Back in Time

50 Years Ago: Ida Dekelver and her two donkeys were on the front page of the Vancouver Province


Many years of service to Clearwater and district earned Mrs. C. Radmacher the Good Citizen of the Year award.

A 15-foot length of rubber hose with a jam tin on the end was one instrument used by a member of the Vancouver Symphony Chamber Players at the first Jeunesse Musicale concert in Clearwater.

A picture of Ida Dekelver and her two donkeys was on page one of the Vancouver Province. The local woman was walking from her home in Clearwater to her birthplace in Wadena, Saskatchewan.

READ MORE: Ida Dekelver’s obituary

Raft River Riders were advertising a trail ride to White Horse Bluffs in Wells Gray Park. Cost to participate was $5.


Raft River Riders were organizing a Bareback Ride-a-thon from Dee’s General Store in Birch Island to Clearwater Ball Park. Prizes included one to the rider with the most blisters. Money raised was for Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital.


Little Fort Women’s Institute celebrated its 40th anniversary. The original group had met in the home of Hazel Loveway, who became its first president.

Highways minister Alex Fraser promised a “decent” road between Little Fort and 100 Mile House. The first contract was to bypass the canyon out of Little Fort.

Donations to the Cancer Society in the North Thompson during 1977 totaled about $7,200, an increase of $1,700 over the previous year, reported campaign coordinator Roger Freeman.


About 300 people in Blackpool were going to have to learn a new telephone number after B.C. Tel brought in a new 587- exchange.

Cariboo College was offering six adult education courses in Blue River, including meat-cutting, art, CPR, first aid in the home, and welding. Coordinator was Margaret Quinn.


Chuck Galvin presented a number of fundraising ideas to a committee looking into the feasibility of a swimming pool for Clearwater.

A group of local individuals formed the Wells Gray Tourism Consortium to further tourism in the valley. Plans were underway to construct a multi-use facility to serve as a hub for tourism operators, tourist services and related businesses. Contacts included George (Marcyniuk), Chris (Kissinger) and Ross (Cloutier).


Clearwater Forest District was planning a ceremony to mark the planting of its 100 millionth tree, said district manager Mel Monteith.

Tourist visits to the Wells Gray Infocenter were up almost 10 per cent over the previous year, said staff member Marie Cornell. There had been 78,000 visits during the first nine months of 1992, compared to 71,000 the year before.

READ MORE: Tourism industry making progress

Enrollment in School District 26 was up four per cent over the previous year, and eight per cent higher than that predicted by the Ministry, said superintendent Terry Rogers. The district had 1,040 full-time equivalent students.

Robert Beaudry of Clearwater Expeditions, and Doug Trotter and Fred Huser of Interior Whitewater called for the road along the west side of the Clearwater River to be kept open. They were speaking at the annual general meeting of the Friends of Wells Gray Park.

The single hydrant near the Wells Gray Inn was not enough, said Clearwater fire chief Bernie Richardson. During a fire that had destroyed the Dutch Lake Motel in August, firefighters had to shut down the monitor on their new pumper because of insufficient water from the nearby standpipe.


Clearwater RCMP seized 120 high-grade marijuana plants and about $5,000 worth of growing equipment from a very organized operation in the basement of a Vavenby home. Two people were charged.


Wells Gray Hotel was once again in the hands of local owners as Bonnie and Jeff Ruttan bought out Kelowna businessman Ray Leroux, who had owned the Clearwater landmark for six years. Bonnie began her association with the hotel at the age of 14 when she started as a dishwasher, eventually graduating to bus girl, server, front desk and hotel manager before assuming ownership.

Blue River received a $10,000 infrastructure planning grant to upgrade the community’s water system. Local taxpayers were to pay $6,000 towards the cost of the study. The system had undergone improvements but the oldest portion, ” … still leaks,” said TNRD director Steve Quinn.

Clearwater’s Kelly Graffunder brought home a silver medal in the International 6-Day Enduro World Championships held in the Czech Republic and was the top-placing Canadian overall.


Al Peatt, president of Buck Hill Lava Rock, participated in the Buck Hill hike with vulcanologist Cathie Hickson. Peatt suggested the volcanic cone could be developed both for tourism and landscape rock.

Building Blocks Daycare increased its capacity from eight children a day to 12.

Vavenby Elementary School held a “Welcome Back” barbecue and open house for students, their families, and staff.

Vavenby Elementary School raised over $290 for the Terry Fox Foundation.

Vandalism rendered unusable an Argo Road Maintenance loader that had been parked near the reserves of salt in the gravel pit off Camp Two Road in Clearwater. Locating a replacement would cost valuable time when area roads at high elevations were experiencing freezing temperatures. Argo offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.


An excavator made short work of demolishing Clearwater’s old fire hall. Local contractor C. Burman had built it in 1969 with help from firefighters and students from the high school.

About 40 Rangers from across B.C. camped overnight at Clearwater airstrip and had breakfast at the Elks. The group rode ATVs from 100 Mile House.


District of Clearwater was asking for input on what to do with the Loggers’ Memorial in Reg Small Park. The memorial, which featured a slab from a giant Douglas fir, was falling apart. “I think we should build something that lasts,” said Robin Mann, the logger who fell the fir in 1984.

Clearwater Baptist Church and the nearby bible camp lost their property tax exemption with District of Clearwater. The property had a new owner – Liquid Lifestyles whitewater rafting and kayaking.

New owner at Clearwater Dental Clinic was Dr. Sarika Kishore. She had moved here with her family of four from Ontario.

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