It was always about water in the old Western movies, and that really hasn’t changed.
Historic Hat Creek Ranch has has a new well dug near the Visitor Reception Centre and expects to be “swimming” in water this year, figuratively speaking. The new well can pump 600 gallons of water per minute – a good deal more than the old well, which produced 30 gallons per minutes.
“In the summer we’d be awfully short of water,” said Jack Jeyes, president of the Friends of Historic Hat Creek Ranch.
He said there was a concern that there wasn’t enough for the fire suppression sprinklers in the Visitor Reception Centre and the Roadhouse should they need them, and a fire on the grounds in 2012 showed them how quickly the structures could be put at risk, surrounded by dry grass, old trees and older buildings.
The group convinced Victoria that a water study should be done. Two weeks ago they got the go-ahead to start work on the design.
“It’s an investment in infrastructure, because yuou can’t rebuild the roadhouse,” he said. “We want to make sure our assets are protected, as does Victoria.
The historic sites now fall under the governance of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and Jeyes noted that the ministry has been a great help to them. MLA Jackie Tegart, a former member of the board, has also helped by lobbying on their behalf.
The Ranch plans to add hydrants around the property, add sprinkler systems to some of the old buildings, and provide water to the RV site.
The biggest concern is fire, said HHCR manager Don Pearse, “but now we have a better supply of water for events such as the Bonaparte Pow Wow. He said the new water system will also take into account the future expansion of the Visitor Reception Centre.