Back in Time

50 YEARS AGO: Over 60 people met to form the North Thompson Hospital Society


Over 60 people met to form the North Thompson Hospital Society and to speak for the long needed hospital for the valley. Mrs. C. Shook, R.N., of Wells Gray Park was president, D. Pease of Vavenby was secretary, and G. Adams of Vavenby was treasurer. Directors included Don Nelson of Blue River, C. Shook of Upper Clearwater, H. Mjolsness of Clearwater and Mrs. Moilliet of Vavenby.


Birch Island sawmill Super Studs Ltd., formerly known as Three Rivers Sawmill, was back in production following a disastrous fire. The operation had 21 to 22 men on the payroll in the mill and bush.

Members of the Clearwater Business Association voted unanimously to raise $5,000 to bring a second TV channel to Clearwater.

Blue River skating rink was a major attraction. Mrs. Pat Kohlhauser was teaching figure-skating.


Forty rinks took part in the CTP Bonspiel in what could become an annual event. The Lawrence Giesbrecht rink won the A event.

Little Fort pioneer Pearl Catherine Cleaveley passed away at the age of 84. Born in Ashcroft in 1893, she and her husband, Charles, moved to the area in 1912 and homesteaded at Round Top. She was survived by five daughters, two sons, 27 grandchildren and 32 great grandchildren. She has also acted as midwife for many families.


A decision by management to fire an employee resulted in a walkout at Weyerhaeuser’s Vavenby sawmill. The illegal strike ended when the worker was reinstated at a lower pay rate.

Twelve people on unemployment insurance were clearing cross-country skiing and hiking trails on the Majerus Farm, Pyramid Mountain and McLeod Hill areas in Wells Gray Park. Crew supervisor Gordon Zaitsov estimated 30 to 35 km of the planned 65 kilometers had been done.


Approximately 125 cross-country skiers entered the fourth annual Wells Gray Loppet. Clearwater’s Mary MacLennan came first in recreational mixed, while Barb MacCuish was first in Masters D female.

A total of 27 snowmobiles raised $3,566 for the Lions Society for Crippled Children in Clearwater’s Snowarama. Neil Stearns and Bob Carmichael operated a 1958 machine that belonged to Art Young.


Vavenby firefighters were called out to douse a fire in a CNR sulphur car, reported fire chief Leo Vermette. Face masks were needed to protect against the acrid smoke.


MLA Kevin Krueger criticized the year-old School District 73, saying employees frequently drove from Kamloops to Clearwater to do work that North Thompson workers were capable of doing.

Little Fort School was to close in June, ending a 90-year tradition.


About 100 spectators attended a Raft Mountain hill climb. There were a total of 95 entries in the one-day event, which was held above Clearwater SnoDrifters’ West Raft cabin. Noah Baker won the Modified King of the Hill event and came second in Pro Stock 600.

School District 73 was to hold a meeting at Dutch Lake School to hear what local residents had to say about proposed closures of five elementary schools.

Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing and North Thompson Indian Band were looking at working together to build a basic lodge with accommodation for about 30 people near Gosnell.

Clearwater Rotary Club’s second annual Ice Man winter carnival and ice fishing derby was cancelled. Club members decided that it would not be safe for hundreds of people to go on the ice of Dutch Lake after several days of mild weather.


TNRD held a public hearing with regards to an application to create a destination resort in Upper Clearwater with a lodge containing seven rentable units, 193 cabins, an interpretive centre and a restaurant. The applicant, Trasa Lodges and Inns Inc., was known for world class accommodations in a supernatural setting.

District of Clearwater held an open house Feb. 6 to officially open a new ICBC and Motor Vehicle Branch.

A Clearwater Ski Club raffle raised over $7,000 to help with ski hill operations. First prize was a trip for two to Mexico from Uniglobe Travel, won by Glen McNeil.


Just over 130 people, many of them dressed as Vikings, took part in the 15th annual Wells Gray Birchleg. For the first time it was held at the Candle Creek cross-country ski trails, rather than in Wells Gray Park.

Simpcw First Nation announced that it had purchased 20 acres of land next to Raft River. The site was part of a traditional fishing and gathering area for the band. The Simpcw would be a taxpaying landholder, just like everyone else, said land manager Steven Patterson.

A rescue of a snowmobiler with a broken leg left Blue River heli-ski operator Mike Wiegele asking for tighter standards for the snowmobile industry. Apparently the party the injured man had been with had not been prepared for the situation and some members even continued high-lining while the evacuation was taking place.

Simpcw First Nation and Adams Lake Indian Band announced they had signed an agreement to work together on their joint concerns over potential impacts of the proposed Harper Creek copper mine near Vavenby.


First boy of the year was Dawson Thomas Arlin-Hatcher. The son of Lea-Ann McClelland and Robert Thorbergson, he was born on Jan. 11. There was reportedly a girl from this area born in Vancouver on the same date but no details were available.

Vikings pillaged again along the Candle Creek cross-country ski trails as Wells Gray Outdoors Club hosted the annual Birchleg. The event commemorated the escape over the mountains by two Norwegian vikings and their infant king in the 13th Century.

READ MORE: Vikings pillage again! (Feb. 7, 2017)

District of Barriere hosted a community-to-community forum. A total of 29 representatives from around the region took part.

Upper Clearwater naturalist Trevor Goward was lukewarm about the provincial government’s new mountain caribou recovery plan. He said the BC Liberals had been focussing on birthing pens, transplants, liberalized moose and deer hunts, and wolf and cougar culls. “All stopgap measures that simply aren’t working,” he said.

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