iN VIDEO: How this YouTube prospector makes a living panning for gold in B.C. | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN VIDEO: How this YouTube prospector makes a living panning for gold in B.C.

Gold panner and YouTuber Paul LaRouche (left) snaps a selfie with Kelowna resident Dan Hurd.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Dan Hurd
May 03, 2021 - 7:30 AM

A Vancouver Island prospector, whose adventures are featured on his popular YouTube channel, explores the B.C. Interior for gold when he gets the chance.

Paul LaRouche, known as PioneerPauly on YouTube, has amassed more than 250,000 followers.

His passion for digging up gold has led him across the province to the Interior, and as far away as Australia.

With anxiety and depression, for years he struggled to find something he was passionate about.

His cousin introduced him to the outdoors and gold panning and he became obsessed with it. 

“Funny enough, I had a YouTube channel looking for artifacts and I didn’t really go anywhere with that, it was just for fun, so I decided to switch it up and start filming the gold adventures and people seemed to enjoy the videos,” LaRouche said.

One of his videos blew up four years ago when he used a two-litre bottle as a gold pan, he said. It currently has 150,000 views.

Eventually he was making the same money on YouTube as he was working as a security guard, so he's made gold panning and YouTube a full-time gig for the last three years.

“When you have all the time in the world to go and make videos and do prospecting, you start to learn a lot more and you start to become a lot more involved… What I’ve noticed over the years is it has helped me cope with my anxiety and depression (as) people are living vicariously through me through the videos and there’s people out there going through the same issues out there,” LaRouche said.

As he expanded his virtual network, he became friends with Kelowna resident Dan Hurd, another prospector who has a YouTube channel with 300,000 subscribers. LaRouche said he frequently features Hurd on his channel when he travels to the Interior.

“We’re like best friends, we talk every day,” he said. “I always saw his videos and watched him as a fan… one thing led to another and he invited me up to his claim out on the Fraser and Thompson Rivers and from there it grew.”

READ MORE: Kelowna gold prospector making his claim on YouTube

High waters in the summer months in the Interior doesn't make for ideal conditions for gold panning, so he'll spend his summers on Vancouver Island and winters in the Interior panning with Hurd.

During the COVID-19 pandemic LaRouche hasn’t been travelling overseas and has to be a bit more creative with his content, he said. When he does go to the mainland, he hasn’t been able to meet up with subscribers and fans.

He hasn’t sold any of his gold and plans to make jewellery with it.

"It's a fun past-time that happens to pay for itself," LaRouche said.

Eventually he wants to own his own production company.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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