Fishing Highway a ‘land of hidden waters’

Irene Meili has spent the past three years trying to lure more guests to the Fishing Highway.

Irene Meili has spent the past three years trying to lure more guests to the Fishing Highway.

She’s staged outhouse races and organized fishing derbies. And now, thanks to funding last year from Destination BC, she is working with Kamloops, the North Thompson and Wells Gray to promote the “land of hidden waters” stretching along Highway 24, or the Fishing Highway.

A camera team will tour the region this week, using photos and drone footage to highlight the opportunities for fishing, kayaking and horseback riding, as well as the supporting businesses, along the corridor. Despite all it has to offer, Meili said, travellers tend to overlook the Fishing Highway when coming from the Rockies or travelling from Prince George to the Coast.

“Highway 24 has always been a little kept secret,” said Meili, chair of the Fishing Highway 24 Tourist Association. “People don’t know how many lakes we have. If you take the back roads and go away from the highway, it’s just a whole new world. There are just so many lakes waiting to be explored.”

Meili took over as chair of the Fishing Highway Tourism Association three years ago. The group represents businesses connected with tourism along Highway 24, including Horse Lake and businesses such as local guest houses and the Lone Butte Sporting Goods, Iron Horse Pub and Rona.

Meili was the marketing manager for IBM in Switzerland before she and her husband Ralph bought the Fawn Lake Resort and moved their family – they have two teenaged children – to the South Cariboo in 2013. She wasn’t a stranger to Canada, having spent her summers in the Okanagan, but maintains she loves the South Cariboo, with its wide-open spaces and warm and welcome hospitality.

“People are always positive, they are always assuming the best and not the worst,” she said. “You phone up someone and they will immediately help you.”

READ MORE: Discover BC’s Fishing Highway

Although most events were cancelled this year due to COVID-19, Meili said the opportunity to work with Kamloops and Wells Gray is a great way to promote the area by connecting the different areas and marketing them together. It’s been an ongoing project for many years.

“We’re not a high-end destination like the Okanagan,” she said. “They get lots of funding from the province that we have to work to get. This is kind of a foot in the door, just to become a little more important in the B.C. landscape when it comes to tourism.”

For Meili, volunteering is her small way to give back to a community where everyone seems to help each other. Her husband Ralph is also the treasurer of the association. She would like to see more volunteers help out, noting people want amenities like trails and events but don’t want to step up to help.

“It always goes both ways. You help someone, they help someone … we have to keep these old traditions – everyone volunteered, everyone helped.

“We have to cooperate in order to make everyone’s life easier and attract people to this area.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

100 Mile House

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

Williams Lake First Nation inks historic cannabis deal with B.C. government

The agreement paves the way for WLFN to sell cannabis to the government, and open stores across B.C.

Cariboo Regional District hopes to build low mobility trail at Esler Sports Complex

The regional district is applying for federal funding for trail construction and site upgrades

Low-mobility access at Mountain Spruce Community Park

Thanks to a grant from the Cariboo Regional District, the pathways around… Continue reading

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

First full day of B.C.’s election campaign begins amid COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and the Green party’s Sonia Furstenau criticized John Horgan’s decision

RCMP issue two $2,300 COVID fines at same Metro Vancouver vacation rental within 24 hours

Cpl. Mike Kalanj said it was ‘quite frankly appalling’ to see parties breaking COVID-19 rules

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Here’s how voting amid a pandemic will happen in B.C.

Elections BC has worked with the provincial health office to determine safety protocols for voting

B.C. privacy commissioner will hear First Nations complaints about COVID

The hearing will rely on written submissions from the Indigenous governments as well as the Ministry of Health

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

Most Read