The roadhouse at Historic Hat Creek shows off its new paint job. The roadhouse, and all the other facilities at the site, will be welcoming visitors for the 2021 season starting on May 1, after being closed last year. (Photo credit: Historic Hat Creek)

The roadhouse at Historic Hat Creek shows off its new paint job. The roadhouse, and all the other facilities at the site, will be welcoming visitors for the 2021 season starting on May 1, after being closed last year. (Photo credit: Historic Hat Creek)

Historic Hat Creek plans to have site fully open on May 1

Two recent grants will help improve the restaurant and campsite

Historic Hat Creek is planning to fully open the entire site on May 1, and two new grants will help make the experience even better for visitors while helping the site carry on in the face of COVID-19.

The Friends of Historic Hat Creek Ranch Society, which operates the site, recently heard that they were receiving two grants from the Province’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program destination development stream. Fifty-four grants were announced for tourism destinations throughout B.C., with Hat Creek getting $55,500 to expand its restaurant patio and $28,000 to provide potable water to each of the eight dedicated campsites and to dry campers.

Don Pearse, Historic Hat Creek’s CEO, says that the entire site — including the roadhouse, Indigenous site, restaurant, campsite, and gift shop — is scheduled to open on May 1. The site was closed last year due to COVID-19, and Pearse says that because of COVID, stagecoach rides will probably not be offered.

“I don’t believe we’ll have stagecoach rides because of the close proximity of people in the coach and the cleaning needed. The coach may be around and riding, but it won’t be available for rides.” However, visitors will now be able to try their hand at goldpanning, and he says that there will be normal operations at most of the site.

“There will be more self-guiding by guests this year. People can wander on their own, but staff will be available to answer questions and guide people in the right direction. The Indigenous site will be fully open and self-guided, with interpreters there to answer questions. There will be skit performances at the Indigenous site and the roadhouse, which will be posted at the gift shop every day, and the skits will be changing and rotating on an ongoing basis.”

The restaurant will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day through May and June, and until 7 p.m. every day in July and August. Pearse says that the grant funding for the restaurant means they can extend the outdoor patio by about 15 feet and put a cover over 12 feet of the space, to provide extra protection and shade for some of the tables.

“Right now we only have two tables that are covered, and now we can have six or eight covered for rain or shade. Some people don’t want an umbrella overhead; they want an open air table but in a shady area.”

He adds that it will also help them expand capacity, especially given the physical distancing necessary under provincial health regulations. These regulations mean that the indoor tables have had to be cut down by half, resulting in lower capacity.

“The patio extension means about a 60 per cent increase in capacity. Part of the reason for the grant was to allow us to receive higher numbers of guests and increase our revenue. In the past we would have had to space tables so much we wouldn’t have made any money and it would have been a lost cause. This will make it viable to open and still maintain all the spacing requirements of COVID-19.”

Historic Hat Creek has eight campsites with 30 amp power, and the second grant means they will be able to run potable water lines to each site. There will also be spigots for potable water to service any dry campers; the site can comfortably accommodate 30 or more campers in different areas. Pearse says that dry campers can either pull up to the water source, or take water back to their site.

The gift shop will be open May 1, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. It carries a wide range of gifts, many of them Indigenous-made or reflecting the history and culture of the region.

Tour bus traffic is usually a mainstay of the site, but Pearse says that coach bookings are minimal this year. “Most of them have European or Australian tourists. Usually we have more than 400 coaches a season, but so far this year we’re at fewer than 50. We do expect an upturn in local traffic from B.C., Alberta, and the rest of Canada, but we’re not sure about U.S. visitors yet. That will depend on restrictions at the border.”

These challenges mean that it’s going to be a difficult year for Historic Hat Creek, and Pearse says they’re not planning on making any money. “We’re just trying to keep our head above water, and we’ve made adjustments for that.”

Even though the site was closed last year, numerous repairs were carried out at several buildings, and Pearse hopes local residents will come check things out.

“We’d love to invite past visitors to come back again and see our updated shopping options, as well as our newly-painted roadhouse. This would be a great opportunity for any locals who haven’t visited before to come and visit us and experience how life was in the 1850s and 1860s up to the present.”



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Cache Creek

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Quesnel resident receives a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month. (Photo credit: Cassidy Dankochik/Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
IH says COVID-19 vaccines safe despite claims of Lytton physician

Doctor makes unsubstantiated claims about serious side effects of Moderna vaccine

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. As of April 19, more than 230,000 doses have been administered across the Interior Health region. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
More than 230K doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered across Interior Health

A total of 220,216 first doses and 13,775 second doses have been given to residents across the B.C. Interior

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood, this includes protecting one’s home by moving equipment and other assets from these areas to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-normal spring flood season

High-streamflow advisory issued for the Cariboo Region and areas including Williams Lake, Quesnel and Prince George

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

(Photo by Mojpe/Pixabay)
Canadian kids extracting record amounts from Tooth Fairy

Our neighbours in the U.S. receive slightly less from Tooth Fairy visits

Paramedic Matthew Schlatter of Victoria is living a fuller life today due to the double lung transplant he received in 2019. He encourages B.C. residents to register as an organ donor and let their families know their wishes. (Instagram/Matthew Schlatter)
B.C. man living a full, active life after double-lung transplant

Matt Schlatter encourages people to register as an organ donor to help others live

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Most Read