Goodbye and thanks…

Kevin Gedling reflects on his time in Fort St. James and the community.

Editor:

My final week in Fort St. James brings much to my mind.

My thoughts reflect on how much progress we’ve made with increased caring and engagement for Fort St. James. I can reflect on countless times that visitors had amazing opportunities to be wowed and inspired here.

And the endless number of events and opportunities where I met great people who came from around the world to see this special place.

At Fort St. James National Historic Site, our heritage interpreters truly are an inspiration. Without them, there would be no historic park to speak of.

Having worked in many diverse settings in western Canada, I can truly say the level of experience they deliver on day in and day out each summer is on par with the finest museums and attractions in all of Canada. The NHS is looked after by the best in maintenance tradespersons and above all, site manager Bob Grill mentors and creates a unique working environment where ideas can run free.

Outside of the NHS, we are supported by the most unique of circumstances, where we live in the middle of a diverse community.

On one side lies the Nak’azdli First Nation, and on the other lies the District of Fort St. James. Two places – but one community!

We are supported by incredible people on both sides, including our Friends of Fort St James National Historic Site, the Nak’azdli Elders Advisory Committee and countless staff, agencies and volunteers from across the entire region. In a wider context, Fort St. James National Historic Site has developed some enthusiastic supporting partners and tourism relationships which are the envy of many, many similar heritage attractions.

Some of this collaboration has led to regional and even national recognition of our work together, with partners, to make Fort St. James an even better place to visit.

Fort St. James National Historic Site has always been a tremendous place to visit: even our visitor surveys for many years back allude to that fact.

But in recent years local residents have been successfully re-reminded of this place and its incredible historic significance.

It needs your support, your involvement, your engagement and your visitation to continue that incredible progress forward.

It’s your historic site: if you’re not already involved, then perhaps it’s time for you to do so.

I can’t begin to thank everyone who helped to make my past three years here (here includes Northern BC!)  The adventure of a lifetime.

What I will say is: working together and building opportunity that supports heritage tourism truly makes for better communities.

And when you build a place that people want to visit, you are building a place that people want to live.  Thank you for the chance to work with many of you, and thank you for the chance to learn and be inspired by you.

 

Kevin Gedling

 

Fort St. James National Historic Site