Smithers Exploration Group mini mineral set. (Contributed photo)

Smithers tour highlights importance of mining

Smithers Exploration Group’s Geo Crawl offers prizes to people who participate

The Smithers Exploration Group’s (SEG) annual Geo Crawl is back.

The event allows people to take an educational tour of downtown Smithers at their own leisure and learn how mining influences daily life.

“We hope people have fun going out into their community, looking at some of the things they see all of the time and realizing how many of them used mined materials,” said Lorie Farrell, P. Geo., outreach coordinator for SEG.

“Maybe while they are spending time downtown they will stop in and support a local store. We also hope people learn a new skill. Maybe they have a GPS that they would like to try out or would like to teach their kids how to read a map. Topographic map and GPS training are some of the activities that we bring to local classrooms.”

There are 12 stops on the tour. They can be found with a map provided by SEG or by punching in the coordinates into a GPS. Each stop has a trivia question. The brochure with the map and the questions can be found at the Bulkley Valley Museum, Smithers District Chamber of Commerce (Visitor Centre) and the offices of The Interior News, as well as on the SEG’s Facebook page.

There are prizes for those who participate.

“We will be doing draws for the Geo Crawl through the summer as entries come in,” said Farrell. “The more entries we get, the more draws we will do and the more gift cards we will buy from our local businesses for prizes. We also have mini-mineral sets that we have made that we will give out to people that return their entries.”

The Geo Crawl is one of many activities and events the group puts on every year.

“SEG is regularly involved with events and activities with the general public, schools, and other groups in our area. We have information on geology, the use of mined materials and the exploration projects and mines that are active in our region,” she added.

However, due to the ongoing pandemic, the group has to get creative in how they deliver some of their other activities in the region.

“Since we can’t come to events to show off our rocks and do activities in person due to COVID-19, we are moving some of our activities into an online format with the help from a group called Below BC. This is still in progress but we hope to have some fun geology activities ready to go for the winter and plan on posting more things on our Facebook page. Below BC has a lot of interesting things posted on their website at including some of our activities that are still being developed.”

The group has also been working on a physical road trip around the Bulkley Valley for the last few years and are now adapting it to online use. It has descriptions of specific outcropping rocks that are significant to our region. Anyone that would like to know more about the geology of the area would be able to go on this tour, either online or on the ground to visit the outcrops and learn about the rocks that are there. SEG will be releasing this in the next few weeks so people can do the tour over the summer as they are keeping their travel close to home.

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