Posts filed in Outdoors:

Cottonwood Island Park in Prince George during winter.

Recently students in CNC's Tourism and Hospitality Post-Diploma Program wrote about some of Prince George's attractions. Student Joshua Shin offered to share his blog post with us, read it below and enjoy his images:

Are you a newcomer to Prince George who loves Mother Nature so much?
If so, I would like to recommend some of the hidden gems in PG that have different attractions depending on the season.

1. Spring - Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park

In the middle of March, I took a walk in the park along the slushy path with melted snow.
The snow was already melting a lot, and I could feel full of spring energy in every corner of the park.

The most spectacular scene was the Fraser River, where floating ice was drifting away.
With such a gorgeous view, Prince George is clearly waking up from a long hibernation.
If you've been waiting for spring, just come and feel it! For more information, visit the website
at http://tourismpg.com/activities/lheidli-tenneh-memorial-park

2. Summer - Ancient Forest
 
If you are looking for somewhere to get away from the scorching heat, the Ancient Forest is definitely one of the best places to go in the summer.
When I visited the Ancient Forest, it was very hot outside (around 28°). However, I felt a bit cool.

It was filled with dense pristine rainforests and has wooden tracks installed in every trekking path to prevent damage to nature from numerous visitors.
What is more surprising is that those wooden tracks were installed by volunteers over many years.

It was my chance to realize the Canadian's love of nature once again.
The most amazing fact is that this Ancient Forest is the rainforest, which is the only inland rainforest in the world.
For more information, visit the website at http://tourismpg.com/activities/ancient-forest-east

3. Autumn - LC Gunn Park
 
The autumn sky in Prince George is truly beautiful and even beyond description.
If you are an autumn lover, LC Gunn Park could be the best choice.

In the autumn at LC Gunn Park, there were so many trees started to tinge with a variety of dazzling colors in the park around mid-October.
Whenever I step on the fallen leaves there, I enjoy the rustling sounds while I walk through the trails.
If you ever have a chance to stand on the highest point on the banks and look down at the Fraser River, these colorful leaves reflect in the river and create a fantastic view. It was simply awesome!
For more information, visit the website
at https://www.ehcanadatravel.com/british-columbia/northern-bc/prince-george/parks-places/5239-l-c-gunn-park.html

4. Winter - Cottonwood Island Nature Park

The paths into Cottonwood Island Nature Park were very tough for me because of the heavy snow in the middle of January.
Through the fifteen-minute struggle, finally, I could reach to the Nechako River. Here is a tip: If you want to come to the park during the snowy winter, make sure to wear snowshoes.
I received a great reward for all my troubles to get there. It was fantastic to see that the strong sunlight shining on the white snowflakes and the snow powder flowing around me whenever the wind blows.

In my home country, I had never experienced such an unrealistic scenery; it was more like a scene from a fairy tale.

For more information visit the website at http://tourismpg.com/activities/cottonwood-island-nature-park

About Joshua: "My name is Joshua Shin from South Korea. I have lived in Prince George with my wife and two daughters since the end of July, 2017. Now I am taking the Tourism and Hotel Management Post-Diploma program at CNC since January, 2018. I love to travel all over the world and explore many hidden gems in Canada whenever I have the chance."

Snowshoeing on the trail to Livingston Springs in Crooked River (Bear Lake) Provincial Park.

Mid March conditions were prime for a snowshoe trip to Livingston Springs recently. These warm springs are located in Crooked River Provincial Park, 75km north of Prince George on Highway 97. The park gates are closed in the winter, but a small parking area right off the highway is usually cleared. The trail to the springs is 5km of mostly level terrain.

Relaxing at the warm springs

The springs stay at approximately 7°C: definitely not hot springs, but they support plant life and birds year round. Finding your way to springs is easy as this is a popular trail that is well signed. If you are visiting on a weekend you will probably make some friends along the way.

Making a photo stop on the way to Livingston springs

This field trip was part of our Digital Ambassador program, and I was accompanied by Amandeep, a new CNC student. If you would like to join the Digital Ambassador program and get a heads-up on trips like this, subscribe to the Digital Ambassador newsletter here.

See a Google Map of Prince George area snowshoeing locations.

On the tail end of February, on the heels of huge snowfalls, I took two local photographers from our Digital Ambassador program and broke trail at Goodsir Nature Park. The park is a favourite of mine because it is serene and unique. It is a privately owned all Canadian botanical park with a few miles of walking trails, a cabin and campgrounds, and two museums: one of Jim Good's Canadian travels and plant samples, and one dedicated to his second passion, music. Park access is by donation, and now that Jim is retired it is open year-round.

