Tulameen is an area steeped in mining history and pioneer legend. Formerly used by First Nations as a base camp for hunting and trapping, the increasingly burgeoning and profitable fur trade, with it’s wide variety of beautiful, plentiful and luxurious pelts attracted the Hudson’s Bay Company to the area and their fur brigades used a route which passed through the town. They named it “Encampment des Femmes” after the women who waited for their men out trapping or on the brigades.
Also known as Otter Flat in later years, this spot was officially named Tulameen in 1901 – a native name referring to deposits of “red earth” (ochre) found in this area. Gold brought people to the region in the late 1890’s and nearby Granite Creek became the third largest city in B.C. rivaling Vancouver and Victoria. Communities sprang up on the strength of the coal and copper mining industry and attracted the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) and the Granby Mining Company. The region became Canada’s sole supplier of platinum and its coal powered the KVR and the VV&E, part of the Great Northern Railway. Today, crumbling building foundations and the empty rail-bed of the KVR winding towards the horizon are echoes of a prosperous past. Historical sites in the area include Granite Creek, founded by Johnny Chance when he stopped here for a drink of water and discovered gold nuggets lying at the bottom of the creek, Blakeburn, the home of an underground coal mine in the early 1900’s, Coalmont, named after the coal deposits mined after the gold at Granite City ran out, and Hedley, site of famous Nickel Plate Mountain.
Today, there are about 250 permanent residents here but this number typically grows in the summer months as tourists come to enjoy the beautiful area. The Tulameen General Store has a restaurant, liquor store, post office, video rentals, and gas station. The community also has bike rentals (Crossroads Bike Rentals), community centre, outdoor skating rink, library, volunteer fire department, and skidoo dealer & repair centre. Geocaching is very popular in this area.
The Otter Lake area where The Alder is located consists of a 6 km long lake covering about 290 hectares (716 acres) at an elevation of 823 m (2700 ft.) It is an exceptional recreational lake for an abundance of water activities including swimming, water-skiing. The lake is also very well known for its abundance of fishing, which is well stocked with a variety of fish including lake trout, rainbow, brook trout and kokanee. The town of Tulameen is located at the south end of the lake and a Provincial campsite borders the northwest side. A scenic bike ride will take you along the Trans Canada Trail, and visitors enjoy stopping for ice cream in Tulameen after their adventures.