Ancient fossil beds could provide new opportunities for Cache Creek
November 29, 2017 by Tanya Laing Gahr
Everything (very, very) old could be new again near Cache Creek thanks to Councillor Wendy Coomber’s good luck and a little help from FortisBC. Coomber was the winner of a draw prize from FortisBC at the recent UBCM conference, which provided her with $1,500 to donate to a nonprofit organization in her community. Coomber selected the Cache Creek Beautification Society.
“I chose the Beautification Society because, of all the societies that I know of in Cache Creek, this one has the broadest mandate for community work,” said Coomber. “This group has many ongoing projects in town, including Communities in Bloom, the Farmer & Flea Market every Saturday during the summer, Seedy Saturday and the Winter Lights Celebration.”
The Cache Creek Beautification Society will be using the money to celebrate some of the history of the region—ancient history.
Two years ago, the Beautification Society recognized McAbee Fossil Beds as a potential project. The McAbee Fossil Beds east of Cache Creek beds are part of an old lake bed that was deposited about 52 million years ago and the site is renowned for the diversity of plant, insect and fish fossils found there. The fossil beds were declared a heritage site by the B.C. government in 2012 and closed to the public until a sustainable stewardship plan was developed. Coomber hopes the $1,500 investment, which the Beautification Society will direct to the McAbee Working Group, will allow the public to once more see the paleontological treasures in the area.
“The McAbee Working Group formed in 2016 with the Province’s blessing and has been working to re-open the site,” said Coomber. “Besides protecting the valuable resources left in this 53-million-year-old deposit, the group also recognizes that McAbee could have a huge economic impact on the local area through tourism and jobs—something that we could really use in Cache Creek.”
Drawing on ancient history to bring new economic opportunities to the area is a creative approach. We’re sure that fossil enthusiasts will agree.