Saturday, August 20, 2011

Amenities abound in 108 Mile House

I spent the last week traveling with my horses, dogs, husband and friends up to the Hills Health Ranch at 108 Mile House, BC. I make this trip annually to participate in a competitive trail ride hosted by BC Competitive Trail Riders Association. The venue is set up with corrals that are build and maintained by the Backcountry Horsemen of BC and if you stay there with your horses, you can use the resort facilities such as showers, pool, hot tub, restaurant and pub. A very nice arrangement and one I'd encourage other private ranches to pursue. There are few places for equestrian travelers to do this at in BC. There is much potential...

While there, we ride the trails at the ranch and on adjacent lands, fish in nearby lakes, golf at the 108 Mile course, mountain bike and run the trails. This region is a great example of a rural region that has identified its amenities and gone about using them to bring people in for a short time (visitors) or a long time (part and full time residents). While business and traffic is slow, as I understand, there remains a lot of potential in this destination.

One of the great assets that the area has protected and promoted, is the 108 Mile House Historic Site where the 105 Ranch House rests. This impressive historic site is run, like most of them in BC, by a dedicated group of volunteers and local ambassadors. We were greeted by the volunteers who told us about their efforts and their situation, which again, is not unlike other historic sites in BC. While we have tremendous heritage assets in the province, many struggle to survive. They are often not viewed as stakeholders in tourism, yet they are important ones. Their priorities often focus on maintaining and presenting heritage so that residents and visitors can appreciate its role and value to society. In doing so, they create valuable experiences for visitors and a sense of place and pride for local residents. The story of the evolution of this site is worth noting - read more about it on the linked site above. And better yet, plan a visit next time you are in that area. Thanks volunteers for your efforts, and local artisans for all the goodies we purchased in the gift shop.