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New edition of Exploring Wells Gray will subsidize initiatives in the park

A summer naturalist program and trail maintenance are two items funded by sales of the book

Roland and Anne Neave, owners of Wells Gray Tours and Wells Gray Gateway Guesthouse, are dedicated to continuing education about, and protecting the environment in, Wells Gray Park.

In a recent interview with Black Press, Roland Neave talked about the need for many improvement projects, which he feels have been neglected in recent years, to move forward within the park. One of these projects is the trail near Moul Falls, which will be receiving much-needed maintenance this summer thanks to a substantial donation from the Neave family.

“This project is long overdue, and we are pleased that it will be repaired with the new stairs going in to make navigating the trail so much easier and safer for visitors,” said Neave.

The 7th and newest edition of Exploring Wells Gray is a complete guide for discovering the many wonders within the park and is now available, with proceeds from the sale of the book going to a number of park improvements, such as trails maintenance, education, and a naturalist program running over the summer.

The Neaves are sponsoring the program this year. It will provide afternoon walks and evening talks throughout the summer in Wells Gray Park; something that hasn’t taken place in the past 20 years due to funding cutbacks within BC Parks and staff shortages.

Two summer naturalists have been hired and sponsored by the Neave family this year. Sydney Nelson, from Calgary, is currently enrolled at Thompson Rivers University, while Bennett Pereira, from San Francisco, is a university student studying in Alberta. Neave invited the pair, and Black Press, to take part in a bus tour to the park on June 9, where he pointed out some of the incredible points of interest. These included stops to view powerful Dawson Falls, also known as the “mini Niagara”, and Canada’s fourth-highest waterfall, Helmcken Falls.

Roland and Anne made the decision to donate 160 acres within Wells Gray Park to Thompson Rivers University in 2014, as a location for student research projects in biology, ecology, and geography. TRU named the property in honour of this special donation, and it is now known officially as the Neave Family Wetlands.

The TRU Research and Education Centre in the wetlands opened in 2021, thanks to additional donations and volunteer work during the building of this important learning centre.

Having donated most of the furnishings for the building, the Neave family also created an endowment in perpetuity so students will never be charged for the use of the building. The facility has been very busy since the opening, with a full complement of student research taking place there.

The Neave family continues to host tours into the park via their successful bus tour company based in Kamloops, which also books tours nationally and internationally. Roland, however, remains loyal to this exceptionally beautiful wilderness park, saying “It is still my favourite place to be. There’s no place on Earth like it.”

The new edition of Exploring Wells Gray can be purchased on Amazon, at bookstores, and at many Visitor Info Centres. Proceeds from the sales of this edition will go towards educational and sustainability projects within beautiful Wells Gray Park.

About the Author: Hettie Buck

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