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Highway 97's closure giving some towns more exposure

(Courtesy McBride.ca)

McBride is taking care of more visitors, as wildfires force vacationers to change their plans

Tourists are discovering the towns of McBride and Valemount while being rerouted on the Yellowhead Highway

MCBRIDE (NEWS 1130) – Travellers who are used to using Highway 97 as the quickest way to move north-south in BC are seeing different vistas, thanks to the closure of that highway due to wildfires.

Some BC towns are benefitting from this summer’s road detours.

McBride, for one, is situated along the Yellowhead Highway, arguably the more scenic route to Prince George.

Dannielle Alan is the manager of McBride’s Visitor Centre and points out some people are headed to their region after forest fires elsewhere ruined previous vacation plans.

“We are seeing a marked increase in traffic coming through. Also, we have visitors who have already booked vacations in the Cariboo but decided to go someplace else.”

She says they were already anticipating an uptick in tourists, because Jasper National Park is free this year, but the numbers surpass anything they were expecting.

“When they closed Wells Gray Park, we saw a bunch of people come north looking for similar opportunities in Robson Provincial Park, which is right next to us.”

She points out they’re also welcoming other guests. The town have set up an evacuation comfort centre, for people being chased out of their homes due to wildfires.