Living In British Columbia: Hoodoo Lake

Homesteading in the beautiful area of Hoodoo Lake, British Columbia.

| January/February 1971

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    British Columbia offers its residents some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet.
    Photo by George Bumpus

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A considerable number of people from the United States and various parts of Canada are coming into the Prince George area of British Columbia. Many are moving onto the land. As B. C. homesteaders of a few years my wife, Karen, and I would like to pass along some of our experience to anyone who is thinking of settling in this region.

Naturally, it's wise to consider all the pros and cons before making a final decision to homestead here. What some people will shudder at the thought of, others may like. For example, although the summers are mild, winters in central B. C. are cold and dry from November through April. That's right: November through April. Snow covers the ground for six months of the year and temperatures sometimes go down to 50 or more degrees below zero. Considerable heating fuel is required during these months and warm clothing is necessary out of doors. The growing season is short and spring thaws make back roads rough traveling.

On the other hand, in the opinion of some—including Karen and myself—winter here is beautiful. There aren't any mosquitoes or black flies around as there sometimes are in spring and early summer. Winter in central British Columbia is a quiet, peaceful season when there isn't much work to be done and large quantities of time can be devoted to hobbies and leisure.

Of course your choice doesn't have to be this narrow. If you want to combine the peace and quiet with a much milder climate, there are many other locations-including the Gulf Islands—farther south in B. C. that may appeal to you. The dry cold of the Prince George area may be a lot more satisfying than you realize, however. At least Karen (who lived in Seattle before moving to Canada) and I (Los Angeles and San Francisco) both like it.

We thought about moving out of the city and living in the woods for many months before Karen and I started looking around the British Columbia interior for a reasonably priced suitable piece of property on which to develop a small subsistence farm. Just any location wouldn't do. We wanted good soil and plenty of fish and game in the area. Water availability was important, as was the reasonably close proximity of a large town (so I could work part time). The Prince George locale—with its many lakes and large moose population—seemed, to us, ideal and we eventually purchased a 100 acre property on Hoodoo Lake Road, 31 miles northwest of the city.


Central British Columbia definitely has one thing in its favor: There is still plenty of inexpensive land available in the region even though the three local pulp mills have been granted thousands of acres under a pulp harvesting lease. Although these leases make it difficult to find any government land available for pre-emption or purchase within a 100-mile radius of Prince George and although much of the remaining acreage is Crown Land not suitable for tree production (if it won't grow trees, it's not suitable for agricultural lease and few back-to-the-landers would want it anyway) . . . government lease, back tax sale and private holdings leave a large choice for your consideration.

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