Barkerville Heritage Trust to manage historic Cottonwood House

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The Honourable Steve Thompson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, announced on Wednesday that the Barkerville Heritage Trust will be the new operator of Cottonwood House effective April 1, 2015.

Under a one-year agreement, the Trust will manage the property for public and recreational use. A longer-term agreement may be considered.

“Our long-term goal is to have our historic sites become financially self-sufficient,” said Minister Thompson. “This one-year agreement with the Barkerville Heritage Trust is a step in that direction.”

The Barkerville Heritage Trust will assume management of Cottonwood House from Quesnel School District 28. After managing the site for 11 years and providing work experience for hundreds of high school students, the school district recently relinquished management of the historic site.

“Having been part of the restoration of Cottonwood House when I was with School District 28, I am familiar with the site and look forward to continuing with preservation efforts,” said Barkerville’s Chief Executive Officer, Ed Coleman.

Cottonwood House is one of a few remaining 19th-century roadhouses in British Columbia. Built in the 1860s it provided accommodation, meals and provisions for miners and travellers going to Barkerville and the Cariboo goldfields, or south to Williams Lake and Victoria. Previously purchased parcels of land were consolidated by the Province in 1999, and designated in their entirety under the Heritage Conservation Act. Today, Cottonwood House consists of heritage buildings, a working farm, wheel-chair accessible trails, rustic accommodations and camping sites.

“I am a passionate supporter of our heritage and I also understand the importance of attractions such as Cottonwood House to support our tourism sector,” said the Honourable Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and MLA for Cariboo North. “Having an agreement with Barkerville Heritage Trust enables us to work as a region to diversify our economy and take advantage of the [Royal BC Museum] Gold Rush Trail exhibit moving throughout the province in 2015.”

To learn more about BC’s Heritage Properties, please visit: www2.gov.bc.ca.

To learn more about Cottonwood House Historic Site, visit: www.cottonwoodhouse.ca.

To learn more about the Barkerville Heritage Trust, visit: www.barkerville.ca/about_trust.htm.