World Heritage Committee revives search for the Golden Skull

Wells Gray World Heritage committee would like to revive a successful treasure hunt that was held in the mid-1990s

Upper Clearwater resident Trevor Goward holds a brass replica of the Golden Skull during a presentation to Clearwater council on Tuesday. He was seeking council's support for the bid to obtain UNESCO World Heritage status for Wells Gray Park.

Upper Clearwater resident Trevor Goward holds a brass replica of the Golden Skull during a presentation to Clearwater council on Tuesday. He was seeking council's support for the bid to obtain UNESCO World Heritage status for Wells Gray Park.

The Golden Skull is back.

Wells Gray World Heritage committee would like to revive a successful treasure hunt that was held in the mid-1990s, committee representative Trevor Goward told Clearwater town council last Tuesday.

Unlike the original hunt, however, the prize won’t be a golden skull but $1,000 cash. And the clues will be linked to trails within Wells Gray Park – trails that treasure hunters will have to hike in order to solve.

Goward said he expects more details about the treasure hunt will be posted on the Wells Gray World Heritage website in late February while the clues themselves will be posted in May.

The original hunt for the Golden Skull was organized by Kamloops residents Mike Ritcey and Harvey Surina. It began in 1993 with the publication of a series of extremely difficult clues. Six years later, no one had found the skull and the organizers began giving out easier and easier hints. Finally, Clearwater residents Sandy and Wayne Sunderman found it by Third Canyon Creek. They later sold it to a gold dealer in Montreal.

The revived hunt for the Golden Skull will be just one event in the Wells Gray World Heritage Year, said Goward.

Six events held last fall brought hundreds of people into the area to learn more about Wells Gray Park.

More events are being planned for this year, including a three-day Lichen Festival.

“There is no place on this planet with more species than this valley,” Goward said (the Upper Clearwater resident is one of the world’s leading lichenologists).

Also on the schedule will be the official opening of Thompson Rivers University’s new Wells Gray Wilderness Center next to the former Upper Clearwater School. TRU has been involved in the project since 1992, he said.

The grand finale will be a three-day gathering to be called Speak To The Wild. The committee is inviting about 70 writers and naturalists from all over North America and some major names are expected. The event likely will be held in September, Goward said.

 

The Wells Gray World Heritage committee is working to get UNESCO World Heritage status for the volcanoes of Wells Gray Park and area.