The Burns Lake Rotary Club recently completed a major upgrade to the Burns Lake Cemetery.
New headstones now honour prominent people buried in Burns Lake – including the village’s founder, Barney Mulvaneys, and Buckskin Jim, a surviver of the Custer massacre.
“It’s pretty cool that two famous people are buried in our cemetery,” said Laura Blackwell, president of the Burns Lake Rotary Club. “We have lots of Americans that come through and want to see where they are buried, but neither one of them had a headstone; now you can actually go and find where they are buried.”
In addition to the new headstones, two plaques were placed at the cemetery’s information shed, describing who they were and what they accomplished while they were alive.
Rotary revitalized the entire cemetery by planting dozens of new trees and shrubs and redoing the cemetery’s fence.
“The previous fence was metal and was always rusted; it didn’t look very nice, so we put plastic ones instead,” explained Blackwell. “They are easier to clean and maintain.”
Rotary also redid the cemetery’s bench and archway.
Southside resident Michael MacPherson redid the cemetery sign that hangs from the archway; and Joel Driscol, who’s also from the Southside, removed the old gates, welded new hinges and rehung the gates.
While completing this project, rotary ensured that only local contractors were hired to do the job, including Eagle Automotive Center, D.W.A. and The Concrete Man.
The Village of Burns Lake’s maintenance crew also helped by digging holes and planting trees.
The total cost of the project was approximately $20,000. The Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society donated $4700 for the two new headstones and plaques as a way to help increase tourism in Burns Lake.
The remaining of the cost was covered by the Burns Lake Rotary Club. Rotary organizes several fundraising events throughout the year so that they are able to complete projects that improve the lives of local residents.
“That’s our way of giving back to the community,” said Blackwell. “When we do fundraising, it is money that the community has donated to us, so we always want to give back to the community.”
In addition to the cemetery project, rotary is also building a shed at the Burns Lake Community Garden.
“We’ll spend about $9000 out there, and there has been tons of man-hours being put into that, spearheaded by Gordon Douglas,” said Blackwell. “Those guys have been working out there every Wednesday all summer.”
This shed is expected to be completed next spring.