Here’s a revolutionary idea for Bastille Day: chase the Golden Butterfly from Stanley Park to Stanley-Bark(erville).

The Chasing the Golden Butterfly geocache/passport program kicks off its 2010 season July 14 with a “mega-event” stretching from Vancouver to the Cariboo, with activities in Stanley Park, Hope, Princeton, Wells and Stanley, near Barkerville.

A heritage initiative coordinated by the New Pathways to Gold Society (NPTGS), Chasing the Golden Butterfly combines a traditional passport program like the one used during Expo 86 with the geocaching to encourage travelers to visit historic sites along three routes in the B.C. Interior.

And as of July 14, you’ll be able to chase butterflies starting in Vancouver as the program welcomes Klahowya Village in Stanley Park aboard.

“What better way to spend Bastille Day than joining the geocache revolution? You can go from Klahowya Village all the way to the Cariboo,” said NPTGS Director Cheryl Chapman, also Training and Development Coordinator for Aboriginal Tourism B.C.

Klahowya Village is one of several sites that will have new geocaches activated on July 14. Geocaching is a hi-tech treasure-hunting pastime that uses a Global Positioning System (GPS) device. Played all over the world, geocaching is a great way to explore B.C.’s historic sites and heritage trails.

New caches to be activated July 14 can be found in the neighbourhood of:

  • Klahowya Village, Stanley Park: This authentic First Nations village created by Aboriginal Tourism B.C.  has two new geocaches.
  • Peers Creek Trailhead, Hope:  This “new” trail restores the historic 1849 Hudson’s Bay Brigade Trail, which followed an ancient First Nations trading route. The Hope Mountain Centre project has one new cache stashed away.
  • Stanley, Wells and Barkerville Historic Town: Three new caches follow the historic Cariboo Waggon Road from the former boomtown of Stanley to Wells and beyond to Barkerville Historic Town, the colourful gold rush heritage site.

“This mega-event is a great way to let people know that the facilities at our trailhead at Peers Creek are open,” said Kelly Pearce of the Hope Mountain Centre.

“Hikers will find a kiosk, fire ring, benches, outhouse and interpretive signs at the entrance to this spectacular trail.”

The trio of new caches in Stanley, Wells and Barkerville come with amazing stories as well as spectacular scenery.

“Stanley had a thriving community of Chinese miners that endured incredible hardships during the gold rush,” said Barkerville Historic Town spokesperson James Douglas.

“Today it’s the trailhead of a 20 kilometre section of intact Cariboo Waggon Road that leads to Wells and on to Barkerville.”

In addition to new caches, the Chasing the Golden Butterfly program is adding existing caches from more communities and partner organizations. The Princeton Visitor Centre and Chamber of Commerce is adding four of their existing caches to the program.

“With Princeton at the other end of the 1849 HBC Brigade Trail, we think there’s a great connection here,” said a opriate Princeton Spokesman.

As well, existing caches from the Gold Country Communities Society (GCCS) GeoTourism Program are being added to the day’s events. GCCS is a partner in the Chasing the Golden Butterfly program.

“Gold Country has been an active participant in the Chasing the Golden Butterfly program from the beginning and we’re delighted to share our GeoTourism caches and history of the region during the Butterfly event,” shares Amy Thacker, GCCS Marketing Manager.

Chasing the Golden Butterfly is supported  by a partnership between NPTGS, BC150, GCCS, ATBC, Vancouver Coast and Mountain Tourism Association, Cariboo Coast Chilcotin Tourism Association, B.C. Transmission Corporation and community sponsors.