When summer comes around, it’s almost certain strange new faces may be sighted in the South Cariboo hoping to experience what the region has to offer.
“The main attracts here are the demonstrated forest trails. Everybody likes our hiking trails [and] our biking trails. Kayaking is becoming quite the phenomenon, the lakes, fishing of course. Just the outdoor adventures we have,” said Julie Gilmore, manager of the Visitor Centre.
Compared to last year, the number of tourists dropping into the centre is down by five per cent in June but April and May had a strong start. Gilmore also said with school ending, she expects that more families from around the province and Alberta will start visiting.
On an average day, the centre sees roughly a 152 people, including people travelling through the highway and stopping in town for a walk around the park or other daily activities. Last year, the centre averaged roughly 200 visitors a day in late June.
“We’ve had [visitors] from Germany, Belgium, Spain, Australia – a lot of Australians so far – and Great Britain. We’re getting a lot of mix from the international,” said Gilmore.
She added that the international visitors are staying longer than usual and are being more liberal with their itinerary because they have noticed how big the Cariboo-Chilcotin is and want to experience the activities its residents do on a daily basis.
Gilmore’s recommended visit is a circle tour of sorts. Visitors can start off in 100 Mile House and go up the Canim Lake area to stay the night in the Canim Lake area then coming down Mahood Road to Highway 24. After spending a night or two fishing along the highway, she said to go down Watch Lake into Green Lake then back to 100 Mile House.
She recommended this route because there is so much to see and do.
“I’m hoping that we see at least a 20 to 30 per cent increase into our indoor visits this year going into the mid-season,” said Gilmore on how she hopes July and August pan out.
Gilmore said some people are still under the assumption 100 Mile House and the surrounding area is still burnt out, a misconception the Visitor Centre has been working really hard to change through marketing with Destination BC and local bloggers.
According to her, a lot of visitors come in and are surprised not to see the devastation of the fires and ask the staff where they can go to see them.