In 2008, Upper Nechako Wilderness Council received a $20,000 grant from Northern Development through the Marketing Initiatives program towards this $180,620 project. This has been a funding partnership of Upper Nechako Wilderness Council, Northern Development, Community Economic Diversification Initiative, and Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako
2012- Imagine being first on the lake, last at the fire, alone with nature. Just imagine fishing, flying, wildlife viewing, canoeing, hiking, quading and hunting all awaits you in Big River Country, in central British Columbia. Twenty wilderness resort and tourism operators in Big River Country, a land of sparkling lakes and clear rivers, from the Nechako River at the northern boundary, to the Entiako and Blackwater rivers in the south, and west to the Dean River have formed a non-profit organization to collaboratively market the region as a tourism destination.
The Upper Nechako Wilderness Council completed a strategic marketing plan and prioritized a number of marketing opportunities for the Big River Country region. The council has developed the Big River Country tourism brand and logo, produced a regional tourism marketing website for the region, a tradeshow display booth, tourism advertising and highway signage, and a regional tourism marketing brochure with the funding support of Northern Development.
"When the mountain pine beetle epidemic swept through Vanderhoof, the catch phrase was 'diversify the economy'. With the help of Northern Development and other funding organizations, we were able to leverage our money and bring together a major marketing initiative to do just that - diversify the Vanderhoof economy by increasing tourism in the region. Creating the brand "Big River Country" unified the tourism sector and has increased local awareness of tourism's contribution to the local economy."Daniel Brooks, Chair, Nechako Wilderness Council
This tourism marketing initiative has been a tremendous success for the tourism sector in the Vanderhoof economy. Prior to the project, the tourism operators were making individual yet somewhat limited progress on regional tourism marketing with a lack of community marketing supporting the promotion of wilderness tourism in the region. The project has unified the wilderness tourism sector under the Big River Country brand and created the marketing products to promote the brand to the world and attract tourists to the region.
This project has provided the foundation upon which Big River Country can build a regional tourism industry that attracts international exposure as a preferred wilderness destination. The council is focused on improving the viability of their members' tourism operations, attracting new tourism investment to the region, and increasing the contribution of tourism to the local economy of Vanderhoof and regional economy of central British Columbia.