History of the Friends of Barkerville Cariboo Goldfields Historical Society

On July 9, 1985, in a small cabin in Wells, a group of Wellsites, Barkervillians and summer residents met to discuss the need for a society that would act as a lobby group for historical and environmental concerns that affected the goldfields. They identified the need for conservation funding; to locate and re-open historic trails; funding for publication programs and research projects; and a lobby group on behalf of Barkerville.

Present at the first historic meeting were Kevin Brown, Ron Candy, Arden Craig, Eva Grandell, Sue Smith, Ron Young and Richard Wright, from which came the first executive. That first meeting defined the areas of concern as the Cariboo Goldfields, centering on Barkerville. A later project oriented public meeting identified trails, a telegraph line, archeology, publications and a heritage inventory of the area as primary projects. 1985 when starting out a workbee party at Quesnel Forks did band-aid work on some of the structures. In 1987 Ministry of Tourism involvement.

Since that time the Friends society has taken on and completed a variety of projects. These include a report, site clearing, basic building stabilization, as-found drawing of the Quesnelle Forks town site; the clearing of the Stanley-Richfield Cariboo Waggon Road Trail; database compilations of land and mining records, archives cataloging for Barkerville Historic town site; costume construction; archival research; ski trails and shelter construction; cemetery restoration; trail marking and research in the goldfields area; construction of the Gunn and Canadian claims displays on Williams Creek, and various up keeping and landscaping projections in the Barkerville area. In addition, it has acted as a spokesperson and lobbyist for the historic aspects of Barkerville on several government studies and task forces.

The work of the Friends, recently enlarged to take on the mandate of the old Cariboo Historical Society with the name “Friends of Barkerville-Cariboo Goldfields Historical Society”, continues with a diversity of projects. The group actively seeks new members, volunteers as well as private and corporate sponsors for displays and projects.