Inside the plant and travel museum and Goodsir Nature Park.

As I mentioned earlier, two Digital Ambassador joined me for this trip: Camille from Pop Media and Amandeep, a new CNC student. If you would like to join the Digital Ambassador program and get a heads-up on trips like this, subscribe to the Digital Ambassador newsletter here.

See Camille's short video about Goodsir Nature Park.

See the latest from #goodsirnaturepark on Instagram.

See a Google Map of Prince George area snowshoeing locations.

 

Photos in gallery (below) by Michael Stanyer and Amandeep Singh

Playing street hockey as a family.

It’s the Family Day weekend in British Columbia. With all this excessive snow that has been dumping on Prince George we are stoked to have an extra day off to enjoy it! Keep reading to learn about five special events happening this weekend for Family Day.

  1.   Downtown Winterfest: There’s SNOW much going on in downtown Prince George on Sunday between 11am and 4pm! Activities include snow and ice sculptures, ice slide, “There’s Smore Downtown” Contest (various teams compete to make the best version of a campfire s’more. Proceeds go to their chosen charity), Legion Winter Market, outdoor food court,  snow yoga, Cottonwood Express Minirail Train, fat bike demo, mini snow golf, and more!  Visit http://downtownpg.com for all the details.

  2.   Family Day at Ness Lake Bible Camp: Take in many free activities at Ness Lake Bible Camp from 9:30am to 4:30pm on Monday (Family Day). Go sledding, zip lining, play in the gym, rock climb, go on the Tarzan swing over the lake, make bannock over a campfire and more. Plus, they’ll be providing a free lunch! Visit their Facebook Event page for more information and to RSVP.

  3.  Family Day at the Hart Ski Hill: Don’t want to travel too far on the highways but still want to get some time on the hill? Bring your family to Hart Ski Hill for an affordable day – they’re offering 50% off lift passes and 50% off rentals! This sounds like the perfect time to teach your family how to ski or snowboard while saving money! The hill is open from 10am to 4pm and 6:30pm to 9:30pm on Family Day (February 12). Visit their Facebook Event page for more information.

  4.  Family Fun Day at Otway: Otway is ready to welcome all members of your family for a fun day on February 12! They are offering 50% off all family trail passes and rentals, 25% off a family introductory classic ski lesson (pre-register by Saturday, February 10), go for a Family Snowshoe Nature Tour and Games for $5 per family (plus rentals and trail passes). Please pre-register by Saturday. Enjoy a hot dog and hot chocolate lunch from 11:30am to 2:30pm in the gravel pit by donation with proceeds going to the Food Bank.
    To pre-register, contact Carolyn by calling 250-564-3809 or email schoolski@caledonianordic.com. For more information, visit their website: https://www.caledonianordic.com

  5.  Prince George Cougars Paint the Ice: Join the Prince George Cougars for a special Family Day Game with the puck drop at 2pm. After the game, go onto the ice and paint it! Come back to the CN Centre on Tuesday (February 13) for a free public skate so you can skate on your creations and meet the Cougars! Visit their Facebook Event page for more information.

We encourage you to partake in some fun community events this weekend and we’re grateful that many organizations are making it affordable to do these activities with your family!

Visit tourismpg.com/events to see what else is happening in Prince George!

.

Father and Daughter Fishing at Eaglet Lake

Father's Day is quickly approaching and it's a great time to show your dad how much you appreciate him, below are a few unique ideas that you can only do in Prince George:

 1. Visit the 43rd Annual Show n’ Shine in Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park from 10am – 4pm. This signature features hundreds of vehicles of all kinds, including classics, hot rods, motorcycles, exotic cars, and even occasional big trucks. This is the largest collection of exhibition-grade vehicles in Prince George. Last year’s event had the largest display ever, with 389 vehicles showcased on the lawn.  There will also be music, vendors, demonstrations, information booths, and more.

 

2. Treat your dad to delicious food: 
Fore Bistro & Patio
is having a special brunch featuring a delicious menu, including fresh smoked brisket, maple smoked bacon, crepes with flambéed fruit, beef ribs, Cajun chicken and more! Seating times are 10am and 11:30am. There will also be a putting challenge and every Hole In One or child will win a prize.
Call for reservations (250-596-5400). 

