To the Editor,
I’m writing this letter to express my deep gratitude for the incredible effort that was made over the last nine months to do the temporary repair on the Clearwater River Road, which was damaged by high water on July 2, 2020.
After many months of design work and planning, BC Parks issued a group of local business people a contract to do a temporary fix of the site. Two days into the job, it was discovered that it was just too risky to go any further and construction was halted.
In particular, I would like to thank Hans and Sepp Wadlegger, and Dale and Kim Miller. Hans, who spearheaded this project from the get-go, and for his doggedness and refusal to hear the word “NO.” Dale, who before his death in 2020, was so passionate about the river road and always tried to do his part for the community of Clearwater.
Without them, this project would’ve never gotten off the ground.
I would also like to thank Dean Sjodin, who spent countless hours of his personal time all winter doing design work, along with Kevin Turner of Westrek Engineering out of Kamloops.
Glenn Thiem with Forsite Forest Management Specialists and Lyle Unwin with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, who, together with Dean Sjodin, finally nailed the design work towards the end of March, allowing BC Parks to issue the contract.
Kurt Dodd of KDC Forestry Consulting, who loaned equipment and expertise to do the original survey of the site last summer.
Tim Panko, our retired Federal Fisheries employee, who volunteered his expertise with all of the salmon concerns in the Clearwater River.
Merlin Blackwell, who was just not going to let this go and kept his foot on the gas pedal going back and forth with the Ministry for nine months.
The Simpcw, Canim Lake, Adams Lake and Neskonlith Indian bands that lent their support for this project and wanted it to go ahead.
Our MLA Peter Milobar, who took this fight as high as the ministry level in Victoria, and who lent all the support he could muster to get this project off the ground.
And finally, the BC Parks employees who tried everything they could to make this project a reality. Tod Haughton, Chris Nowotny, Kevin Campbell and Adrian Wynnyk with BC Parks who did their part in giving this group the go ahead to try to get the road fixed.
Every bit of work that went into this project by the Clearwater group and Westrek Engineering was strictly on a volunteer basis with no money exchanged. This has been a fantastic showing of community spirit that showcases what our town is all about during tough times.
Now, we have a bigger task ahead of us to try and figure out how to gain access into this valley. Not just for the rafting industry in Clearwater, but the many other users who have enjoyed one of the most beautiful and iconic drives in all of BC Parks. This work could be ongoing for the next few years.
From Doug, Jane and all the staff at Interior Whitewater Expeditions over the years, and all the many other users who have enjoyed the Clearwater River Road for the past 60 years, we can’t thank all of you enough.
This fantastic effort will never be forgotten.