Wells Gray Park will turn 75 this year. To celebrate this milestone, four local groups have teamed up to organize a treasure hunt specially designed for family groups – with generous help from Robert Bateman!
The Clearwater Kids-in-Wild-Nature Treasure Hunt runs from June through September and invites participants – kids in the company of an adult – to explore several of Wells Gray’s popular hiking trails.
The four sponsor groups are the Wells Gray Infocentre, Thompson Rivers University, Wells Gray Search and Rescue, and the Wells Gray World Heritage Committee.
“Basically this is a follow-up to the popular Harkayee Treasure Hunt held last summer”, said Trevor Goward, spokesperson for the Wells Gray World Heritage Committee, “This time around, however, we’re offering some truly amazing prizes and expect to draw participants from across the province.”
Two prizes are being offered. The winner of the first prize will be invited to choose either an original painting by Robert Bateman or a cheque for $3,000. The winner of the second prize will select one of six paintings kindly prepared for this event by local artist Doris Laner – or receive a cheque for $700.
Tom Dickinson, dean of science at Thompson Rivers University, expressed gratitude to the artists for making their work available for the Kids-in-Wild-Nature Treasure Hunt.
“As we press forward with construction of the Wells Gray Wilderness Centre this summer, it’s gratifying to be involved in a project that helps identify our area as a centre for outdoor learning. I couldn’t be more grateful to Robert Bateman and Doris Laner for their part in making this happen,’ he said.
World renowned wildlife artist Robert Bateman visited Clearwater last autumn.
“I really enjoyed my visit to Clearwater and beautiful Wells Gray,” Bateman said. “I’m pleased to be able to contribute artwork and hope it translates into helping the community. The Kids-in-Wild-Nature Treasure Hunt is a great idea. If my calendar wasn’t so solidly booked, I’d love to come up and take part myself. Good luck to everyone!”
“It’s worth noting,” said Wells Gray Search and Rescue member Gord Dubois, “that Mr. Bateman created this piece especially for our initiative. It portrays a bald eagle, a year-round resident in our area. The painting is 17 cm x 10 cm and is valued at between $3,500 and $4,000.”
Clues to the treasure hunt will appear in two guide books currently being written by geologist Cathie Hickson and local naturalist Trevor Goward. Both books will be available from the Wells Gray Infocentre in early June. Partial clues will also appear on-line.
“The money that tourism brings to our valley is vital to our long term economic success,” said Tay Briggs, manager of the Wells Gray Infocentre. “Events and activities that attract visitors and involve the community are a win-win for everyone.”
TNRD director Tim Pennell agrees: “More than ever I’m convinced that grassroots-based initiatives like this one are part of the way forward for our community.”
Money raised from the Kids-in-Wild-Nature Treasure Hunt will support the TRU Wilderness Centre in its long-term commitment to bring children in touch with wild nature.