There is a real possibility that Wells Gray Park could achieve UNESCO World Heritage status and education local residents about the park is key to making that happen, according to Trevor Goward.
“I am convinced that Wells Gray has the stuff to get World Heritage status and this would be a boon for Clearwater and area,” he said.
“Local people need to know what the park is about, which is why we have organized Wells Gray Heritage Year.”
Goward will be the leader in the third of about 20 events planned for the year. His session, titled “Mind of the Deer: Pioneer Ways,” will take place on Sunday, Oct. 7.
Participants are asked to meet at the Wells Gray Infocenter at 12:30 p.m. or at First Canyon parking lot at 1 p.m.
There will be no charge (other than a donation) but those taking part should dress for the weather and bring some warm tea and trail mix.
The hike will follow the original road to Upper Clearwater from First to Third canyons. The focus will be on the game trails in the area.
“I am trying to show that the way we see the world, over the dashboards of our vehicles, is not the way the original settlers saw it,” said Goward. “they saw it by following game trails.”
“We’ve always followed game trails. That was how we got out of Africa. There’s something in the human psyche that enjoys game trails.”
Goward said that the original road, which he calls the “pioneer way”, could be Clearwater’s answer to the Stanley Park seawall or the West Coast Trail.
“I would love to see Clearwater take on this trail,” he said. “It would showcase Clearwater’s million dollar view.”
Clearwater and area could benefit far more than it does by being the gateway to Wells Gray Park but, unfortunately, people from Germany and elsewhere in Europe often know more about the park than local residents, Goward said.
“It would be impossible to re-create this experience, especially in the temperate latitudes, especially involving an entire watershed,” he said. “It is something that can only increase in value as time goes on.”
Previous Wells Gray Heritage Year events were a tour of some of Wells Gray’s volcanic features with volcanologist Cathie Hickson on Sept. 1 and a study of the park’s fishes with lake expert Steve Maricle on Sept. 9.
The next Heritage Year event following Goward’s will be “Pioneer School Days” with Ellen Ferguson, Clara Ritcey and Hazel Wadlegger on Oct. 21.
Following that, on Nov. 10, will be “Exploring Wells Gray the Way it Used To Be” with Frank Ritcey.