The Slocan Valley - Our Economy
through the Slocan Valley, many first time visitors are surprised
by the lack of visible industry. No smokestacks, no strip malls,
no fast food joints. Paradise has not been paved with a parking
lot. The occasional sign entices visitors to a B & B, or artisan
studio, or adventure tourism business. And there is a restaurant
here, and a small grocery store there.
So, many tourists ask, “How do people make
a living here?” For the approximately 4,500 people who call
the Valley home, making a living usually means either creating their
own business, or working for one of the numerous small operations
spread throughout the Valley. Many are home-based by choice, allowing
the business owners to live where they work. Here, quality of life
comes far before creating wealth.
private farms , many originally started by Russian
Doukhobors, produce organic fruit and vegetables to local markets.
Other organic crops are grown and harvested on public land.
Independent tourism operators provide world-class
rafting, hiking, horseback trips, fishing, bicycle tours, mountain
biking, and back country skiing. It’s eco-tourism here, as
compared the “ego-tourism” offered at huge resorts.
Golfing is a fraction of the price you
are used to paying. On a couple of nine hole courses, grizzled old
miners tee off with wooden clubs, aiming for the hole beyond the
stream, past the bear and in front of the glacier. Carts are available,
but most people choose to walk, extending their time in the incredible
Due to the geology of the area, hot
springs bubble up in the area surrounding Slocan Valley.
Three are developed and provide pools and accommodation. And of
course, employment. Others still exist in their original undeveloped
states, known only to locals who like to relax au natural.
manufacturers produce food products such as condiments
and jams. Natural soaps, body products and tinctures made in the
Valley are marketed through the Internet. A world famous casket-coffin
furniture maker resides locally and sells internationally.
Many artisans and crafters
have made the Slocan Valley their home, far from the bustle of the
big city. Much of their work ends up in homes and galleries around
Writers sit in their yards
or on their decks, inspired by the tranquil surroundings.
At one time, there were over 260 documented
mines in the area when lead and gold were found in
quantity. Silver was abundant, giving the name of ‘the Silvery
Slocan’ to the area. Most towns in the Valley grew around
silver mines, only to shrink to a fraction of their size when deposits
ran out. Today, small scale mining of
gemstones such as sapphire, garnet, amethyst, quartz, and iolite
crystals has begun.
and sawmilling , once a mainstay of the economy, still
exists, but the economy is more diversified now. Urban refugees
and knowledge workers have been escaping
to the Valley since the mid 1960’s. With the advent of advanced
personal technology and the Internet, a growing number of people
are discovering that they can own a home and a business for a fraction
of what it would cost elsewhere. They transfer their knowledge via
computer, and their clients transfer the money the same way.
Tourism and its attendant service industries are growing industries here. Outfitters, guides, gear, guidebooks, accommodations, small general stores, credit unions, hardware stores, local co-ops, service stations, coffee shops & restaurants, and artisan shops provide locals and visitors with the necessities of life.
And that’s how we make a living here. So come
stay with us a day, a week or forever.