Goat River

Feature type: River
Province: British Columbia
Location: Flows NE into Fraser River, near Rider
Latitude: 53°32’00”
Longitude: 120°34’00”
NTS map: 93H/10
Official name listed at BC Geographical Names

“We followed a stream to the summit or divide, between Big [Issac] Lake and the upper Fraser, having to cut our way through a heavy growth of brush and fallen timber. After passing over the summit at a distance of about four miles we came to a stream, which we called Goat River.” So reads the report of Robert Buchanan’s 1886 prospecting expedition, which started from Barkerville.

In 1871 a Canadian Pacific survey had cut a trail from Barkerville to Tête Jaune Cache through the Goat River valley, and the trail was used over the next year, but when the CPR abandoned the Yellowhead Route the trail fell into disuse. After Buchanan’s expedition the trail was occasionally used by miners, trappers, and lumbermen wanting to outfit out of Barkerville rather than Quesnel or Fort George. In 1887 rumors of gold drew forty Cariboo miners to the river, but after a week of fruitless panning they returned empty-handed. The trail was used in the 1910s to deliver bootleg liquor to the railway construction camps on the Fraser, and in the 1930s when mining began at Wells. Mica from a mine on Mica Mountain near Tête Jaune Cache was transported over the trail.

When newlyweds Cliff and Ruth Kopas traveled through the Goat River valley in 1933, they described the trail as being so bad that “when you get part way in, you keep going because you wouldn’t have the guts to go back over the trail again.” It was said that if you survived a trip through the Goat River, you could ride a rock slide down a mountain.

There are dangerous rapids in the Fraser River near the mouth of the Goat. The post office at Goat River Station operated from 1923 to 1945.

References:

  • Kopas, Cliff. Packhorses to the Pacific. Sidney, B.C.: Gray’s, 1976
  • MacGregor, James Grierson, 1905-1989. Overland by the Yellowhead. Saskatoon: Western Producer, 1974
  • Personal correspondence.
  • Topping, William. A checklist of British Columbia post offices. Vancouver: published by the author, 7430 Angus Drive, 1983
  • Wright, Richard. “Tales of a trail [Goat River].” BC Outdoors (1985).

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