Heritage Sites of the East Cariboo
The Bullion Pit is an impressive man-made chasm on the Likely Rd about 5 km north of Likely. This gold mine, which operated between the 1870s and 1942, was known once as the largest hydraulic placer mine in the world – hydraulic placer mining being the system they used to mine, employing large amounts of water to wash away everything but the gold. The mine itself is astonishingly large, being 125 m deep, 300 m wide and almost 3 km wide. Because of the large amount of water used to wash away nearly 200 million tons of dirt, gravel and rocks, the mine used three lakes including Morehead Lake, which was created for the pit. The site formerly housed 35 buildings and lodging for 120 workers. In its lifetime the mine is estimated to have extracted 70 million dollars worth of gold, and even today traces of gold and other minerals can be found at the bottom of the pit.
Cedar Point is a class C provincial park located on Quesnel Lake past Likely. Quesnel Lake is known as the deepest fjord lake in the world. The park, filled with old growth cedar, was originally a stopover and campground for the Interior Shuswap People, and later became a rendezvous point for fur traders with the Hudson Bay Company. When gold was discovered in Cedar Creek in 1858, the area grew into a boom city. A fire nearly destroyed the old growth forest in 1869 but due to the efforts of miners, the trees were saved. In 1962 Cedar Point became a provincial park and as such protects the only inland temperate rainforest in the world. The park hosts the Cedar City Museum, Gift Shop and Info Centre which include displays of antique mining equipment, and other interesting artifacts. The park also includes a playground, a paved boat launch, a ballpark, excellent fishing, and a campground.
Quesnelle Forks was the first Gold Rush town in the Cariboo. Once a candidate for becoming the capital of British Columbia, it is now an abandoned ghost town. Quesnelle Forks was a thriving community with a population of well over 5000 merchants and miners. Founded in 1858, at the meeting of the Quesnel and Cariboo rivers, Quesnelle Forks provided an access to the mining areas of Keithley Creek and the Snowshoe Plateau as well of supporting a year round population of Chinese settlers. Quesnelle Forks declined in popularity when the Cariboo Road through to Barkerville bypassed the town site. Most of the mines in the area closed during the 1920s, and the town site was abandoned in 1956. Even today, however, gold panners still look for gold on the riverbanks. Today the site and historic cemetery is being maintained and restored by the Likely Cemetery Society, and is located just north of Likely on Quesnel Forks Road.