Forestry, tourism and agriculture form a diversified economic base for the area. While Forestry remains our most dominant industry sector; tourism has been showing continual growth and stands as our most rapidly expanding sector. The phenomenal growth of tourism is characterized by a substantial increase in tourism based businesses throughout the area and the recognition of the region as a destination vacation spot. Agriculture, though small in scale, still represents substantial importance to the local economy.
For more information on business please refer to the Clearwater and District Chamber of Commerce website or by calling (250) 674-3530 ext 112.
Agriculture is an important component of the local economy; there is a rich history of ecologically diverse and healthy living since the first peoples arrived over 10,000 years ago, to modern day farmers who have homesteaded, raised families, and worked in the valley since the mid 1800’s. Agriculture in the region has traditionally been livestock operations of beef and sheep, predominately beef, with alfalfa and hay crops providing a value added component to the beef operation. Beef production continues to be the primary agricultural activity in the region. The diverse climate of the region supports major crops like alfalfa, hay, and most vegetables. Local crop production is consumed partially by the weekly Farmers Market during the months of May to October. A local group of non-profit working volunteers (Food Action North Thompson) help improve food security in the North Thompson Valley by strengthening our local food system through communication, education, and by championing local food security initiatives.
British Columbia is the largest producer of forest products in Canada and the North Thompson has been a significant contributor to the production of conventional lumber.
Forestry has been one of the major economic sectors in Clearwater. After the closure of the Canfor mill in the area, the District of Clearwater’s Forestry Working Group is actively pursuing for value-added forestry and wood waste utilization for this area.
At the moment, number of value-added wood products manufactured in Clearwater and more specifically in Well Gray Country ranges from veneer products, housing products, wood crafters and more. Custom cut lumber is available at various specialty mills. There are several woodlot licences and the Wells Gray Community Forest within and adjacent to the District boundaries which provide for opportunities to grow value added and green energy components of forestry.
Forestry Working Group
- Formed in 2012 as a sub-committee to the Economic Development Standing Committee
- Members are appointed by Council and include representatives of the forest sector, Simpcw First Nation and one elected official from Council, and CAO
- brings community forestry expertise and knowledge for discussions on important forest economic opportunities or issues facing the community
- objectives include; help enhance sustainable and stable employment, mitigate the impact on local employment by centralization, strive for more influence on forest related decisions which affect the local community, develop a Forestry Vision statement for the North Thompson, promote Education and Training in Forest Sector, encourage sustainable Forest Practices i.e. Silviculture, Fuel Management, etc.
Meet the Task Force
Mayor Blackwell, Chair
Councillor Barry Banford
George Brcko, Wells Gray Community Forest Corporation
Cheryl Thomas, Clearwater and District Chamber of Commerce
Edi Torrens, Acting District Manager, MFLNRORD
Myles Bruns, Regional Manager, Rural Development
Heather MacLennan, Healthy Forests / Healthy Communities
Jessica Gunn, BC Timber Sales
Sharon Neufeld, Wells Gray Country Services Committee (TNRD Area A)
Kerri Jo Fortier, Manager Natural Resources, Simpcw First Nation
Mike Law, BC Wildfire Branch
Erik Kok, Interfor
Chad Swanson, West Fraser
Max Gunster, Salvage Loggers
Craig Hewlett, Gilbert Smith Forest Products.
Leslie Groulx, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)
The housing sector within our region expanded with the addition of an affordable housing complex consisting of 26 units under the management of Yellowhead Community Services, a 20 unit independent living facility (the third of its kind) managed by the Evergreen Acres Society and an assisted living unit under construction currently.
The mining sector is another important component that has the potential to provide for our local economy. The District of Clearwater is within close proximity to two operational mines, the Ruddock Creek mine owned and operated by Imperial Metals and the Harper Creek mine owned by Taseko Mines Ltd. Both sites have the potential to provide the area with hundreds of job opportunities in the event the Environmental Assessment process is successful.
Wells Gray Provincial Park is a popular destination for tourists from May to October. The milder climates during the spring and summer along with our pristine wilderness make it ideal for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Opportunities abound for world-class hiking, canoeing, and white water rafting. The winter months provides for plentiful winter tourism opportunities such as Cross Country Skiing with 84 kms of groomed trail.
Tourism Wells Gray is moving tourism forward which has an increasingly important role in the local economy, with 15% of the population employed in or involved with the hospitality industry, generating in excess of 123 person years of employment and contributing over $20m in community revenue.
In 2011 Clearwater and district hosted over half a million visitors from around the world, who came to enjoy the accessible wilderness and adventure lifestyle that Tourism Wells Gray promotes on the global stage.