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Tourism in Burns Lake thrives amidst changing conditions and growth initiatives

Tourism in Burns Lake continues to thrive despite varying challenges and seasonal fluctuations, Frank Peebles, economic development officer for the Village of Burns Lake said.

While comparing statistics from last year, Peebles said, "No two years are ever the same in northern B.C. tourism corridors."

He highlighted the recent trends and the impact of external factors on visitor patterns.  Last year, forest fires in the Lakes District deterred some travellers but drew others seeking updates at the Visitor Information Centre (VIC), he said.

This year, despite colder and wetter weather across the province, tourism has seen a different trend. Peebles pointed out that a forest fire situation in the northeast diverted recreation traffic from the Alaska Highway to the Stewart-Cassiar route (Highway 37), bringing more travellers through the Lakes District.

Comparing visitor numbers, Peebles mentioned that this year is nearly on par with 2023. From April to June, the VIC saw 608 visitors, just a slight decrease from the 613 in the same period last year.

The peak season from June to September last year drew 1,062 visitors, boosted by Burns Lake’s 100th anniversary celebrations which attracted approximately 2,500 more people.

Visitors to Burns Lake are primarily from Lower Mainland BC, the United States, Europe, and Australia. At the VIC, tourists often inquire about camping, mountain biking at Kager Lake and Boer Mountain, local history, and nearby attractions.

New additions like the Magee House Bed ‘n’ Breakfast and enhancements to the Rod Reid Trail system have been popular this year. The VIC offers e-bike rentals, ideal for exploring the town or as a pit stop while charging electric vehicles.

Peebles said many visitors are also excited about the free campground beside placid Burns Lake alongside Radley Beach.

Speaking about ongoing tourism efforts, Peebles highlighted several efforts by the local government to attract and enhance tourism, which includes setting up new amenities at VIC. A self-serve kayakomat at Radley Beach, facilitates easy kayak rentals for exploring local lakes and scenic routes. Additionally, VIC also offers e-bike rentals and an EV charging unit for visitors to access. Tourism ambassadors also provide updates on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, enhancing visitor engagement with the area's attractions.

Looking ahead, Burns Lake plans to expand its tourism offerings, including developing First Nations history attractions, establishing year-round farmers' markets, and utilizing recently acquired recreation lands.

"The whole tourism game within easy reach of downtown is about to get enhanced in a year-round fashion," Peebles said.




About the Author: Binny Paul

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