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B.C.'s first female back country guide dies at 101

Gerry Bracewell lived and worked in the Tatlayoko Valley
Gerry Bracewell at her 101st birthday July 8, 2023 in Williams Lake.

One of the Chilcotin's most well-known characters, Gerry Bracewell, has died at 101 years of age. 

Bracewell became the province’s first female guide at the age of 18 and the first licensed female guide outfitter in 1945.

She lived and worked in the West Chilcotin where today her son Alex Bracewell continues to run the Bracewell Wilderness Lodge in the Tatlayoko Valley.

Born in Alberta on July 11, 1922, she enjoyed a childhood exploring outside with her brothers, learning to trap, shoot and hunt. 

She even sold meat from her childhood hunting efforts. 

After high school she moved to the Chilcotin to work on a ranch, where eventually her father-in-law KB Moore became a mentor from whom she learned about horses, mountain riding, ranching, big-game hunting, guide outfitting, and how to become a “conservationist and steward of the land.”

In 2015, she completed a book about her life titled Gerry Get Your Gun.

At the time, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association Pat Corbett had many praises for Bracewell. 

“Gerry is a pioneer in every respect of the word," he said in his review. 

“The hardships she endured, the many encounters with wildlife and nature itself would frighten the most hardened of outdoor enthusiasts of today."

Corbett said the stories in her book were but a very small glimpse of a life of true western adventure in B.C.’s remotest cattle country.

On July 8, 2023, her family celebrated her 101st birthday at AgeCare Cariboo Place where she was residing in Williams Lake. 

Several times she yodelled during the party, explaining that was something she always did to scare off the bears while out in the back country. 

A celebration of her life will be held at Bracewell Lodge, Tatlayoko Lake, June 29 and 30. 

Bracewell is survived by her four sons - Martin Moore, the eldest, followed by Barry Moore, Kevan Bracewell and Alex, who is the youngest, as well as many grandchildren and great grandchildren. 

With files from the Williams Lake Tribune




Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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