Building roads north in the Cariboo gold rush

Building roads north during the Cariboo gold rush was a much debated topic in 1862. Even the British Columbian newspaper which was usually quite favourable to the government wrote on March 13, 1862:

“As for the other roads into the upper country – the Yale, Lytton, and the Similkameen roads, they are not entitled to much consideration in this connection. The former is a mere mule trail, and the latter is from its location, of little present utility…it is better…to grant a temporary monopoly to a road or a lake, upon liberal terms, and under wholesome restrictions, than have the country ruined and population starved and disgusted a second time for want of these indispensable facilities – roads and steamboats.”

There was public criticism about the lack of infrastructure planning and the routes that the government had favoured such as the Douglas to Lillooet trail had proven to be to be of little use.  In March of 1862, the ill-fated Waddington & Co. officially gave up on their quest for a coastal route to the gold diggings while the Royal Engineers led by Colonel Moody reserved large sites for future towns at Bentinck, Bute and Dean.

Finally bowing to public demand, the colonial government started to provide money for road building north of Yale.

Boston Bar to Lytton Road

Boston Bar to Lytton Road

On April 3, 1862, the British Columbian newspaper reported,

“…the Boston Bar-Lytton Road has, after more than six months shuffling, been awarded to Mr. (Thomas) Spence for $88,000. Spence came up by the steamer Otter, and is making arrangements for placing 300 men upon the work forthwith which is to be completed in June…we have been given to understand that a party of Royal Engineers will operate upon the portion of the road between Yale and Chapman’s Bar, the balance to be let out by contract.”