Violet Prince (second from left)

FSJ is stewed in Banff history

Fort St. James National Historic Site staff and park volunteers were in Banff, Alberta on October 1 and 2

Fort St. James National Historic Site staff and park volunteers were in Banff, Alberta on  October 1 and 2 as part of an interesting marketing opportunity between Parks Canada historic sites in western Canada.

Four park interpeters and 2 park ambassador volunteers were invited by the staff of Banff National Park to bring a sample of what Fort St. James has to offer, as part of some exciting special events taking place during the first weekend of October in the fabled mountain community.

With assistance from local Parks Canada staff working for the Banff Park Museum National Historic Site, a massive cast-iron stove was moved from the Fort to Banff so that delicious baking powder biscuits and homemade beef stew could be cooked up and dished out to more than 500 willing patrons on main Banff Avenue.

Interpreters from the Fort St. James National Historic Site included Lyle Penner, Violet Prince and Rene Leidl,  who delivered outstanding samples of programming about fur trading in New Caledonia, making moccasins and Carrier/Dakelh culture and an introduction to the site’s new bed and breakfast program, which ran it’s first complete season as a permanent program during the summer of 2011.

Banff park staff and visitors were all left with a tantalizing taste of a future Fort St. James visit, which was well received by all who took part.

Fort St. James historic site staff were also given a tour of the Cave and Basin National Historic Site which, in 1885, became the birthplace of the national park system in Canada. This exciting season-ending event resulted in 500 bowls of stew being served, more than 1,000 direct interpretive contacts being made and a lot of exposure for tourism in Fort St. James and Northern B.C. tourism, as regional and community visitor guides were handed out.

Fort St. James National Historic Site also enjoyed a second year of increasing visitation this season also, in spite of poor weather for much of the year. A seven percent increase, or just over 800 people have come to visit Fort St. James over the already increased visitation in 2010 also.

Park staff are now in the midst of a management plan review, exhibit updates and other major planning as Fort St. James National Historic Site looks ahead to the summer of 2012.

Public comment and feedback is being sought as the park plans it’s future direction for the next 10 years.