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Water Today Title December 3, 2021

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Advisory of the Day



Suzanne Forcese

Cottonwood House
One of the last remaining roadhouses, built in 1860, this roadhouse once provided accommodation,
meals and provisions to miners and travellers on their way to Barkerville or Quesnel

Located 26 kilometres east of Quesnel on the Gold Rush Trail to Barkerville Historic Town, Cottonwood House sits on 26 acres, including various heritage buildings, a double barn, general store, interpretive building and horse barn. Three kilometres of trails loop around the site alongside the Cottonwood River.

A failed pump resulted in a Boil Water Advisory being issued on July 20, 2020.

“We resolved that pretty quickly by shocking the system,” CEO Ed Coleman told WATERTODAY in a telephone conversation. “The water sample results came back with a passing grade.”

Coleman, who was manager of a school division for 24 years, came to Cottonwood in 1998. “We have been fortunate enough to receive government subsidies to employ students who run our interpretive programs and tours.”

Although the site is down to 200 visitors per day from the normal 650-700, Coleman says, “It’s been pretty easy to implement Covid safety precautions because most of the activities and tours are outdoors. The general store is small enough that we can monitor traffic.”

Coleman adds the campsite can accommodate 400 people a day – which is only 40% of normal capacity.

Although he expects this is the new normal for the next couple of years, Ed Coleman remains optimistic that they can find creative ways to maintain the historic hospitality on the Gold Rush Trail while providing top notch education programs for schools, and tours for all ages.

“We have just published a book on the history of Cottonwood House which will be available soon!” Coleman adds with the obvious pride of someone who loves being a part of Canada’s heritage.


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