You might be surprised to know there’s gold in Kelowna’s Mission Creek, but the secret is getting out.
Mark Boppre has been panning for gold in Mission Creek for the past three years.
“One of the things that’s interesting about Mission Creek that’s kind of interesting is that here we are, right in the heart of Rutland, and people will shoot me to say this — my friends here — but it’s a good little strip along here that produces a reasonable amount of small placer gold.”
A little strip that produces small flakes.
“So there is a pan of gold with six of seven pieces.”
Enough pieces to encourage Boppre to keep coming back — enough to create a bit of a gold rush in Kelowna.
Prospector Scott McCluskey of Kelowna says there’s gold all over the Okanagan Valley and surrounding areas.
“If you look at the geological area around here, the whole basin — the Okanagan area is full gold mines. Down in Rock Creek, Beaverdell area, up north in Kamloops, Tulameen by Princeton. We’re surrounded by gold in this area.
But, with the exception of a few, you won’t get rich mining for gold. But some are cashing in on the spin-off businesses from the Okanagan gold rush.
Bob Kay is one of them. He could see the writing on the wall and is opening up a shop in Rutland catering to gold miners called Prospectors Point.
“We’ll provide things like pick axes, gold pans, kits.”
You can say that Fred Lubberts is ahead of the game. He’s been selling the tools and gear needed for gold mining since 2006.
“I started here because most of the stuff that you got to buy — gold pans — you have to buy it through the States. There was nobody else around here that sells it so I thought it would be a great thing to do.”
He says most of his customers are beginners and offers this advice.
“Hard work and you’re not going to get rich.”
But you don’t have to tell Marc Boppre that. He’s not in it to get rich – not in it to find that giant piece of gold. He’s in it for a little piece of mind.
“It’s a great place to kick back and be yourself with nature. And I think that’s the attraction of it. And if you find a few flakes of gold along the way then that’s great. If not, you find a new spot.”