Land Without Limits

Media Release: Lone Butte Pub Owners Take In Evacuees

Sharing hospitality and community with strangers 

July 15, 2017

On the evening of Friday, July 7, when evacuees and began stopping in Lone Butte, BC, the owners of Iron Horse Pub didn’t have a plan to help. Lone Butte is a tiny community on Highway 24, one of the evacuation routes out of central British Columbia.

Iron Horse Pub Lone Butte BCHowever, when pub owners Karen Owens and Tracy Armstrong saw people in need, they threw open their hearts and business to help. They provided meals, showers and laundry facilities, and opened the acreage behind the pub to trailers and campers.

“It just happened,” said co-owner Karen Owens, “We saw people displaced with no place to go. The average person doesn’t think twice. We give them a place to sit, feed them, try to give them a sense of community.”

Even down five staff themselves, the women cooked breakfast for the evacuees, and even helped find a temporary home for one traveler.

Regular customers heard, and dropped off donations, including water, for the evacuees. Food supplier, Sysco, got word of what the owners were doing, and topped up the pub’s next order to help them support the evacuees.  More resources are headed their way, and the partners are directing non-food items to a community hall for distribution.

Now down to just 12 evacuees on site, Owens has no regrets about staying to help others during the tense early days of the fires. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. We fell in love with the Cariboo years ago and dreamed of living here.”

CEO of Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism, Amy Thacker, says, “While many of the region’s communities are under threat of fire, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is a vast region and other communities and operators are open for business. I am extremely proud of the people we work with and the business owners in our region – they are resourceful, innovative and resilient. During these trying times they are rising above and beyond – providing outstanding levels of service and noble acts – from foregoing revenue to host stranded visitors on extended vacations to housing and feeding the work crews at all hours of the day.”

“‘Know Before you Go’. Check with the business you have reservations with or want to visit, and they will advise you,” says Thacker. “Our operators excel at hospitality and will ensure you have accurate information. The biggest help you can give right now is to book a BC vacation.”

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association is an industry-led not-for-profit Destination Management Organization that works collaboratively with stakeholders to develop and promote a responsible tourism industry in the Cariboo, Chilcotin and Central Coast of British Columbia. For more information about the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast tourism region, please visit:


Media contacts:

Amy Thacker, CEO

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association


Andre Kuerbis, Board Chair

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association

Cell: 250-217-6438


Iron Horse Pub

Lone Butte, BC

10.5km east, off Highway 97, on scenic Highway 24