FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(CACHE CREEK) Author, poet and columnist Stephen Hume will play postman as he helps kick off the Chasing the Golden Butterfly program.
The Vancouver Sun columnist will be at the Gold Country Communities Society offices June 22 when the program passports arrive. He’ll deliver them to Visitor Centres, museums and heritage sites from Cache Creek and Barkerville and do some butterfly chasing of his own by having his passport stamped and hunting for geocaches en route.
“I’m really looking forward Chasing the Golden Butterfly along this route,” said Hume. “It’s fun to experience some of B.C.’s vibrant and colourful living history.”
The Chasing the Golden Butterfly program combines a traditional passport program (like the one used during Expo 86) with the emerging pastime of geocaching to encourage travelers to visit historic sites along three routes in the B.C. Interior.
The colourful passport pictures, fun facts, maps and coordinates for 88 living history sites. It also contains the stories of three period characters traveling those routes, allowing tourists to follow in their footsteps. Each character is “chasing the Golden Butterfly,” a term used in D.W. Higgins’ book on the 1858 Fraser River Rush, The Mystic Spring.
“Chasing the Golden Butterfly offers our residents and visitors a unique approach to learning more about British Columbia’s history and heritage, having lots of fun along the way,” said, Vancouver Coast and Mountain Tourism Region President Kevan Ridgway.
“Children will be enthralled with the stories from First Nations and their own families as they search for the geocaches, an excellent opportunity for grandparents and parents to explore together.”
The routes wind through spectacular scenery, vibrant communities and heritage sites that date back as far as 10,000 years. Route One, “The Pathway To Gold,” follows the Trans-Canada and Highway 97 from Hope to Barkerville in the Cariboo. Route Two, “The Spirit Trail,” takes you from Port Douglas atop Lake Harrison all the way to Hat Creek, near Lillooet. Route Three, “The Round Up Route,” is a magnificent Circle Tour starting in Cache Creek and winding through communities like Merritt, Logan Lake and Ashcroft.
Chase your own golden butterfly and feel the power of Utszím’alh, a supernatural transformer at the sacred site of Ncát’us on Route Two. Visit Yale on Route One and walk down historic Front Street, the hub of the 1858 gold rush, the building of the CPR and the spot where B.C. decided to join Confederation. Or ride the trail with Nam Sing, a 19th Century Chinese cowboy who roamed the sage brush-clad hills on Route Three.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Aboriginal Tourism operators along the routes to share the authentic history of the Gold Rush from an Aboriginal perspective,” said Aboriginal Tourism Association of B.C. CEO, Keith Henry.
The program is a partnership between the New Pathways to Gold Society, BC150, Gold Country Communities Society, Vancouver Coast and Mountain Tourism Region, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association, B.C. Transmission Corporation, Aboriginal Tourism B.C and communities. It has the support of B.C. Husky and Mohawk retailers.
“It’s a fun program for all ages and it’s valuable to every aspect of our tourism economy,” said Scott Kovatch of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association.
Visitors can use the passport document as their guide or check out the geocaching clues/coordinates on the New Pathways to Gold Society website, newpathwaystogold.ca. Or they can do a combination of both. Once they’ve visited a site, they can either get their passport stamped or sign the logbook at the geocache.
“This program gives people a chance to take a page out of our shared past,” said New Pathways to Gold Society co-chair Chris O’Connor. “And they can do it with the help of 21st Century technology.”
Passports are available at participating Visitor Centres, Husky and Mohawk stations and partner organizations like local museums and heritage centres. A complete list is posted at newpathwaystogold.ca. They can be stamped at participating Visitor Centres and facilities near each site. A complete list of stamp sites and distribution points is posted at newpathwaystogold.ca.