Back in Time

Historical Perspective


The official opening of the Yellowhead Highway would be held the following spring in Tete Jaune, Yellow Association promotion manager Reg Easton told the Chamber of Commerce executive in Clearwater. The route would have two alternates in B.C. — from Tete Jaune to Prince Rupert, and from Tete Jaune to Kamloops. Mac MacDiarmid of Clearwater was for years one of the chairmen of the Yellowhead Highway Association.

Los Angeles residents Dr. and Mrs. John Helmcken II visited Clearwater for a few days. He was the grandson of John Sebastian Helmcken, first speaker in the government, who came to Fort Victoria in 1850. Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Park was named after John Sebastian.

MacLennan Mountain near Clearwater was reported staked with mining claims by C. Emery Explorations Ltd. of Kamloops.


A group of Blue River residents asked Thompson-Nicola Regional District for assistance to purchase a truck to ship recyclable materials to Kamloops. Tom Hanna, Blue River regional representative, thought the low volume of material which would be shipped could be sent by rented truck.

Forest fire hazard was still high., according to the Birch Island forestry division. Five new fires had been reported during the previous week.

Clearwater and area youngsters were to be able to play hockey on artificial ice for the first time as the new Sportsplex neared completion. Stan Saari was Minor Hockey Association president.

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A 17-year-old Clearwater youth was killed when his Camaro hit some gravel and rolled five km south of the Wells Gray Inn. The vehicle was traveling at excessive speed, RCMP reported.

The body of a boater who went over the falls at the south end of Clearwater Lake was found after the victim’s family rented a helicopter. Two other bodies had been recovered after the boating accident, which had occurred about two weeks earlier. Two people had been rescued. All five were from Quesnel.

The second annual Little Fort Crafts Fair, sponsored by the Little Fort Home Craft Association, had 27 booths entered.


Longtime local resident Gram Dewitt celebrated her 101st birthday.

Clearwater’s David Archibald, 85, was killed in a collision with a vehicle from Quebec while crossing Highway 5 at Old North Thompson Highway five km south of Clearwater. Also killed was a 62-year-old California man who was a passenger in Archibald’s vehicle. The two men’s wives were listed in serious condition in Royal Inland Hospital.

Athletes representing Clearwater’s Shadowfax Track and Field Club won a number of medals at the BCJD Championships in Burnaby. Taking part were Angie Hay, Christie Hay, Tammy Austin, Dawn Brown, Shonna Martens, Lori Pollard, Carrie Brown, Joanne Schulte, Donovan Woollard, Trevor Pennock, Jamie Pollard, Paul Mackenzie, Ian Howett, Perry Mackenzie, Kevin Austin, Chris Sjodin and Kyralyn Weaver.


Jack London Foote, age 82 and a longtime resident of Clearwater, passed away at the home of his son. He had worked for Clearwater Timber Products until retirement in 1971, and was Citizen of the Year in that same year. Foote helped organize Clearwater Improvement District, and worked hard to get the water system in.

MLA Bud Smith indicated that an application by Clearwater Ski Club for $107,000 from B.C Lotteries to build a new lodge had been approved. The club hoped to begin construction as soon as possible.


Four members of a Kamloops family, two of them youngsters, were located safe and sound after their aircraft failed to return from a fishing trip to MacDougall Lake in Wells Gray Park. The missing family and their single-engine Stenson 108 aircraft were located on Murtle Lake, where they had stopped due to bad weather.


A 40-car derailment 17 km south of Blue River blocked the CN line for three days. Three full grain cars went into the river. Cause had not been determined.

About 175 members of the pioneer Johnston family gathered at the Blackpool Hall for a reunion. Stan Johnston and Florence Nelson of Clearwater, and Helen Newitt of Pitt Meadows, the three senior members of the family, cut the cake.


A fire in Raft River valley was the largest of 32 spot fires started by lightning in the area. It was 17 per cent contained, and was being fought by 91 firefighters and 13 pieces of heavy equipment.

One week later, the fire in Raft River valley (more than 20 km from Clearwater) had grown quickly, but was being contained at 234 hectares. There were 60 local contract firefighters under the control of incident commander Sherri Madden.

Clearwater’s Matt Johnston impressed the brass in the western music industry at the 2004 Will Rogers Awards in Fort Worth, Texas. Johnston was nominated in the category of Rising Western Star; he finished in the top five and won song of the year in the top 10.


Choppers were kept busy in the Clearwater area fire zone and continued to handle the situation in the central sector of the zone. They had three Ontario and two B.C. Initial Attack crews with helicopters available plus four Ontario crews with aircraft based in Blue River.

Vavenby’s Corey Graffunder placed fifth in the Erzberg Rodeo in Austria. Some described the motor-biking event as one of the toughest enduro races in the world.

Lacarya Golf Course held a tournament that raised $16,000 to help pay for a double lung transplant for local resident Joey Whitford. “We beat our goal by an extreme amount,” said Siarah Arndt, “and it’s because of such a wonderful community we have.”


District of Clearwater set up a trails task force to improve the community’s “walkability” – one of the most important factors in deciding how attractive a community is to residents and newcomers. One of its first projects was developing a loop trail around Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital.

Vavenby residents voted in a mail-in ballot to use its portion of taxes collected on industrial land in the community to make improvements in Vavenby Community Park. When Clearwater was incorporated about six years earlier it included the industrial area in Vavenby – a move that was not popular with Vavenby residents. As a result, a portion of the tax money collected is being returned to Vavenby.

1 Year Ago:

The fourth annual Man Tracker Invitational took place at the Wells Gray Golf Resort from Aug. 17—19, with the original man himself, Terry Grant, making a return to Clearwater for the event. Youth games were also incorporated into the weekend. Though it’s always been a family event, age limits were previously imposed in the main tournament style game.

Clearwater locals Sigrid Vermeulen and Willy Rens, owner and operator of X Sky Paragliding, hosted the 10th anniversary of the El Nido Fly-in above Mt McLennan around Birch Island. Twenty-seven hang glider and paraglider pilots from the Okanagan Valley, Kamloops, Lower Mainland and Bulkley Valley descended upon Clearwater for a free-flying event that saw records in distance, altitude, flight times and new routes broken.

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