The New Pathways to Gold Society (NPTGS) has received funding from the BC Rural Dividend Program to rebuild sections of the historic Cariboo Wagon Road. The Society received $54,550 for the initial phase of Cariboo Wagon Road Restoration Project. The NPTGS initiative was one of 11 projects in the Cariboo region to receive funding under the program.
“We are tremendously excited to receive these funds and we look forward to working with our project partners to survey and assess sections of the road during this first phase,” said NPTGS Co-Chair Terry Raymond.
“The Cariboo Wagon Road was called the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ in its heyday and to walk on it is to connect with the excitement of the Cariboo Gold Rush, the fur trade era and millennia of First Nations trade and travel.”
The Cariboo Wagon Road was a marvel of 19th Century engineering and a multicultural megaproject that defined modern British Columbia. It stretched from Yale in the south to Barkerville in the north, traversing 650 kilometers of rugged terrain. It was built by hand, with Royal Engineers labouring side by side with First Nations and Chinese workers as well as gold seekers from around the globe.
The Cariboo Wagon Road Restoration Project (CWRRP) is a partnership between NPTGS and the District of 100 Mile House. The project also enjoys support from the Cariboo Regional District, BC Parks and the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC.
This initial phase of the project will focus on identifying and surveying sections of the Cariboo Wagon Road between Clinton and Lac La Hache. A three-person technical crew will survey the area to determine authenticity, identify access/permitting issues and prepare a detailed “restoration prescription” for intact road sections.
The mapping will take place in consultation with local First Nations, communities and businesses. NPTGS Indigenous Co-Chair Cheryl Chapman said consulting First Nations is critical because Indigenous Peoples made a big contribution to the road’s construction.
“First Nations provided much of the labour as well as knowledge of the local terrain and their existing trails network,” says Chapman.
“Were it not for the contributions made by Indigenous Peoples and the early Chinese arrivals, the Cariboo Wagon Road might never have been completed.”
NPTGS is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that partners with First Nations, communities, and all three levels of government to develop and deliver projects supporting local economies and creating heritage tourism assets in the Hope to Barkerville corridor. Since 2009, NPTGS and its partners have restored or built over 230 km of heritage trails.
The BC Rural Dividend Program grants help fund projects that support economic development and diversification in rural communities throughout the province. Administered by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, the program awarded just under $1 million to projects in the Cariboo region on April 22.
NPTGS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.