Emerald Bay/Green Lake
There was far more than just gold discovered during the boom days along the Cariboo Wagon Road. While many passed through the vast geography along the road to riches, others chose to explore the surrounding areas and find a different kind of wealth. With so much land in every direction, the region was beckoning for discovery and settlement. And those that dared, travelled into new and unchartered territory – or so they believed.
The Secwepemc, Shuswap people, have been travelling and living off of the forests, streams and lakes of the area for several thousands of years. They began sharing their ancestral territory in the early 1800s with the coming of the fur traders from the from Hudson’s Bay Company.
Seeking a route from Fort Langley to Fort Alexandria and onto Fort George, Alexander Caulfield Anderson, with great perseverance and remarkable patience, was able to establish and map the route between the forts. The Fur Brigade Trail meandered alongside creeks and streams.1 In their canoes they fought rivers and rapids. They crossed muskeg and lake. They traversed plateaus and mountains, meadows and forests. It was hard work and many horses met an unfortunate demise.
However, one day when the voyageurs were travelling the meadows not far from the Bonaparte River, they came upon the brilliant and clear waters of a large lake dotted with islands. They were smitten. Such beauty was rarely seen. So unusual was the colour the French voyageurs could only best describe it as Lac du Vert.
Green Lake, as it is known today, is a treasure nestled in the heart of the Southern Cariboo. Its waters are crystal clear and a brilliant green. It is fed by two clean running creeks, Watch and Nolan, several springs within the lake itself, and the snowmelt from the surrounding uplands. It is dotted with a number of islands, large and small, and most of the bays and shores are a lovely soft black sand.
One of the greenest colours around the lake can be found at Emerald Bay, where the sands are black on shore and one can easily see the bottom of the lake beneath the deep emerald hue of the crystal clear water. So why is this lake so green?
It is a remarkable mix of nature and chemistry that makes this lake such a beautiful green. The chemical composition of the water, the microorganisms and phytoplankton, along with the physics of light, give us the beautiful green hues. It is especially effective as the lake is shallow with a clear sandy bottom.
The Emerald Bay campground is considered by many, the most wonderful of all BC provincial parks. It offers lovely campsites in a trembling aspen forest, a great children’s play park and a large covered log shelter for reprieve from the hot sun or the cool summer rains. Of course the best feature is the exotic sandy beach at the water’s edge of the rich emerald coloured bay, making it a swimmers dream.
Emerald Bay is paradise – a brilliant and sparkling green gem in the heart of Gold Country.