The scenic 1,000 kilometres of cruising routes that pass by a shoreline of outstanding natural beauty, the warm clear water and an abundant fishery have attracted people to Shuswap Lake for centuries. The Shuswap Indians, for whom the lake is named, traveled these waterways long before the arrival of the first white explorers.
Shuswap Lake lies like some badly written "H" made up of four arms the Shuswap Lake Main Arm, Salmon Arm with its appendage, Mara Lake, Anstey Arm and Seymour Arm. [see map] All converge at Cinnemousun Narrows. The lake basin was gouged to a maximum depth of 162m in Seymour Arm. In other areas, depths approach 107m in the Main Arm, 119m in Anstey Arm and 131m in Salmon Arm. By contrast, nearby Mara Lake is a shallow basin no deeper that 49m.
The Village of Chase, (population 2400) at the west end of the spectacular Shuswap Lake system is a small and growing community with a full range of services to serve your needs. Whether you are planning a vacation in the area or looking to locate within the community, the opportunities which await you are abundant.
"Home to the Big Horn Sheep" Chase is located 56 kilometres (40 minutes) east of Kamloops on the Trans Canada Highway #1. [see map] This highway provides excellent access to all major destinations in Western Canada and the Northwest United States. With the advent of the Coquihalla Highway, driving time from Vancouver and the Lower mainland to Chase and the Shuswap is approximately 4 hours.
The majority of the residents of Chase are employed either directly or indirectly by the forestry industry. The area is also currently enjoying a growth in its tourism industry. A small portion of the community relies on other industries such as a agriculture and the arts. There is a burgeoning group of local artisans gaining popularity in Chase and the North Shuswap area.
Chase's relaxing lifestyle and low cost of living make the community attractive to seniors and young working families. The community offers a safe and peaceful environment that includes all the amenities of a sustainable community including education, health care and recreational opportunities. Health care is provided through a health centre. Education is available from kindergarten through grade 12 and post-secondary opportunities are available. Emergency services include a fire department, R.C.M.P. detachment and an ambulance service.
Recreational opportunities abound in the area with modern facilities and an outdoor playground that includes two major rivers and over 1,000 kilometres of lakeshore. Current infrastructure includes a modern water and sewer system, both of which can accommodate a growing population.
Other services include financial, legal and realty offices, a mini mall, a grocery store and over 210 other businesses to serve one's needs.
Classified as a "dry continental" with moderate temperatures, Chase has an extraordinary climate. The elevation of the community is 355 metres above sea level. Short winters (Dec-Feb) give way to warm beautiful springs. Summers are sunny and typically average around 27°c. The mild climate of the region attracts retirees seeking a high quality of life and relatively easy access to support services in the neighbouring cities of Salmon Arm or Kamloops.
The forest, tourism and ranching industries form a strong, diversified economic base for the area. 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 businesses 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. 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 trading area encompassed by Chase includes the communities of Adams Lake, Sorrento, Scotch Creek, Celista, Anglemont and Pritchard. The population of the entire area is approximately 12,000.
Pritchard is an unincorporated area located 15 kilometres west of Chase on the Trans Canada Highway #1. The community straddles the Thompson River and is surrounded by agricultural land, much of which is used to produce ginseng.
North Shore - Anglemont, Celista, and Scotch Creek reside in an area known as the North Shore, approximately 36 kilometres off the Trans Canada Highway #1 on the Squilax-Anglemont Highway. These communities lie on the northern side of Shuswap lake with Scotch Creek as the center of activity. Although traditionally these communities have been summer retreats, they have now become year round communities that support an ever increasing population.
Sorrento is located 22 kilometres east of Chase on the Trans Canada Highway #1 and lies directly across the lake from the North Shore. Sorrento offers basic services; however, residents rely on Chase for larger purchases and services.
Adams Lake is located 25 kilometres outside of Chase on the Adams Lake Road, 15 kilometres west off the Squilax-Anglemont Highway.
In these peaceful, colourful days of early fall, the normally quiet waters of the 12km (7.2 mile) river turn turbulent and crimson as over two million sockeye salmon - fish returning from a life's journey that takes them far out into the ocean - pour into their home waters to spawn and to die.
And every four years, their arrival is welcomed by the "Salute to the Sockeye" a pageant which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, a section of the river dedicated to the famous British Columbia fly fisherman, naturalist and author.
Sockeye salmon return to the Adams River every year. But the migration that occurs every fourth year dwarfs the others, reaching as high as 2.6 million million sockeye in 1990.
The town of Chase was named after Whitfield Chase, an American from New York State who arrived in the area in 1867 after originally coming to Canada during the 1858 gold rush. He was the first non-native settler that farmed and raised a family in what was then called the Shuswap Prairie. He married a young First Nations girl who became Elizabeth Chase, and they raised nine children together. The town was named in honour of Whitfield Chase although the community did not exist until more that 10 years after his death.
Shuswap is the European version of a local First Nations word Secwepemc, which refers to the people of the Secwepemc Nation. The Shuswap/Secwepemc Nations covers an area of 145,040 square kilometres in the British Columbia Interior. Before the town of Chase existed (pre-1908), the main town centre was called Shuswap and was located approximately five kilometres west. This was also the site of the first train station in the area in 1888, and the site of the first bridge to cross the Thompson in the area before the Pine Street Bridge was built in the 1930's.
An American logging company first came to the area in 1907 and purchased what became the original town site from Whitfield's heir. They subdivided the land into lots, installed water and electricity and sold the lots to workers and business people. For the location of the mill, they leased approximately 70 acres of land from the Chase family that bordered the Thompson River near Little Shuswap Lake.
The Chase mill became known as the Adams River Lumber Company (not to be confused with the Interior mill on Adams Lake originally owned by Mr. Holding from the 1940's), because they logged exclusively off the Adams River and Lake area. The Adams River Lumber Company, after logging within 100 feet of the Adams River and Lake closed the mill in 1925 and took their profits back to the United States. This lease was terminated in 2006 and the property revert to descendants and heirs of the Chase family.
Chase grew slowly over the next few decades with only a small core of permanent residents. It was not until incorporation in 1969 that the community began to market itself as a tourist destination and people began to explore the area. The community, as a result, saw an increase in population with visitors to the area returning to live, work and retire. Chase also benefited from the construction of the Coquihalla Highway in the mid-1980's. Improved access to the area brought new life to the local economy in the form of another tourist explosion that has only expanded the community's economic base and resident population. Chase continues to benefit as the number of businesses, population and tourism increase and contribute to the local economy.