Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Brigade Trails

I will just let all of you know what is happening in British Columbia, in regard to the many brigade trails around our province. There has recently been an upsurge of interest in these old trails, with many people volunteering to rediscover them and open them up. Michael K (Donald Manson descendent) has been interested in this for some time, but as a result of the recent trip my sister and I took around the province following the brigade trails, he has taken up the torch again.
The group who is opening up the brigade trail between Hope to Tulameen has, in hand, a lot of money from the Provincial Government. Their work on the Hope-Tulameen trail over the Coquihalla is already almost finished, and they are (I am told) even finding some of the old blazed trees that marked the original trail. But, in addition to finishing the Hope-Tulameen trail, they are spending some money in opening up the Harrison Lillooet Trail (really a road) which A. C. Anderson was responsible for building, and which followed the route of his first 1846 exploration through Anderson and Seton Lakes to Harrison Lake. Moreover, they are spending money on relocating all the old portions of the Caribou Road that led all the way up to Barkerville. This is all in the works -- but Michael K. has also approached them to ask them to spend some of that money on locating and geo-mapping the new brigade trail from the north shore of Kamloops Lake all the way past Loon and Green Lake, to Lac La Hache, Williams Lake, and Fort Alexandria.
There is a meeting in Hope on Thursday afternoon and Friday of this week. I cannot get there but Michael K. will be there, as will Ken F. who is another brigade trail researcher. Both of these men are historical-geographers (a profession I didn't know existed before now.) I expect great things out of this meeting, and will keep you all in touch. I think that to celebrate the opening of the trails, we should find all the fur-trade descendents we can find, and ride them -- on horse-back, as our ancestors did. Are we all ready for a massive family re-union, on horseback?
And you must realize the importance of Alexander Caulfield Anderson's 1867 map of British Columbia in this process -- his is the only record of the location of the new brigade trail from Kamloops through Green and Loon Lake. Now that the B.C. Archives has scanned in A.C.'s map and made the brigade trail's location accessible, people who are interested in the early history of the fur trade in this province -- or the gold rush -- will locate the route of these old trails.


  1. Family Reunion? Horseback? I'll be in that! What a great idea!

  2. Charles Hou has already offered to guide me over the Anderson River trail from Alexandra Bridge (Kequeloose) over Lake Mountain to the Anderson River at Boston Bar, then upward to Coldwater River and the Nicola Valley. If you're ready for that maybe next summer, we could arrange that and we would get all the stories from the man who worked to publicize and preserve the trail.