In July 1858, prominent Oregon citizen, General Joel Palmer (1810-1881) recognized the potential for sales of supplies to the gold miners at the Cariboo Gold Fields (Barkerville).
He organized and led a party of more than 100 men, 20 wagons and 75 pack animals loaded with supplies. Each wagon used three to four yoke of oxen. Palmer’s group also drove a herd of cattle.
The exact number of cattle is debated by historians.
At the northern edge of Nicola Prairie (Summerland’s Brigade Trail Linear Park), there is a steep descent to Okanagan Lake.
Palmer was frustrated with the condition of the trail at this location and decided to build rafts and transport his wagons and merchandise along the eastern side of Okanagan Lake. His herd of cattle was driven around the lake over the brigade trail on the western side.
The two Palmer groups were reunited at the head of the lake.
Palmer conducted two more trips to Barkerville in 1859 and 1860. His final trip was not profitable. Palmer’s complaints of the conditions of the trail is probably the first complaint of a road in British Columbia.