The forest, tourism and ranching industries form a strong, diversified economic base for area business. Forestry is the dominant economic activity but tourism is the fastest growing industry. The phenomenal growth of tourism is characterized by the substantial increase in tourism based business not only in Chase, but also throughout the trading area. Ranching, though small in scale, still represents substantial importance to the local economy. The film industry is a budding economic sector for Chase and the entire region. The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has a great resource on investing in Chase and other areas in the region. Numerous movie and television productions have been shot in the region and the number will continue to grow as the TNRD’s Film Commission continues to actively market the area as ideal for production.
The forest industry revolves around the Adams Lake Lumber Division of International Forest Products Ltd. located outside the village boundaries. The company is a proven social contributor to the community and has implemented a long-term growth plan to help promote forest and community stability. The predominant type of timber in the area consists of softwoods: spruce, pine and fir. Potential exists in the area for value-added opportunities. Wood and wood by-products that are produced in the area represent excellent opportunities for the production of furniture, wood pellets, wood trim and other novelty items.
Tourism is quickly becoming a significant economic contributor in Chase. Potential for growth is enormous given the area’s proximity to the Shuswap Lakes and the increase in tourism traffic. Chase is the first community at the beginning of the Shuswap Lakes. With over 1,600 kilometres of navigable shoreline on the South Thompson River and Shuswap Lakes, residents and visitors to the area are provided with some of the best fresh water recreational areas in the world. The lakes offer opportunities for boating, water skiing, fishing and swimming.
The lakes are host to numerous provincial parks considered to be the best in the province. If you would rather stay on the water, the Shuswap Lakes offer more houseboats than anywhere else in the world. The Adams River is home to the annual salmon-spawning spectacle. The major run occurs every four years and attracts up to 250,000 people from around the world during the month of October. The Adams River is also the scene of spectacular river rafting in the area. The river has a reputation for great whitewater, gorgeous scenery and is always lot of fun. It offers a great introduction to whitewater for individuals, families and at the same time challenging enough for the experienced rafter.
The Squilax Pow Wow attracts tourists annually in the third week of July. The weeklong celebration includes all three local First Nations bands and is an opportunity for them to showcase and celebrate their culture. The addition of a challenging 4,900 yard, nine-hole executive golf course situated on the shores of Little Shuswap Lake complements an array of sporting facilities. Ball diamonds, a curling club, a skating rink, a recreation centre, and many hiking and mountain biking trails all are within the community boundaries and all provide competitive sporting facilities. In the winter, the region has excellent conditions for ice fishing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. The Skmana Lake ski trails offer 15 kilometres of groomed trails from December to March and the Crow Foot Mountain snowmobile club offers tours and maps of the best areas in the region to snowmobile. The community is also only an hour away from the destination ski resorts of Silver Star, located outside of Vernon, and Sun Peaks, located outside of Kamloops.
The main agricultural activity in the Chase area is raising livestock. An area for potential growth lies in the rich alluvial soil of the valley bottom. This soil allows for the production of hay, sweet corn, and other produce. Recently, other agriculture ventures have started in the area including ostrich farming, goat and llama production, fallow deer operations and ginseng production. The area also boasts the ideal conditions for the use of greenhouses and the production of organics. The Adams Lake Indian Band has begun to explore opportunities by setting 1,000 acres aside for organic production.
In 1988, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District established a Film Commission whose mandate was to promote the region as a location to the film and television industry. In 1998, a re-constituted Film Commission Board was established to better position itself and to take advantage of film industry opportunities. Numerous feature films, movies of the week, television episodes and commercials have been filmed in the area. The feature film, “The Pledge”, directed by Sean Penn and starring Jack Nicholson and Robin Wright conducted principle photography in the year 2000. Other projects shot in this area include: The Sweet Hereafter, Christmas in Calico, Hard Core Logo, Cadence, Jack Rabbit Patrol, X-Files, America’s Most Wanted, Eyes of a Cowboy, 5th Estate, Cattle Drive, Bird on a Wire. Numerous commercials have been shot for clients such as Toyota, Ford, Kodak, Miller Beer, Nescafe, Yamaha, Canadian Tire and Chivas Regal. These projects provide a boost to the local economy with large production crews taking advantage of the services offered in the community and local residents obtaining parts as extras during filming.
COMMUNITY FUTURES Thompson Country…growing communities one idea at a time
Community Futures is a non-profit organization guided by a volunteer Board of Directors and business professionals. The Community Futures office provides services and program supports to rural small and medium-sized business owners and entrepreneurs throughout the Thompson Country region. They specialize in business plan coaching, one-on-one training, small business loans with customized re-payment schedules and more.