The New Pathways to Gold Society was created in 2007 as a vehicle to realize sustaining community legacies from British Columbia's 150th year celebrations with a focus on economic development via investment in heritage tourism and continued reconciliation with First Nations.
Since its inception, New Pathways to Gold Society has taken a leadership role in working collaboratively with communities, First Nations and tourism organizations. The society strives to promote a grassroots reconciliation process between First Nations and communities based on a stronger understanding of our shared history. New Pathways To Gold encourages British Columbians to rediscover and explore BC's unique history while creating heritage legacies that generate new and sustaining tourism opportunities with a specific focus on the Hope to Barkerville Gold Rush corridor.
With financial support from Northern Development, the New Pathways to Gold Society was able to create a new website and market tourism opportunities in the Fraser River corridor and throughout British Columbia. The society has taken on many projects and partnered with several different community groups throughout the corridor. One highly successful partnership is the Chasing the Golden Butterfly passport/geocache heritage tourism initiative. The initiative takes tourists through the original Gold Rush/Spirit Trails and encourages them to stop in communities to experience the living history of the corridor, have their passports stamped or find a geocache hidden at a historic site.
"New Pathways to Gold Society's partnership with Northern Development has enabled us to put a spotlight on a corridor that has tremendous heritage tourism potential. Working together, we've shown millions of potential tourists that it's about living history, not a dead past."
Don Hauka, Communications and Creative Director, New Pathways to Gold Society
"It was this series of caches that got us started on geocaching last summer. We were on our way to Barkerville and had read about the New Pathways to Gold in the local paper. It had mentioned geocaches and we thought it might make the trip more interesting. We gave it a try with a really old borrowed GPS and were hooked by the time we came home. Our first ever cache was the Inn at Spences Bridge New Pathways cache. It was fun to visit one we hadn't been to and see how many caches we have found since the series got us hooked."
Cachers in the Wry
Positive Economic Impacts in the Thompson-Nicola
Since 2007, New Pathways To Gold Society has raised the media profile of the Gold Rush/Spirit Trails corridor with headline-grabbing projects like the Fraser River War Symposium in 2007, Stephen Hume's Simon Fraser Bicentennial Lecture series, and the 'Great Bulwer Lytton Proff vs. Toff Debate', that garnered international media coverage. With Northern Development's funding support, New Pathways to Gold Society produced the Canyon War: The Untold Story documentary, which has won two awards from prestigious international film festivals (including a Platinum for best in category at the Houston International Film Festival) and been broadcast to millions of viewers on Aboriginal People's Television Network (APTN) and the Knowledge Networks The Motherlode travelling musical revue presented songs and stories from the corridor to audiences all over the province in 2008.
The Barkerville-based troupe from Theatre Royal told stories for over three months and staged 80 performances and 20 workshops in 45 communities while covering 17,000 kilometers. They reached thousands of people who loved what they saw.
The New Pathways to Gold Society's current focus is on its Heritage Trails Program, which has seen $600,000 invested in the Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail, which runs from 70 Mile House to Horsefly. Other projects include an initiative to reinvigorate the Gold Rush/Spirit Trails marketing brand and Tracebook, a social media marketing initiative in partnership with Barkerville Historic Town and the Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC.
These projects have not only elevated the corridor's profile, they've created jobs. In 2007 alone, New Pathways To Gold created 776 person-days of employment and contributed over $525,000 to local economies. Other initiatives, like the New Pathways to Gold Heritage Trails Project, will continue to add substantially to those totals.
The New Pathways to Gold Society has encouraged local residents to travel throughout British Columbia and continues to attract tourists from outside of British Columbia to the region.
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