Summer schedule for Wells Gray World Heritage Year

A list of Wells Gray World Heritage Year events coming up this summer

The following is a list of upcoming Wells Gray World Heritage Year events coming up this summer – celebrating 100 years since the first recorded sighting of Helmcken Falls by a European. They also celebrate the upcoming opening of the Thompson Rivers University’s Wells Gray Wilderness Field Station – an educational facility designed to bring young people into contact with British Columbia’s fourth largest wilderness preserve.

July 2 – Aug. 28 – Every Tuesday and Wednesday

Naturalist program with Karena Schmidt

Meet at 12.45 p.m. across from the Wells Gray Education and Research Centre 5369 Clearwater Valley Road – by donation

What’s so special about Wells Gray Park? Join veteran naturalist Karena Schmidt as she turns an interpretive lens on the Clearwater Valley: its mammals, birds, flowers, trees, insects and volcanic history. In this twice-weekly series of hour-long presentations, Karena covers a wide range of topics set against the backdrop of beautiful Sky Pond.

Friday, July 12 (7 p.m. lecture) and Saturday, July 13 (start 10 a.m. – full day)

Snake Tales with Karl Larsen

Upper Clearwater Community Hall, 25 km north of Clearwater

Join Professor Karl Larsen as he stands up for the lowly snake. Did you know that Wells Gray’s garter snakes are especially well adapted to cold environments and they don’t lay eggs? A fascinating lecture evening will only be matched by a day in the field looking for snake skins, forked tongues and high drama. By donation

Friday, July 19, 7 p.m.

Pioneer Tales with Ellen Ferguson and Clara Ritcey

Upper Clearwater Community Hall, 25 km north of Clearwater

In some ways, the Clearwater Valley is less well known today than it was 74 years ago, when Wells Gray Park was established. Join longtime residents and history buffs Ellen Ferguson and Clara Ritcey for a rollicking evening of illustrated tales of old-times telling the tales of the men and women who broke stride with their time and settled – and explored – a valley remote beyond its geography. Come find out the story behind Footwash Creek, the Bee Farm, and Moul Falls. Refreshments served. Admission by donation.

Saturday, July 20 – All day – Starts from Kamloops

Wells Gray Names and Places with Roland Neave

Departs Kamloops at 7.30 a.m. – Arrives Clearwater Information Centre around 9 a.m.

Join well-known author Roland Neave on a guided bus tour of southern Wells Gray Park, with captivating commentary on Clearwater Valley place names. Bring a lunch and refreshments. Cost is $45 per person, including transport from Kamloops or Clearwater and GST. For further information and reservations,

Wednesday, July 24 (all day)

In The Steps of Robert Lee: with Roland Neave

Start 10 a.m. from the Upper Clearwater Community Hall, 25 km north of Clearwater

Helmcken Falls is Wells Gray Park’s most famous feature. Join well known author Roland Neave for a day-long hiking and driving tour in celebration of the first documented sighting of Helmcken Falls on this day 100 years ago! Along the way you’ll hear the story of surveyor Robert Lee, who spent four summers in the Clearwater Valley starting in 1911. A highlight will be a two-hour hike to the brink of Helmcken, following Lee’s route of 100 years ago. Please be prepared to drive or car-pool. By donation.


Saturday, Aug. 3 (all day)

Wildcrafting: with Sharon Neufeld

Starts 10 a.m. at the Upper Clearwater Community Hall, 25 km north of Clearwater

The use of wild plants for food and medicine is a lost art much in need of recapturing. Join long-time herbalist Sharon Neufeld as she instructs in plant identification and sustainable collecting in field and forest. You’ll learn where to look and what to look for when gathering plants for preparations of various kinds. By donation.

Thursday, Aug. 15 (7 p.m. lecture, Upper Clearwater Hall)

Friday, Aug. 16 (10 a.m. start from Spahats picnic area, north of Spahats Falls)

Alpine flowers: with Andy Mackinnnon

Have you ever wondered why so many alpine plants wear long woollen underwear? Join naturalist, ecologist and popular author Andy MacKinnon for an introduction to the flowers that grow and blow in the land above the trees. Andy will reveal what life in the alpine is really like. The following morning, Andy will lead a guided walk to the world-famous Trophy Mountain flower meadows. Bring a lunch, something to drink and dress for mountain weather.

Difficulty: medium. Length: five hours (approximate). By donation

Saturday, Aug. 17 (7 p.m. lecture) and Sunday, Aug. 18 (10 a.m. start – all day)

All About Ants: with Rob Higgins

Upper Clearwater Community Hall, 25 km north of Clearwater

Though small in stature, ants have been described as ecological giants; their impact on the terrestrial world is huge by any measure! Join professor Rob Higgins for a fascinating look at a world that scientists are only now coming to understand. Evening lecture and full day in the field. Be sure to have a hand lens or magnifying glass as Rob brings these creatures to life for you. Refreshments served Saturday evening. By donation.


Friday, Aug. 23 (7 p.m. lecture), Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 24 and 25 (9 a.m. start – all day)

Valley of Fire and Ice – Volcanoes 101: with Catherine Hickson

Meet at Upper Clearwater Community Hall for all three days, 25 km north of Clearwater

Wells Gray Park is Canada’s Valley of Fire and Ice. Join well known volcanologist Catherine Hickson for a weekend workshop on the fascinating volcanic history of the Clearwater Valley including a Friday lecture on volcanic process and two days of Well Gray Park exploration with hiking and walking. Register early for this popular event. Bring a lunch, water, wear good walking shoes. Also be prepared to drive or car-pool. By donation.


Saturday, Aug. 31 – all day

The Waterfall Park, A Celebration: with Trevor Goward

Starts 10 a.m. from the Upper Clearwater Community Hall, 25 km north of Clearwater

Wells Gray Park has North America’s highest concentration – and diversity – of major waterfalls. To celebrate 100 years, join well known naturalist and local resident Trevor Goward for a day tour of some of Wells Gray lesser-known – but easily accessible – “river punctuation marks”. Be prepared to drive or carpool to Clearwater Lake return. Bring a box lunch and be sure to have a camera with you. By donation.



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