Posts filed in Outdoors:

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!

Teapot mountain at sunset.

Recently the University of Northern British Columbia Continuing Studies held a contest and gave away a free seat in their upcoming Outdoor Adventure Writing and Blogging Workshop, being held on February 4.. Participants in the contest submitted a photo and a short (100 word) paragraph describing their outing.
We are thrilled to be sharing the top three submissions here on our blog; below is Kaila Walton's blog entry.

 It was a warm spring afternoon when I decided to hike to the summit of Teapot Mountain to photograph the sunset. The mosquitoes were swarming around us, while at the same time the hike was killing my legs due the steep climb. The entire way up I kept telling myself that this hike better be worth it. I was amazed by the stunning views when I arrived at the summit. I watched the sun descend in the sky and then scrambled down the very steep hill in the dark. Teapot mountain is one hike that is worth the effort.

Follow Kaila Walton on Facebook and Instagram:
facebook.com/kailawaltonphotography/
instagram.com/kailawaltonphotography/

Thanks to UNBC Continuing Studies for creating this contest and inviting us to join in! We look forward to sharing the other two submissions in the near future.

Find UNBC Continuing Studies on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and at their website to learn about all the incredible courses and trips they offer!

Winter scene with someone holding a free rental ice auger on Shane Lake, near Prince George BC.

Top 5 Winter Activities

Prince George is a family-friendly city in each of the four seasons. We invite you to pull on some mittens, don your toque and get outside! Once you embrace winter, Prince George-style, you too will love it when the water starts to freeze on the lakes and flakes start to fall from the beautifully crisp skies.

Here are our top 5 winter activities (in no particular order -it's just too hard to choose!)

 Skiing/Snowboarding
Step into a pair of bindings and let gravity assist you as you glide down one of our four hills. Hart Highlands Ski Hill is located in city limits and is where many families bond over skiing or boarding for the first time. Tabor Mountain Ski Resort and Purden Ski Village are both located east of town and are excellent hills to spend the day on without spending hours in the vehicle. Serious powder hounds travel two hours north to Powder King Mountain Resort in the Rocky Mountains. Powder King is home to an annual snowfall of forty-feet each year! 

Location: Powder King Mountain Resort

Hockey
The Prince George Cougars (WHL) and Prince George Spruce Kings (BCHL) are two remarkable teams based in Prince George and create excellent entertainment for the entire family. Cheering these two teams on at the CN Centre and Rolling Mix Concrete Arena has been a long-running Prince George tradition. To make the evening extra special buy your tickets for a feature game night!

Photo Credit: Simon Ratcliffe
Location: CN Centre (Prince George Cougars Hockey Game)

 Ice Skating
Lace up your skates and learn why sub-freezing temperatures are welcome in Prince George. When winter is in full swing we have an abundance of community rinks (two-dozen to be exact) and numerous frozen lakes so you can truly stretch your legs. Rinks are a great place to meet neighbours and new friends for a game of pick-up hockey.

Photo Credit: Colin Duff
Location: Ness Lake

Snowshoeing
When snow blankets your favourite trails and you can no longer go for a hike without sinking through the snow we recommend strapping on a pair of snowshoes and marvelling in the magical surroundings. Trails become more serene and peaceful when they’re covered in snow and it’s easier to see animal tracks. Some popular snowshoeing places are Otway Nordic Centre (requires a trail pass), Eskers Provincial Park (30 minutes north of town) and Crooked River Provincial Park (one hour north). The trail to Livingston Springs in Crooked River Provincial Park is rewarding because the springs never freeze over and the water is crystal clear.

Location: Goodsir Nature Park

Tobogganing
Grab your sled of choice and slide down one of five sledding hills located in town. This is a great way to get together with friends and enjoy a wintery day or evening – just make sure to warm up with hot chocolate after!
Carney Hill (Massey Dr. and Carney St.)
College Heights Secondary School (6180 Domano Blvd.)
Harry Loder Park (baseball diamonds beside Rainbow Dr.)
Moore’s Meadow (1st Ave. and Zimmaro Ave.)
Rainbow Park (Rainbow Dr. and Liard Dr.)

 Location: Rainbow Park

 

Tourism PG - Kittil Falls - East of Prince George, BC.

This is a scenic site, easily accessible with a couple camping spots. The falls are upstream from the camp site: you'll see a two-track path into the forest. Follow that path for a few hundred metres and you'll easily find the falls. Here, the wide path ends but a faint trail can be picked up that leads further up the hillside to view the shallow upper pool and a second, smaller waterfall. This area also has an abundance of blueberries and huckleberries.

The Kittil Falls rec site is accessed via the McGregor Sande FSR (if you are using a Backroads Mapbook, it is simply labelled McGregor). The trip out will take approximately 1.5 - 2 hours depending on the condition of the gravel roads. Drive east from Prince George on HWY 16 to Upper Fraser Road. Turn left on Upper Fraser Road and follow it past the community of Willow River, Eaglet Lake, Upper Fraser and finally a single lane bridge over the Fraser River. Turn right at the junction after the bridge and drive for approximately 1km, then turn left onto Pass Lake Road. Follow this gravel road for 46km, then turn onto the McGregor Sande FSR and drive for about 9km until you see the Kittil Falls recreation site sign on your right, just before a small bridge.

Pass Lake Road is a corridor for backcountry hikes and rec sites. If this is your first time out, take note of some spots nearby as you'll likely return: the Torpy FSR departs Pass Lake Road and leads to Torpy Mountain; the trailhead for a hike called The Farm is in an overgrown pull-out on the north side of the road in the first corner at Pass Lake; the Pass Lake rec site is at the north end of the lake, easily visible from the road; the access road to Fang Mountain is otherwise unmarked at the 41km sign; at 48km you will find the McGregor River rec site and the deactivated suspension bridge (there is a model of this bridge at the Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum).

Tourism Prince George Goodish Nature Park.

The night may have ended with wet socks, but the walk through Goodsir Nature Park was well worth the journey. I was invited by Tourism Prince George to tour Goodsir Nature Park along with some City of Prince George Councillors; the description read that we were going to tour a botanical garden…in northern BC. I definitely wasn’t prepared for the beauty that would unfold before me that evening as we followed the manmade mossy path throughout the private park.

Goodsir Nature Park is 160 acres of privately owned land off Old Summit Lake Road in Prince George, British Columbia – the owner, Jim Good, is the most passionate Canadian I’ve ever met and he greeted us at the end of his driveway with freshly brewed coffee and snacks before we embarked throughout his park. Our tour started with a trek through his private museum which contained several thousand Canadian plant specimens as well as dioramas – a most excellent display of Canadian geography.

After the museum, we went on a tour of the park which encompassed beautifully groomed camping sites for tenters - all available by donation; lush trails and even a private pond. The many rare specimens throughout the park have been marked with signs, showing their name and the natural Canadian climate they originate from. From the Arctic White Spruce that originated from the Arctic Circle in Inuvik to the Whitebark Pine that originated from the Cascade Coast Mountains, there are a variety of botanical beauties that would stun even the most prestigious of botanists.

Prince George is many things – eclectic, spontaneous, beautiful – and the things you find here never ceases to amaze. I encourage all citizens to take in the beauty of Goodsir Nature Park and all that it has to offer; if its beauty does not amaze you, its botanist most definitely will.

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