Top things to see and do in Houston

by Breanne Massey

The Skeena Bulkley Valley, in northern British Columbia, has been keeping Houston a secret from tourists. With Smithers to the north and Burns Lake to the south, it’s not hard to overlook a quaint town like Houston when you’re driving an RV.

Houston is the perfect place to recharge your batteries from the hustle and bustle of life in the city.

The winding roads lead you to a place where the locals are friendly, the outdoors are pristine and the walls of downtown are covered in brightly-coloured murals. Take some time and enjoy being outdoors, because the locals of Houston are truly committed to maintaining a pleasant sense of community with one another and with travelers.

1) The world’s largest fly-fishing rod

Every town gloats about something, but Houston is renowned for having the world’s largest fly-fishing rod.

During the 1980s a local fly fisherman decided to build a fishing rod that is 60 feet long and weighs roughly 800 pounds. In the 90s the rod was put on display in Steelhead Park, where it remains today to remind locals and tourists alike about the extensive options available for fishing in the area.

Two rivers run through Houston: the Bulkley and the Morice. As a result, the area boasts some of the best steelhead fishing in the valley.

Whether you’re casting from the shore or from your boat, you’re likely to catch steelhead, trout or salmon. The rivers and lakes in the Skeena Bulkley Valley area are secluded and bountiful.

For information on hiring guides, buying licenses, using facilities or finding maps, please visit the local chamber of commerce.

2) Steelhead Park

Sauntering through the pathways of this award-winning park is enjoyable during the summer.  Simple flower arrangements, small sculptures and the largest fly-fishing rod in the world are located in Steelhead Park. The warm weather often brings locals to the park to have a picnic or to meet up with their friends.

During the winter, the park is transformed by a blanket of snow and strings of sparkling Christmas lights.

Luckily, the park is easily accessible from downtown Houston.

3) The duck pond walking trail

It’s not important how you enter the duck pond walking trail; it’s just important to get there.

There are three entrances to the trail and it is an easy walk for people of all ages. Once inside you can explore the area and find local wildlife like mallards, blue-winged teals, common goldeneyes and much more.

Another appealing aspect to the duck pond walking trail is having the freedom to discover the marsh, which is home to a number of plants and animals.

You can find entrances to the trail from Nadina Way, Hangman Park or Hangman Crescent.

4) Houston Leisure Facility

Over four years ago, a state-of-the-art aquatic centre was installed for the community of Houston.

The Houston Leisure Facility offers an easily accessible building for people with physical challenges as well as a place for family fun or relaxation.

Inside the aquatic centre there is a four-lane pool with a lazy river, a hot tub and a steam room. The facilities provide people with the opportunity to relax in the warmth or to push themselves to new limits by swimming laps.

There is also a gym available for people to practice cardio or to push weights.

For more information, please visit www.houston.ca or phone (250)845-7420.

5) The phantom bear

Grizzly bears roam throughout the Skeena Bulkley Valley, but only one bear is a legend.

Yellowing newspaper clippings from the past reveal constant reports about ranchers missing cattle on Hungry Hill, but nobody could figure out why. Later, the ranchers discovered that an eleven-foot-tall bear weighing roughly 975 pounds was the culprit.

Eventually the phantom bear was shot by a local predator control officer from the provincial cattleman’s association. There is a similar bear on display at the Smithers airport, but typically these creatures are valued and protected up north.

The phantom grizzly bear is now on display at the local visitor’s centre, just off of Highway 16.

More information about the phantom bear can be found at the local chamber of commerce. Bear safety information for being outdoors is available at www.bearaware.bc.ca


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