Visit Northern Lights Estate Winery for a Father’s Day picnic! They are offering complimentary wine tasting for Dad and lawn games. Frozen Paddle Ice Cream and Picnic Packages are available for purchase (or bring your own food and enjoy their wine).

 

3. Go fishing: Visit your favourite fishing spot together, or borrow our rods and tackle and visit a new place. Make a splash when you give him a gift by signing him up for a fly-fishing experience with Northern Outback Adventures. They offer everything from a heli-fishing adventure, to a day of trout fishing in the Prince George area (lunch included), or a casting lesson on either a single hand or spey casting on a double hand rod. Call 250-640-7699 for more information.

Photo Credit: Northern Outback Adventures
Two people and a dog camp near Salmon Valley, just north of Prince George, BC.

Camping season is nearly upon us and we are eager to spend days and nights outside with family and friends in the wilderness that surrounds Prince George. Below are five camping tips that we encourage all travellers to keep in mind. Read to the end to learn about three of our favourite campfire foods!

1.    Plan ahead: We strongly recommend making campsite reservations whenever you'll be arriving at a new campground on a weekend. Most locals take advantage of the weekend and set up camp Friday afternoon and come home Sunday afternoon. If you're travelling during the weekend, call ahead or visit Discover Camping to make reservations at Provincial Parks. If you can't make reservations, try to arrive at your campground of choice in the early afternoon on a weekend to better your chances of getting a spot.


2.
Check DriveBC.ca: DriveBC.ca is a website maintained by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. Their interactive web map will tell you about accidents, road closures, road conditions (especially important for winter travel) and construction. Even if delays are unavoidable, it's best to be aware of them.

3. Prepare for weather: Summer days in the Prince George area average around 22°C (72°F), but evening and morning can be quite cool. Pack an extra sweatshirt or jacket for those early morning walks or evenings around the campfire. 

4. Set up camp: Set up your camp with your tent/trailer a safe distance away from where your fire will be. BC Parks recommends a minimum of 15 feet (4.5m) between the fire and any tent walls, hanging branches or surrounding bush. If you are tenting, make sure you store any food or fragrant items (toothpaste, deodorant, etc) in your vehicle, a bear cache, or bear hang.

5. Pack delicious food: For a leisurely camping trip, meals around the campfire can be the highlight of the day. We have three things we love cooking over the fire: bacon, bannock, and tinfoil dinner. Gather your friends or family around the campfire in the morning, and cook bacon in a cast iron pan. As it finishes, drain excess grease, put it on a plate, and pass it around the fire. It may take a while, but it is an incredible way to wake up and spend the morning outside.
Bannock is a basic dough that can be baked, fried, or roasted over the fire. We prefer our recipe to include flour, baking powder, milk and vegetable oil. Bannock can be prepared a few days in advance and refrigerated until you need it. To cook, wrap it around a thick stick and roast over the fire, hot dog-style. You’ll know it’s done when the outside is golden brown and you can easily pull it off the stick. We recommend slathering the inside with butter and cinnamon sugar, jam, or hotdog fixings (with a cooked hotdog put inside). If you don’t feel like making bannock from scratch, you can buy pre-made biscuit or bread dough.
Tinfoil dinner is the casserole of campfire cooking. Each person takes diced potatoes, ground beef, frozen or raw vegetables, seasonings and type of sauce or liquid (ketchup, worcestershire sauce, or beef broth) and mixes it all together into a sheet of tinfoil. Carefully fold the tinfoil into a roll and add a second layer of tinfoil to prevent burning. We recommend putting in more liquid then you think you need so that your food steams and doesn’t burn. Put the tinfoil packages near the coals of the fire to let it cook. After 10 minutes or so, carefully flip your package over using sticks or long tongs (be careful not to puncture the tinfoil), and let it cook for another 10ish minutes. 

If you have any other questions about camping in northern British Columbia, feel free to contact the Prince George Visitor Centre (250-562-3700 or email info@tourismpg.com).  Or visit the BC Parks website to learn more about all of BC's provincial parks: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/.

Happy Camping!

 

Sunset at the Prince George cutbanks, beside McMillan Creek Regional Park. Photo credit Kelly Bergman.

Many people tell us that their favourite thing about living in Prince George is the easy and fast access to parks, trails, and outdoor recreation activities. To help people explore more of the parks in the Prince George area, we thought we would highlight three regional parks.

Kristian Winther Regional Park This 70 acre park is located on the southern shores of Salmon River (30km north of PG). Travel through a portion of the park on a 700m loop trail. Bring food for a picnic or marshmallows to roast over the fire. The park has a 2 acre lawn that is great for kicking a soccer ball around or playing catch. There are picnic tables, fire pits and toilets to make your stay enjoyable.

