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In most parts of BC, May Long Weekend is eagerly anticipated and signals the beginning of camping season and days spent doing activities. Keep reading to learn about some great activities to do this weekend and what campgrounds are open in the Prince George area (hint: almost all of them!)

Top 8 Activities to do this Weekend (May 18-21):

1. Visit Huble Homestead for Spring on the Homestead (May 20 & 21): Kick off the 2018 season by learning about different tasks that pioneers completed to ensure the rest of the year was a success. Activities include planting the garden, making ice cream, and the May-Pole dance. There will also be a treasure hunt to complete and local music to enjoy.

2. Take a Ride on The Little Prince: Saturday, May 19 is The Little Prince’s first day on the tracks in 2018 (weather permitting)! Visit The Exploration Place in Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park and enjoy this classic and affordable ride. Tickets range from $1 to $3.50 per person. The train will be operating from 12pm-8pm. Enjoy some Frozen Paddle Ice Cream from the Scoop Shop while you’re there.
Update:  We just learned through The Exploration Place's Facebook Page that The Little Prince will be delayed from opening this weekend. Visit their Facebook post to learn more. The good news is that they will still be selling Frozen Paddle ice cream!

3. Visit a Park: Prince George has so many incredible and beautiful parks to enjoy. Some favourites include Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park, Connaught Hill Park, Wilson Park, Rainbow Park, Wilkins Park, and Goodsir Nature Park. All of these places make for a great place to enjoy a picnic and the beautiful weather.

4. Shop at the Farmers’ Market(s): Pick up fresh, local food for your picnic in the above mentioned parks from either of the two Farmers’ Markets in Prince George on Saturday. Both Markets are in new, spacious, and welcoming locations: the Prince George Farmers’ Market is at 3rd Avenue and Quebec Street (inside and outside) and the WS Farmers’ Market is at Pine Centre, outside of the old Sears location.

5. Go Fishing: Gather family and friends and spend some time at the lake. The Prince George Visitor Centre loans out fishing rods and tackle for free, all you need to do is have your fishing license. Stop by, pick up your gear, and head out to the lake. Not sure where to go? We also have a handy pamphlet featuring ten fishing lakes in the Prince George area available at the Visitor Centre or online.

6. Enjoy Horseback Riding: Just thirty minutes south of downtown Prince George is El Shaddai Ranch. Call ahead and book a lovely two hour trail ride with a friendly herd of horses. Your ride will weave through meadows and forests and a viewpoint of the Baldy Hughes area (a perfect place to take pictures).

7. Join the Prince George Sikh community as they celebrate Vaisakhi: There will be a colourful parade starting at Guru Nanak Darbar (4298 Davis Road) at 10am and will stop at the CN Centre from 12-2pm. At the CN Centre there will be announcements, displays, and food booths (including samosas, pizza, and sweets). This parade celebrates the Sikh New Year and founding of Khalsa, Order of Sikhism.

8. Go Camping! Here are all the campgrounds that are currently open:

  • North: Hartway RV Park, Northland RV Park, Summit Lake Resort, and Crooked River Provincial Park.
  • East: Purden Lake Resort and Purden Lake Provincial Park.
  • South: Sintich RV Park, Northern Experience RV Park, Bee Lazee RV Park, Mama Yeh RV Park, Stone Creek RV Park, Canyon Creek Campground, and Ten Mile Lake Provincial Park.
  • West: Blue Cedars Campground.

 Since this weekend is such a popular camping weekend we strongly suggest calling ahead to make reservations to all private campgrounds.

Note: West Lake Campground opens on June 1. Salmon Valley Campground will also open in June.

Whatever you do this long weekend, we hope you have fun enjoying Prince George and stay safe. Need to brush up on your knowledge around having a safe campfire? Check out our recent post with information from the Government of BC regarding fire safety. 

City views from LC Gunn Park

On Friday (May 4) we visited a few of Prince George’s most popular walking areas to learn if the trails still had snow, were muddy, or were dry. We visited Cottonwood Island Park, Forests for the World/Shane Lake, and LC Gunn Park. While we only walked to the first lookout at LC Gunn Park, that trail seemed to be in the best condition following winter.

Keep reading to learn a little more about the conditions at each location and to see some pictures.

 Cottonwood Island Nature Park

A perennial favourite, Cottonwood Island Park is a great place to visit for a lovely stroll along the Nechako and Fraser Rivers. We parked in the parking lot beside the Railway and Forestry Museum and started off across the Cameron Street Bridge Replica to the Nechako River. 

 

The trail varied between being slightly wet to muddy but in places where the trail is paved it seemed a little better. We did not walk the all of the trails but we anticipate that some detours may be in place due to the high level of water in the rivers. Keep your family and pets safe by not getting too close to the river bank as it may be unstable.

 

Overall, Cottonwood Island Park is always a lovely place to visit and the mud would not prevent us from going back (we’d just make sure to have good shoes on).
Note: During the spring melt, the rivers may surpass the riverbanks and flood the park. Visit the Parks, Trails, and Field Closures  section of the City of Prince George's website to see if Cottonwood Island Park or any other of your favourite recreational areas are closed.

Forests for the World

We took the quick walk from the parking lot on Kueng Road to Shane Lake and the trail still had some snow and puddles on it. There was one point where a large puddle covered the majority of the trail and we had to skirt along the path’s edge to keep our feet dry. However, Shane Lake is completely ice free and next time we’ll have fishing rods so we can cast into the lake from one of two docks.
Don't have your own fishing gear? We loan out rods and basic tackle for free, all you need is a fishing license!

Forests for the World can also be accessed from a parking lot near the University of Northern BC on University Way. We walked a short distance down this wide and well-maintained trail and the conditions that we experienced were surprisingly dry, better than the trail from Kueng Road to Shane Lake.  However, we did not follow the trail all the way to Shane Lake, so we’re not sure on its condition as it weaves through Forests for the World.

LC Gunn Park

Located just across the Yellowhead Bridge going east from Prince George, LC Gunn Park gives hikers wide views of Prince George, Connaught Hill, and the iconic Prince George cutbanks. Due to time we only walked to the first viewpoint and the trail was the driest we had seen all day.  While we were there we saw some people out for a bike ride with their dogs and the dogs didn’t seem too muddy, so we’re thinking the rest of the trail is in a similar condition.

 

Do you know about the condition of other parks and trails in Prince George? We’re also eager to know which lakes are completely free of ice. Let us know by tagging your photos with #takeonPG on Instagram and Twitter or posting them to our Facebook Page.

Fly Fishing with Northern Outback Adventures

Wondering where to go fishing in the Prince George area? Use this handy pamphlet that we created highlighting some great places to fish! This brochure has information on the species of fish in the area and lakes including Ferguson Lake, Purden Lake, Shane Lake, and more. We also mention which ones have docks, boat launches, camping, and other amenities. 

Want a printed copy? Come by the Visitor Centre (1300 1st Avenue) to pick one up!

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

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