MLA Peter Milobar talks with John Downey during a meet and greet at Dutch Lake Community Centre on Friday afternoon, April 6. There should be a road into Wells Gray Park from the Cariboo for safety reasons, said Downey, a longtime resident of the North Thompson Valley.

Milobar hears about second road into Wells Gray Park

Last summer’s wildfires showed the need for a second road from the Cariboo into Wells Gray Park

Longtime local resident John Downey had a clear message for MLA Peter Milobar during a meet-and-greet held at Dutch Lake Community Centre on Friday afternoon, April 6.

Last summer’s wildfire situation showed the need for a second road from the Cariboo into Wells Gray Park, he said.

“It’s not that far,” Downey told the Kamloops-North Thompson MLA. “If you stand on Green Mountain you can easily see Mahood Lake.”

There is, at present, only one road in and out of the park. If a forest fire should cut that road, then it would be difficult to evacuate the hundreds of people visiting Helmcken Falls or camping at Clearwater Lake on a typical summer’s day.

In part because of the access situation, during much of last summer’s wildfire season, Wells Gray Park was either closed or had extremely limited access, with devastating consequences for many area businesses.

READ MORE: Wells Gray Park closed to public (July 9, 2017)

READ MORE: Manager to assess wildfire impact on businesses (Nov. 25, 2017)

To provide an alternative exit, a second road would need to cross the Clearwater River somewhere upstream from the Helmcken Falls Canyon, Downey felt. It then would proceed west to Mahood Lake and on to the Cariboo.

Much of the route is already crossed by logging roads, he pointed out.

With jobs in the forest industry in slow decline, Wells Gray Park is the only asset the North Thompson Valley has that is increasing, he said.

Keeping local control is important. Downey said he had visited Fraser Island in Australia. It had been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a major hotel chain had moved in and the chain now controls nearly everything on the island, he said.

READ MORE: Time to back to basics on Geopark proposal (Sept. 21, 2017)

“It would need to be a locally driven process,” commented Milobar. “If you’re talking about a second road into Wells Gray Park, then half the people would be happy and the other half unhappy.”

He recalled that, during the wildfires of 2003, there had been an attempt to send buses to evacuate Sun Peaks by way of a logging road. It had not ended well, the MLA said.

The Kamloops-North Thompson representative said he has been in discussions with the Minister regarding maintenance and improvements to the park road.

He felt there should be more longterm planning for Wells Gray Park.

“We need to look at Clearwater as if it were Banff or Jasper – as if it were in Wells Gray Park, even though it is not,” Milobar said.

He said that when looking at the economics of Wells Gray Park it is necessary to include the dollars spent in Clearwater and not just in the park itself.

Locating hotels and other services in Clearwater would make it easier to keep large portions of the park as wilderness, the MLA felt.

Dunn Lake Road is a concern

Downey was just one of several local residents who met with Milobar during the meet-and-greet.

Another was Bill Ludtke, the East Blackpool representative on the Wells Gray Country services committee.

There are three main issues for East Blackpool residents, Ludtke said. Those are the road, the road and the road.

READ MORE: Birch Island and East Blackpool residents concerned about roads (May 15, 2017)

Inadequate road maintenance is having a negative impact on tourist businesses in the locality, he felt.

Milobar said he would check with the Ministry and see what the plans are.



newsroom@clearwatertimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

The Fraser Institute in a nutshell

Editor, The Times: The Fraser Institute! Oh the Fraser Institute! In the… Continue reading

North Thompson Fish and Game Club hold open house

The North Thompson Fish and Game Club Society’s (NTF&G) Open House at… Continue reading

Clearwater Fire Department adds building to facility

The building, bought from Wells Gray Search and Rescue, will be used for different types of training

Back in Time

50 YEARS AGO: Residents of Vavenby gathered at the Centennial Park for… Continue reading

Pipeline protesters move ‘tiny house’ camp north after leader’s arrest

Kanahus Manuel says on Facebook group has moved to the work camp at Blue River

BC Games: Dance, spoken-word highlights at Opening Ceremony in Cowichan

Hundreds of athletes and thousands of volunteers, coaches, parents and officials

B.C. city wants pot punted from farmland

Concerned about conversion from growing food to making marijuana

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

No decision on B.C. school stabbing suspect’s mental fitness for trial

The BC Review Board could not determine whether Gabriel Klein, 21, is fit to stand trial

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

Recent online kitten abuse video raises serious social media questions

UBC and UFV profs weigh in on the subject of online sharing, shaming, and our digital landscape

UPDATED: ICBC fights back against claims that it’s ‘ripping off’ B.C. RV drivers

Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the provincial government to open up ICBC to competition

Summerland issues State of Local Emergency in response to wildfire

Two homes under evacuation order; evacuation alert remains in place as result of wildfire

Most Read