McMillan Creek Regional Park Located off Hofferkamp Road within city limits, this park provides visitors with a scenic view of Prince George from the cutbanks.  To reach the viewpoint from the parking lot walk either along the direct 1km trail or take the scenic 2.5km trail weaving through a variety of plant species. This is a great place to take out-of-town guests to give them an over-view of the city. This park has interpretive signs, picnic tables and toilets.

Wilkins Regional Park Drive along Otway Road for a while and you will reach Wilkins Park on the shores of the Nechako River. This 57 hectare park has a handful of trails that weave between cottonwood trees and beside the river. This park has a stretch of lawn beside the river and a boat launch. Other facilities include a picnic shelter, wood stove, toilets, picnic tables, and firepits.

To learn more about parks in the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, visit their website at rdffg.bc.ca/services/environment/regional-parks.

Cover photo credit: Kelly Bergman

5 spring break activities in Prince George for school-aged children

Still wondering how you’re going to keep your kids active during Spring Break? We’ve rounded up five special events happening in Prince George that are guaranteed to keep your children active and entertained while learning in a fun environment!

Spring Break Kids Camp at Otway (March 13-17): Your child (ages 6-12) can spend time outside snowshoeing, cross country skiing, learning about nature, playing games and more at Otway. Half Day Camps (9:30am-12:00pm) are $20 (plus rentals and trail passes) and Full Day Camps (9:30am–3:30pm) are $40 (plus rentals and trail passes). Call or email Otway to register (250-564-3809 or schoolski@caledonianordic.com).

Spring Break at the Pool (March 11-26): Dive into the world of water while playing fun games at the Prince George Aquatic Centre and Four Seasons Leisure Pool. Games run daily from 1:30pm-4:00pm.

Spring Break Creativity Camps at Two Rivers Gallery (March 13-17, 20-24): Create with the Masters (March 13-17) and spend the week learning about artists and their masterpieces. Also spend time creating your own inspired works of art! The second week will have participants drawing, painting, sculpting and more as they play and experiment with colour in Colour Play (March 20-24).
Both camps are aimed at children in grades 1-7 and run from 9am-4:30pm. Register online at TwoRiversGallery.ca. Cost: $194.

Spring Break with Camp Kanannaq (March 15, 17, 20): Spend the day outside with your favourite Camp Kanannaq staff hiking, building a fire, roasting s’mores and much more. Activities will include a hike to Raven Lake (March 15, ages 13-15), exploring Forests for the World (March 17, ages 7-12), and a trip to the Ancient Forest (March 20, ages 7-12). Cost is $40. Learn more by calling 250-562-9341 or visit nbcy.org.

 Spring Break Cultural Crafts at Prince George Native Friendship Centre (March 24): Join the Prince George Native Friendship Centre for free cultural crafts for the entire family between 10am-2pm. No registration required, call 250-564-3568.

Recently the Continuing Studies department at the University of Northern British Columbia held a contest and gave away a free seat in their Outdoor Adventure Writing and Blogging Workshop, which was held in February. Participants in the contest submitted a photo and a short (100 word) paragraph to describe an outdoor recreational experience. 
Below is Jennifer Côté's winning submission which she has expanded to provide a better overview of her mushroom picking experience.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“Look up”. “Don’t forget to look up once and awhile” I mutter to myself. I am foraging for puffball mushrooms. The forest floor around Prince George offers so many potential goodies. Problem is, while looking down so much, you don’t see what is front of you; possible bears, branches, etc. As I bust my way through the underbrush I come to a painful halt. A thorn from the hawthorn bush jammed itself into my forehead just above my eye. Wow, I’m lucky that it’s my forehead and not my eye. My glasses saved that one inch thorn from impaling my right eye. I hardly ever wear my glasses. I’m so happy I did today. I rather like my gift of sight. Close call! Ouch! I curse and mutter again...”look up will ya!” It’s merely a flesh wound and I continue on looking down at the forest floor.

