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10 YEARS AGO: Twenty-seven brave souls take the plunge

Dunn Lake resident Valerie Berger (foreground) and Little Fort’s Kathy Burton head for shore after taking the plunge. This photo originally appeared in the Jan. 8, 2001 issue of the Times.


Although mining concerns are not known to be among the most active in the Clearwater area, still a certain amount of work has been carried out throughout the past year and is expected to continue in 1981.

According to a report from Action Resources Ltd., a Vancouver based firm, a geophysical and drilling program is planned on the eastern part of their Clearwater property. On the western portion, Craigmont Mines Ltd. continued last year with their drilling program begun in 1979, and according to Action, they are attemtping to locate economic mineralization thought to be the source of massive transported iron oxide gossan.

Action staked a one-third interst in a mining prospect early in 1979. The type of ore deposit sought will have originated from past volcanic activity and will contain minerals such as gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc which, the company says, will have a high dollar value over ton of ore mined.

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If there is access for some to public land there should be access for all. That seemed to be the message generated at a meeting to discuss possible road closures in the Nehalliston Creek area (northwest of Little Fort) at the Wells Gray Hotel sponsored by the B.C. Wildlife Federation.

Major cause of concern was a gate that has been put on the road to Taweel Lake. According to Bill Halliman, president of the Shuswap branch of the Federation, the gate was put up three years ago at the request of the two fish-camp operators on the lake, who wished to maintain the wilderness nature of the area for their clients.

The unanimous opinion of the meeting seemed to be that the gate should be removed.


About 50 workers at Slocan Forest Products Vavenby planer-mill got back to work after a three week layoff due to poor markets.

“Everything’s still going according to plan,” said division manager Lou Poulin.

About another 50 workers are still without work, but the sawmill is expected to start up again the following week, unless the weather is too cold.

About six or seven employees are using part of the sawmill now to remanufacture some wood already cut, said Poulin, which should make re-starting the rest of the mill easier even if the weather remains cold.

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“I feel Crime Watch is one of the best assets we have,” said Sgt. George Gfellner, NCO i/c of the Valemount Detachment, bluntly. “The statistics for property offences were down another nine per cent in 1995 from 1994, and in 1994, they were down significantly from 1993.”

In comparison, he continued, at the same time property offences were declining, imapired driving charges rose 183 per cent from 1994 to 1995 and assaults rose 127 per cent in that same period. As well, provincial liquor infractions jumped 235 per cent, fatal accidents were up by 40 per cent and non-fatals by 26 per cent.

A lot of people just don’t understand what a difference the Crime Watch patrol makes, said Gfellner, noting, “we have very little problem with break and enters, vandalism and the like. It’s a preventative thing.”


The temperature hung right around the freezing mark and no breeze blew, and while blue peeked through down the valley, grey skies at Little Fort New Year’s Day made the North Thompson’s waters leaden and uninviting.

Still, 15 hardy souls dashed through the skim of ice next to the Little Fort Ferry Slip to take a dip at 12 noon, while an estimated 80 to 90 onlookers cheered them on and snapped photos.

The commotion generated by the “dippers” and their admirers could heard back at Fire Hall No. 2, where volunteers stood by with hot chocolate and coffee and doughnuts.

The Ninth Annual Little Fort Polar Bear Dip drew a younger crowd, on average, than in other years, and organizers point to one other notable variation: Almost as many males as females participated.

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On Dec. 29, 2005, Lost Creek Road between Birch Island and Vavenby was closed for eight hours due to ice jams on the North Thompson River, flooding the route.

Provincial Emergency Program was contacted and Craig Beeson, from the Water Stewardship of the Ministry of Environment stopped in to monitor the situation. When asked to comment on the back-to-back occurences of ice jams in January, 2005 and 2006, Beeson responded, “The question to be asked is: Is this developing into a trend of global, very warm fronts?”

Claiming it’s only recently the effects of a weather front commonly referred to as the Pineapple Express are being felt this strongly in the North Thompson Valley.


Twenty-seven brave souls took the plunge at the 17th Annual Little Fort Polar Bear Dip on Jan. 1, 2011.

Several people cleared the water of ice beforehand, using long poles to push the ice away, leaving an open area straight from the beach into the river. Although the ice was definitely thinner than last year, it was actually a colder day, being -9 degrees Celsius.

With a large crowd cheering them on, the swimmers ran into the water, and most ran right back out! One fellow stayed in for a few minutes, waiting until everyone else had left the water before coming out himself. Everyone then went back to the lovely bonfire they had going up by the fire hall to warm up.


The North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association, Farm Kids Fund and Bull Riders Canada brought the new year in with a spectacular event at the North Thompson Agriplex featuring two long rounds of action.

Three riders obtained qualilfied rides in each round with Jacob Gardner (Fort St. John, B.C.) having the highest score of the night; an 84.5 marking on Pozzobon Bucking Bulls’ 94 Jason’s Dream.

As a result, Gardner was the event champion with a total of 166 points on two bulls and pocketed just over $2,900.

This was the fourth annual event, which was a fundraiser in 2015 for the North Thompson Agriplex and the Farm Kids Fund.