Tea for all at Helmcken Falls

A teahouse at Helmcken Fall would encourage them to stay longer, not just at the falls, but in the Clearwater-Wells Gray region

A speaker at a non-timber forest products symposium put on by Wells Gray Community Forest at Clearwater Ski Hill in 2010 said that the best, long-term way to preserve a wilderness area is to have people living and working in it.

At first hearing, this sounds to be contrary to the usual accepted wisdom, but it makes a lot of sense.

Your editor thought about that speaker’s remarks last Monday during a trip to Helmcken Falls.

Being there reminded me of an idea put forward several years ago – why not have a teahouse at Helmcken Falls?

It’s interesting to watch people when they visit the falls. Typically they stay 15 to 20 minutes at most.

A teahouse would allow people to sit down, have a tea or coffee, and maybe a snack. They could read some brochures about the area’s unique features, maybe go out to walk an interpretative trail, and generally enjoy the unique ambience.

Properly designed, a teahouse would actually increase the aesthetic appeal of the area (there were some who opposed the construction of the viewing platform. It has since proven itself to be a valuable asset).

A teahouse at Helmcken Falls would attract more people to this amazing spectacle and would encourage them to stay longer, not just at the falls, but in the Clearwater-Wells Gray region.

Angry letters to the editor

Is it something in the stars? A few weeks ago it was the local gas stations. Last week it was one of the Times’ subscription sales representatives. This week it’s the Elks going after the newspaper’s editorial policy.

Hans Straub, our sales representative who was the target of last week’s letter from an Upper Clearwater resident unhappy that he had called without making an appointment first, has chosen not to respond.

Speaking in his defense, however, this was the only such criticism we have heard. According to this week’s Back in Time, there were 1,650 households in Clearwater’s two former rural routes alone. This number would not include Vavenby, Little Fort and the other communities the two sales representatives visited. It would not be practical to phone and make reservations for all of them.

We also would like to note that one Birch Island resident came into the office and said the letter had surprised her because she had welcomed the sales rep’s visit.


In keeping with our usual practice, we won’t respond to the letter to the editor from the Clearwater Elks until next week.