring the stories of 1858 to schools directly.
- A modern treasure hunt with Geocaching: Growing in popularity, geocaching is an adventure game for GPS (Global Positioning System) users. The potential for geocache tourists into the corridor is huge.
While some initiatives are specific to the Hope-Barkerville corridor, NPTG takes a provincial view. Many projects, like the Schools program, will benefit other regions.
The NPTG society will also actively support initiatives brought forward by the BC150 Secretariat, Coast Mountain Tourism, the 2010 Spirit Committees and other community-based organizations such as the Fraser Canyon Strategy Committee.