US 97, also known as the Cascade International highway, and sometimes referred to as the Okanogan-Cariboo Trail, follows the route over which, before 1847, the fur brigades of the Hudson’s Bay Company carried pelts from Canada to Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River. The year 1858 brought the first of a long series of stampedes by gold-seekers over the Cariboo Trail to rich diggings along the Fraser River and in the Similkameen district. Since then, the trail has borne much traffic, and the proposed highway to Alaska destines it to bear more.
The days of the fur brigades and the gold rushes are now at an end, and the country has settled down to the long task of developing the resources ignored by the early trappers and miners. The region is an extremely varied one: rugged badlands are set beside level plains, sawtoothed ridges rear above gently rolling foot-hills, riotous mountain streams tumble into smooth lakes, rivers cut their way across drab deserts; mantles of timber spread over many hills, while others are bare and rocky. As for the settlers who peopled this region, they represent today both the old and the new West. Pioneer living and modern enterprise may often be found side by side, taking each other’s measure.