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Gold Rush

The Cariboo Gold Rush took place in the Cariboo Mountains region between 1860 and 1863. It began when prospectors drawn from the Fraser River Gold Rush discovered gold on the Horsefly River. After news spread of the rich payload found near bedrock at Barkerville, a large number of gold-seekers were also drawn to the former fur-trading territories of Chilcotin and Carrier. The most promising discoveries of free gold were made at Williams, Lightning and Lowhee creeks, but the former proved the richest; hence it became the centre of mining operations for the district. A trio of supply, service and administrative towns -- Richfield, Camerontown and Barkerville -- were established. Barkerville is the only one of the three to outlast the mining boom days. Barkerville's rich deposits were worked from 1864 to the 1930s.


With the completion of the Cariboo Road to Barkerville in 1865, all other trails to the Cariboo goldfields fell into disuse, except for local traffic. All along the road, ranches were established to take advantage of the traffic from freighting and staging. These early "mile houses" were virtually self-sufficient, producing their own crops and livestock and providing accommodation to travellers. The individual ranches were strung like beads along a few roads and trails. Because of the transitory nature of the population and the vagaries of the gold rush economy, most of these ranches changed hands several times during the 1860s, but continued to play an important part in the local economy. Road and trail traffic dictated that ranches along the main routes had the most potential to survive, however, the pattern of settlement along the routes was not uniform. More typically, ranches were grouped around the best grazing and watering places.


100 Mile House is a centre for outdoor activities and is becoming increasingly known for its richness of bird life. The surrounding area features hundreds of lakes for boating and fishing including 101 Mile Lake, 103 Mile Lake, Lac La Hache, Canim Lake, Horse Lake, Green Lake, Bridge Lake and Sheridan Lake. The Cariboo ski marathon attracts a large and international field of cross-country (Nordic) skiers. The surrounding communities have various activities for residents and visiting tourists, including rodeos and an extensive trail system. This area is known for outdoor activities including hiking, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and ATV riding. There are government campgrounds at Green Lake, Bridge Lake and Lac La Hache.


Summer wildfires in the 2018 created a challenging atmosphere for the forestry and tourism industry, destroyed some homes and businesses, and affected overall employment. Despite this challenges, Cariboo’s overall economy remained relatively healthy. An increase in construction activity, strong demand for pulp, and high lumber prices offset some of the negative effects of the wildfires.

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