If you haven’t travelled the Gold Rush Trail yet, we have no doubt that you will fall in love with the region and all that it has to offer. Many of us work and play here and we want everyone to discover what makes it all so special. And while we all love this place so much, it’s important we don’t love it to death. There are many ideas and tips that go into making a trip to our region sustainable, all of which you can take with you from the Gold Rush Trail and beyond.
Leave no trace
Some of the most well-known principals to the outdoor industry is the Leave No Trace Principles. Leave No Trace Canada is “a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and inspiring responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and partnerships. Leave No Trace builds awareness, appreciation and respect for our wildlands.” The principles are as follows:
- Plan ahead and prepare
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces
- Dispose of waste properly
- Leave what you find
- Minimize Campfire Impacts (and always be sure to check BC wildfire status for your destination and if there are any fire bans in the area)
- Respect wildlife
- Be considerate of others
The ten essentials
Whether you’re going into the backcountry or car camping, lots of our region does not have cell services so you must be prepared for anything. The Ten Essentials have been updated to reflect modern technology and it’s a good idea to keep lots of these items stored in the car for emergencies any time of year.
- Navigation: map, compass, altimeter, GPS device, personal locator beacon (PLB) or satellite messenger
- Headlamp: plus extra batteries
- Sun protection: sunglasses, sun-protective clothes and sunscreen
- First aid: including foot care and insect repellent (as needed)
- Knife: plus a gear repair kit
- Fire: matches, lighter, tinder and/or stove
- Shelter: carried at all times (can be a light emergency bivy)
- Extra food: Beyond the minimum expectation
- Extra water: Beyond the minimum expectation
- Extra clothes: Beyond the minimum expectation
Knowledge and respect of community and locals
From the Lower Mainland to the Bridge River Valley, through the Fraser Canyon and into the Cariboo, the Gold Rush Trail is made up of diverse communities who have called these lands home since time immemorial. Respecting the places you travel means educating yourself on who lives in these locations–luckily the Gold Rush Trail provides ample opportunity to learn about its history and people who live here. Discover transformative Indigenous experiences at Tuckkwiowhum Heritage Village near Boston Bar (call ahead before arriving) Xwisten Experience Tours near Lillooet, or Xatsull Heritage Village near Williams Lake and learn from those who have known this region the longest. Learn about the diverse Gold Rush history at the many museuems and heritage sites along the Gold Rush Trail. A few highlights are Barkerville Historic Town & Park or Historic Hat Creek. And of course, no matter where you go or stay, many of the guest ranches, lodges, and experiences are family-run operations with friendly locals always willing to share their story.
Whether you’re buying goods to take home or perishables to feed hungry adventurer appetites, shopping local is important to supporting the communities you travel in and near. The BC Farmers’ Market Association is a great resource to scout out local farmers’ markets in the region and all over BC. You’ll also find fruit stands throughout the region and local shops selling goods locally around the Gold Rush Trail.
Offsetting your trip
Calculating your carbon impact can be easily done with Canadian non-profits like Offsetters. It’s a great way to give back to initiatives that help protect the world we play in. Consider offsetting your road trip and/or flights through this program or another of your liking.