Just as historic gold miners combed the banks of the Fraser River searching for a bonanza, today’s visitors to Hope and the Fraser Canyon can experience gold panning for themselves.
A good spot for the novice gold panner is at the mouth of the Coquihalla River at Seventh Avenue and Wardle Street in Hope. Other areas in the Fraser Canyon include Waterfront Park in Yale and a panning reserve in Lytton.
In summer, experience the life of a gold panner at the annual Fraser River Gold Panning Championships hosted by Yukon Dan, Aug. 22-25, 2013. The event takes place at Anderson Creek Campground in Boston Bar.
Gold panning is restricted in many areas of the Fraser River. Panning is not permitted in provincial parks, native reserves or on previously staked claims. To start, fill the pan with gravel then submerge it in slow-moving water. Keep the pan in the water, tip it slightly away and swirl the mixture. Lighter material will be the first to fall out, leaving behind the gold. Bigger gold flakes can be found in gravel or coarse sand.
Treasure hunting with a GPS
Hope and the Fraser Canyon offers hundreds of geocache sites waiting to be discovered, ranging from simple to extreme.
Geocaching is one of the fastest-growing pastimes today – involving treasure hunting, orienteering, the use of personal GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver units and the Internet to hide and seek containers (called geocaches or caches). A geocacher will place a waterproof container, containing a log book and some sort of treasure. Cache coordinates are noted, along with other details of the location, then posted online. Other geocachers obtain the coordinates from the Internet and seek out the cache.
Geocachers are free to take objects from the cache in exchange for leaving something of similar or higher value, so there is treasure for the next person to find.