Participants in a brainstorming session held Dec. 11 in Dutch Lake Community Centre come up with ideas to promote more winter tourism in the area. Facing the camera at the near table are (l-r) Kathy Corbin from Valley Hideaway B&B, Sherri Madden, services coordinator for Wells Gray Country (Area A) and Thompson Headwaters (Area B), and Sharon McKay of the Bear’s Den Cookhouse.

Brainstorming session looks at winter tourism

“The one common thread throughout these wonderful ideas is the clear need for collaboration”

A winter tourism experience brainstorming session held Dec. 11 went very well, according to Stephanie Molina, marketing manager with Tourism Wells Gray.

“In total we had 16 participants for the session, including accommodations, guided activities, local clubs, local government and restaurants,” she reported.

READ MORE: New marketing manager starts at Tourism Wells Gray (Nov. 27, 2015)

The session began by inviting participants to think like a traveller by introducing them to the Explorer Quotient, a psychographic tool used by Destination Canada and Destination BC to understand what motivates visitors to travel.

“We then discussed reasons why winter tourism is important,” Molina said. “The participants thought developing more winter tourism was important as it would contribute to: year-round jobs, keeping businesses open all year, healthy community recreation, and contribute to the growth of the community and economy.”

Current and past winter experiences and activities in Clearwater and Wells Gray were inventoried.

The marketing manager then introduced some winter experience inspiration by looking at winter activities throughout Canada that we do not currently have in our area.

For example, she delved into a case study looking at the Flying Canoe Festival in Edmonton, which incorporates storytelling, Quebec culture, winter and ice activities, music and Indigenous culture in a natural and scenic setting.

Ideas that came forward from the brainstorming included:

• A winter festival focusing on the history of the North Thompson celebrating the Indigenous, pioneer, trapper and logger heritage of our area. The festival could incorporate storytelling, theatre, guided tours of kekulis, trapping, farming/agriculture, and historic sights and trials. The festival could include culinary delights and classes (bannock, salmon, birch syrup) sleigh rides, a logger show, a marketplace showcasing local goods, and a scavenger hunt.

• Development of a winter relay (snowshoe, cross-country, toboggan) with an activity passport and a dinner/dance finale featuring local foods and drinks.

• Adding additional elements to an existing event such as the Wells Gray Birch Leg including music and beer to reflect the jubilation of past events like the Loppet (a 30 km cross-country ski race held in Wells Gray Park starting in the mid-1980s).

• There was interest in working with Melody Romeo, District of Clearwater sports coordinator, to develop evening events for families and participants during the many winter sports tournaments she has worked to attract. Ideas included music, dinner, and dances.

“The one common thread throughout these wonderful ideas is the clear need for collaboration and partnership to see them through,” Molina said. “My next steps will be to invite stakeholders and community members to gauge their interest in being a part of planning and further developing these ideas.”

In addition to winter experience development, Molina said she been working on growing winter tourism by:

• working to address the ploughing and platform access issues at Spahats Creek Falls, which if successful would allow Tourism Wells Gray to promote self-guided winter waterfall tours (at Helmcken, Dawson and Spahats) all winter long.

• submitting a funding request to the Rural Dividend Fund for a Clearwater snowmobile tourism feasibility study

• proactively promoting the many existing guided and self-guided winter activities and events taking place and available throughout Wells Gray Country.

• ensuring there is detailed, accurate, and easily accessible information for visitors planning to enjoy winter recreation in Wells Gray Park and Clearwater.

• working with any interested businesses and individuals looking for ways to expand their offerings into winter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Missing senior couple found

A senior couple from the Lower Mainland have been reported missing

Clearwater RCMP weekly police report

Clearwater RCMP responded to 41 calls for service over this past week

Hospice campaign goes into seventh year

Lights to Remember raises funds for needed training of Hospice members

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

Quesnel fed up with detour, urges Ottawa to speed up road repair

West Fraser Road has been on detour since spring 2018, with no plans to repair washout until 2020

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

Don’t sign USMCA until LGBTQ language excised, U.S. lawmakers urge Trump

The trade agreement, forged after 13 months of tense negotiations between Canada and the U.S. is scheduled for Nov. 30

Most Read