Interesting Places in the Region
Burns Lake, the "Heart of the Lakes District", is located on the shores of Burns Lake and is a year round destination. The economic mainstay of this community includes logging, farming and tourism. The construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway 1908 - 1914 brought settlers to this now supply centre for the Lakes District. Visit the Lakes District Museum and its logging exhibits. Burns Lake is located on the Yellowhead Highway 225 km (140 miles) west of Prince George.
It's 60 miles from Ootsa Lake Ranch to Burns Lake and 35 miles from Binta Lake Farm if one uses the Francois Lake ferry in Southbank. The ferry leaves every hour and is free. The population is 2,146 and of the surrounding area 8,500. The climate in the summer averages 16C., in the winter minus 10C. Precipitation is 45.7 cm/yr.
Grassy Plains, a small village, from Ootsa Lake Ranch some 40 minutes on the way to the ferry, has various shops, gas station, a garage and a primary/secondary school with a school bus to the ranch. 45 minutes from the Ranch in direction of the ferry is the small village of Takysie Lake which has a small shop, a post office and gas station.
Fraser Lake is a small village some 87 miles northeast of Ootsa Lake Ranch and 35 miles northeast from Binta Lake Farm on the Yellowhead Highway. It has grocery stores, schools, a hospital, doctors, banks, motels, restaurants, gas stations and garages.
Prince George (appr. 80.000 inhabitants, 190 miles east of Ootsa Lake Ranch and 130 miles northeast of Binta Lake Farm) is the largest service centre in the northern part of British Columbia. It is perfectly situated at the crossroads of two major highways and two railways. Once a fur trading fort, Prince George now has all the modern amenities amidst a sea of natural attractions that entice visitors from around the world. As well as serving the north as an economic centre, Prince George is also home to Canada's newest university, the University of Northern British Columbia, providing students from northern B.C. with more educational opportunities.
Prince George (3 1/4 hours drive from Ootsa Lake Ranch and 2 3/4 hours from Binta Lake Farm) has the largest airport in the area with several flights daily to Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and other Canadien cities.
Smithers ( 2 1/2 hours and appr. 130 miles northwest from Ootsa Lake Ranch and Binta Lake Farm) - The "Town for All Seasons" (population approximately 5.000) is set in the Bulkley Valley like a little town in the Alps. The surrounding mountains provide the backdrop for the downtown alpine decorations while also providing mountain lakes, rivers and waterfalls for the adventurous to experience and explore. The spring and summer months lure the outdoor adventurer to the surrounding mountains to see nearby glaciers, hike or horseback ride the alpine meadows.
The fossil formations at Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park are a haven for the rock hound. Area lodges cater to those who are keen for fishing, wildlife watching, canoeing or even photo safaris.
Fall lures the hunters and fishers, while the majestic changing colours of our Indian Summer are a magnet for the avid photographer. Dog sledding, cross country and down hill skiing plus snowmobiling are there for those who enjoy winter activities. Smithers offers one of the two best skiing areas in B.C., besides Whistler.
Smithers also boasts a colourful history; once the divisional headquarters of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, the era can be relived at the Bulkley Valley Museum. The local wildlife museum and fish hatchery encourages a closer look at the regions natural inhabitants.
No matter what the season, Smithers offers a smorgasbord of activities guaranteed to whet the appetite of the explorer, thrill seeker or romantic. Smithers has another major airport with several flights daily to Vancouver.