- Our Town
Adventures on the Fraser River with Doug Green
If it’s adventure you’re after Doug Green can most likely help you find it.
A world traveller, a tour guide, a traditional Tsilqhot’in hunter and gatherer — Green wouldn’t call any other place than the Chilcotin home.
He now owns and operates Cariboo Chilcotin Jetboat Adventures (CCJA) on the Fraser River with his partner, Charlene Lupien, and is a director for Aboriginal Tourism B.C. for the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast.
Doug grew up in Meldrum Creek in a sawmill camp. His dad, Al Green, was the foreman. His mom, Julie, was a Palmantier. Her dad — Doug’s grandfather — Leonard Palmantier, was a famous rodeo cowboy.
“We were neighbours to the Colliers,” Doug recalls of growing up in the 60s. “An English fellow named Eric Collier — he wrote the book Three Against the Wilderness — moved out into the Chilcotin and became a trapper behind where we live.
“It was a great little community. I think back to the Halloween parties when I was a kid everyone would get in an old log cabin, there would be live music, everybody would be dressed up including the adults, and we’d just play games like bobbing for apples, pin the tail on the donkey — old style. They’d do the same at Christmas. West Fraser, who owned the logging area, they flew Santa Claus out in a helicopter.”
Despite growing up with rodeo cowboys Doug never really got into the sport, he said.
“My dad was more of a mechanic and a logger so I kind of followed him,” he said. “And my mom was too much of a worry wart to let us get on bulls.”
Instead of joining the rodeo circuit Doug began working at a young age.
“I started falling trees when I was 18, but just in the summers, of course,” he said. “In one of my first falling jobs, I was one of the younger fallers in Fort Nelson area.”
That career evolved for Doug and eventually he got into some heli-falling. He worked for companies in Squamish and Prince George and did some conventional logging as well.
“That career allowed me to travel throughout Central America, all over Mexico, the U.S., southeast Asia and Japan,” he said.
It was practically right in his own back yard, however, where Green would stumble upon his passion.
“I was living down near Pemberton and I was working out there at the time, and a guy there had a jet boat operation,” he said. “That’s what got me intrigued in starting an operation on the Fraser.
“But another time I was out in the back end of Taseko Lake — We were camped out there — and were eating dinner out on the beach. It had taken us a couple of days to get there just slowly crawling on an old four-by-four road. We’d been there a couple of days and we saw a jet boat ripping up the lake and come cruising right up the beach where we were camped. They popped out these little ramps and they just ran a four-wheeler out. It looked so easy and so nice I thought, ‘Man, I’ve got to get me one of those.’ So I did.”
Doug now runs multi-day and day tours, that include historic, cultural, and exciting, scenic sections on the Fraser River from Soda Creek to Lillooet.
“Having travelled for months at a time and having observed what other people have done in other countries as far as tourism operations it got me interested in doing my own thing here at home because it’s so amazingly beautiful here,” he said.
“A lot of places in the world are very touristy and overrun. It’s totally different here. B.C. is relatively pristine, and especially the Cariboo Chilcotin. I always grew up doing traditional things, living in the bush and hunting and fishing, so it’s just a natural fit to be working in the middle of it.”
Doug and Charlene always incorporate aboriginal culture along their tours. Guests, who visit Williams Lake from around the world, even get to try their hand at dip-netting, accompanied by a salmon barbecue on the river shore.
“It’s totally fresh right out of the river, we teach our guests about the flora and fauna and their medicinal and food properties and incorporate some of them into our meals,” Doug said.
“There are also a number of petroglyphs and pictographs we share,” Charlene added.
CCJA does a cultural tour, a gold rush tour and, more recently, offers a multi-day Photo Safari Workshop tour with award-winning local photographer Chris Harris.
“That really incorporates everything from the First Nation, early explorer history to the gold rush to everything after that,” he said. “As we go to Soda Creek we talk about the paddle wheelers and visit old gold mining sites, things like that.”
CCJA, which Doug and Charlene began in 1999, has also been involved in some major projects over the years.
In 2006 Doug took Vancouver Sun writer Stephen Hume and a photographer along the Fraser River retracing the footsteps of Simon Fraser. Hume, in turn, wrote a book about the adventure - Simon Fraser: In Search of Modern British Columbia.
“No one had ever done such an extensive study,” he said. “The river was at its highest in its recorded history at the time so it made for some pretty interesting stories. It was really big water.”
More recently, however, Green was involved in a mountain bike film project called Where the Trail Ends — a movie filmed by Nelson-based Freeride Entertainment and funded by Red Bull. Williams Lake pro rider James Doerfling is featured in the film, which took riders to remote places throughout the world including China’s Gobi desert.
“Derek Westerlund from Freeride Entertainment contacted me about it,” Green said. “We’d done a movie called Back in the Saddle with some local guys — Ambrose Weingart and Cory Leclerc. So he’d heard of us and asked me if I wanted to help out.
“Within a few days we’d put it all together and that’s what we did.”
The Fraser River portion of the movie was shot in October of 2011. Doug took a crew of five riders, including Doerfling, out on the Fraser to film for the movie. Two helicopters also followed alongside.
“We were out there for 10 days. But we filmed mostly near a camp I have at Riske Creek.”
Green said that was the best part about working with the film crew — having it be shot right in both his and James’ backyard.
“That was one of the reasons I did it because we had a local rider,” he said. “I didn’t realize at the time how big it was going to be but I knew James was in it. I figured he’s one of the best bikers around and he should be recognized as that.
And, the area. I wanted to bring some notoriety to Williams Lake for the mountain bike people and share the Fraser River and what I do. It was really great.” Earlier in September the crew, including Doug and Doerfling, attended the film’s world premiere in Las Vegas.
Locally to celebrate the Cariboo Chilcotin Mountain Bike Consortium are premiering the film in Williams Lake Nov. 29 at Paradise Cinemas.