40 YEARS AGO: A Canadian National Railways train derailment near Avola closed down the line the week prior. About 20 cars said to be hauling sulphur derailed early in the morning, according to one source.
35 YEARS AGO: The Blackpool Fire Department and Ladies Auxiliary turned out in force to enjoy their annual banquet and awards night at the Wells Gray Hotel. Following delicious supper, fire committee chairman Bill Jory said a few brief words on the department’s welfare. Garry Ruton was reappointed fire chief and Steve Reid deputy chief for two-year periods. The fire department had a good year, said Ruston, with three call outs, one auto accident, one after-the-fact call and two chimney fire which incurred no damage. A mutual aid pact was being discussed with the Clearwater department.
30 YEARS AGO: A daring rescue of an injured worker took place in the early morning hours at Gilbert Smith on the Bear Spur in the Tum Tum. A logger from Barriere was reportedly struck by a tree as it was being pulled from the bush. The first radio transmission was picked by a Weyerhaeuser forestry supervisor contacted an ambulance to evacuate an accident victim. Ground ambulance was sent from Clearwater. A team and helicopter from Mike Wiegele’s in Blue River was readied, and victim location was forwarded to them. Multiple crews worked tirelessly in blizzard conditions to rescue the man.
25 YEARS AGO: The luxury of getting in touch with many government departments with a free telephone call was to become a thing of the past at the end of February. The provincial government quietly pulled the plug on the Enquiry BC toll-free service lat week, leaving rural British Columbians to foot the bill for calls to their government officials. While the service wasn’t being cut entirely - callers would still be able to access government information and telephone numbers through the toll-free line - the current call transfer service would be discontinued.
20 YEARS AGO: Ferries for the communities of Little Fort and McLure were on the chopping block. The Ministry of Transportation posted information on the government website, and then meeting with employees, before announcing the ferries were marked for elimination. The move was in an effort to control spending. Losing the ferries in Little Fort and McLure was a matter of concern as the volunteer fire department relied on the ferry to carry trucks and firefighters to the east side of the river in Little Fort. Police and ambulance personnel also relied on the services in emergencies.
10 YEARS AGO: Nine Wells Gray Search and Rescue members and two volunteers from Clearwater Snowdrifters responded to rescue a snowmobiler with a back injury near Blue River. The team was stood down as they passed through Avola, according to a team spokesperson. A BC Ambulance Service helicopter from Kamloops had been used to retrieve and transport the injured subject out, he explained. It had been anticipated that the team would not be needed but it was called out as a contingency. Darkness was approaching and the helicopter might experience difficulties landing.
5 YEARS AGO: Wells Gray Provincial Park was formally nominated to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, members of the organizing committee reported. volcanologist Dr. Catherine Hickson said the park was a shoo-in, saying it “abounds in superlative beauty” and “international conservation value,” among others. Upper Clearwater naturalist and lichenologist Trevor Goward agreed saying there were “few areas anywhere that combine so many diverse features of international importance.”