A few steps ahead, I see what I came here for: Pear Shaped Puffballs. They are all jutting out of an old rotting birch log. I kneel down and examine them; they are firm and white on the inside. Perfect! As I collect them off the log, I remember to look up and examine my surroundings. No bears. Good. However, I do see something else a few meters in front of me. My mind whispers to me “Could it be?” I crawl over to the large mushroom and take a closer look. The cap is reddish brown and measures around seven inches in diameter. The stem is thick and club shaped. I pick the cap off its stem and look at the underside. There are no gills; rather, small white pores are present. I break the cap apart and see if the flesh ‘stains or bruises’. I observe none. This means that I have a Boletus Edulis Mushroom. In layman's terms, a Porcini mushroom or the King Bolete. These are extremely meaty mushrooms as the flesh is thick and dense.

I call my friend over, another avid forager, and show her my find. We scout around and find the area is abundant with the King Boletes. As I start to pick, I notice some of these mushrooms are soft and the pores underneath and starting to turn a yellowish-green. I break a few of the caps open and I get my confirmation, there are maggots infesting these King Boletes. Now if you are a mushroom hunter, you know you will have competition with the maggots that feast on these and other edible mushrooms. I will simply cut the infested parts out and keep the unblemished flesh. 

My friend and I gather 20 pounds worth of these mushrooms and go home with our bounty. We are going to eat like Kings tonight! As we start to cut them up we notice that they are too heavily infested. The disappointment sets in; we only have a mere handful of untainted mushrooms out of the baskets we so heavily loaded.

I set the maggot infested mushrooms aside in a bucket. Tomorrow, I will take it the forest and spread them back along the forest floor. The spores of the mushrooms will spread and make more for next mushroom season. Next year, I will come earlier in the season (the mushrooms shouldn’t be so profoundly bug-ridden) and I will bring more bags, buckets and baskets.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thanks for reading Jennifer's submission and thanks to UNBC Continuing Studies for hosting this contest and providing a local resident with the opportunity to learn more about travel writing and blogging! Find UNBC Continuing Studies on the web, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to learn about all the incredible trips and courses they offer throughout the year.

 

Family Day 2017 is quickly approaching so we thought we'd put together a list of five special events that are being held throughout the City of Prince George!

Family Day at the Northern Sport Centre 
10:00am - 4:00pm
Celebrate Family Day with the Northern Sport Centre with free activities and special guests including the Spruce Kings (2-3pm), our mascot, Fraser the Moose, Super Dog from the SPCA, A&W Root Bear, Chance from the PG Humane Society and Kingston from the Spruce Kings.  Activities include: indoor playground (10am-3pm), pickleball (10am-4pm), basketball (10am-4pm), fencing (10am-11am), badminton (10am-1pm), Family Tae Kwon Do (12pm-1:30pm), rugby and wheelchair sports (1pm-3pm), and family yoga (3pm-4pm).

As an added bonus, parking at the NSC lot will be free on Family Day!
Learn more here.

Family Day at Ness Lake Bible Camp
9:00am - 4:30pm
Located on the shores of frozen Ness Lake, explore the camp's property with the whole family for no cost! Tackle the climbing wall, let loose inside the heated gym, play board games, shoot a game of pool, slide down the sledding hill and go ice skating (weather dependent). Enjoy a hot lunch and snack to replenish your energy for all the activities!

This event is free, but the organizers would appreciate an RSVP so they can adequately plan. If you don't RSVP, that's okay, feel free to show up anyways!
Learn more here.

Paint the Ice after a Prince George Cougars Game
2:00pm 
The Prince George Cougars are hosting a special feature game on Family Day. The game starts at 2:00pm and after the game fans will have the unique opportunity to paint (decorate) the ice! The next day the Cougars and Chiefs will place on the freshly decorated ice.
While you're at the game, you can buy your tickets for the February 14th game for 50% off!
Learn more here.

Family Day at Otway
10:30am - 3:00pm
Otway is celebrating Family Day with a hot dog lunch (by donation), hot chocolate and marshmallows! They will also be leading a Family Snowshoe Nature Tour and Relay Games for $10 per family (rentals and trail pass not included).
Rentals, lessons, and family trail passes will all be half price! (Call to register for lessons before noon on Sunday, February 12).
Call 250-564-3809 to register for ski lessons and snowshoe games.
Learn more here.

Family Ice Fishing Event
11:00am - 3:00pm
Join the Spruce City Wildlife Association for a free family ice fishing event at Ferguson Lake! Limited rods and tackle will be available for participants (or borrow ice fishing equipment for free from Tourism Prince George - just pick it up before we close at 4:30pm on Friday!).
Please note, anyone over the age of 16 must carry a BC Freshwater Fishing License, available online or from the fishing counter at Northern Hardware.
Learn more here.

We're going to be out and about enjoying all the fantastic family fun and we hope you will participate in these community events!

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