CARIBOO is the name applied to the Interior plateau spreading east of the FRASER R to the CARIBOO MTS and south from just north of QUESNEL to south of CLINTON. (The region is often said to include the CHILCOTIN country west of the Fraser.) The name seems to have originated in about 1860 as a reference to the woodland CARIBOU found in the area. The topography varies from the open ranges of the Fraser benchlands through the undulating PINE and SPRUCE forests of the Quesnel Highlands to mountain peaks soaring over 2,500 m. There are many LAKES well stocked for sport FISHING. The eastern flank of the region comprises BOWRON LAKE and WELLS GRAY provincial parks. The CLIMATE is warm and dry in the summer; winters may be long and harsh. The northern part of the region is the traditional territory of the DAKELH (Carrier) people, and the middle and southern area is the territory of the SECWEPEMC (Shuswap). FUR TRADERS were active here but it was really the search for GOLD that attracted the first influx of outsiders. Discoveries were made in the creeks and mountains east of Quesnel beginning in 1859 and peaking in 1865. The main GOLD RUSH community was BARKERVILLE, which has been restored as a provincial historic site. Early prospectors followed the FUR BRIGADE trails until the CARIBOO WAGON ROAD was built from YALE to the goldfields in 1863, pioneering a route along the Fraser R that was subsequently followed by Hwy 97, known as the Cariboo Hwy. The CATTLE INDUSTRY developed with the gold rush and became the principal activity when MINING waned. The Cariboo is still considered cattle country and many of the original ranches remain in business. The Pacific Great Eastern Rwy (see BC RAIL) from the coast was completed to Quesnel in 1920. Since the 1950s the FOREST INDUSTRY has dominated the economy, with major lumber complexes at WILLIAMS LAKE, 100 MILE HOUSE and Quesnel. The Cariboo is home to a large number of artists, artisans and craftspeople. The Cariboo Art Society, based in Williams Lake, is said to be the oldest continuing art society in BC.