Back in Time

Historical Perspective

  • Jul. 10, 2020 12:00 a.m.


The Forest Ranger’s office at Birch Island reported there were 10 fires in their district since Friday. Nine were from lightning started on Saturday but weren’t discovered until Sunday.

Several crews were out and two of those crews were flown into fires by helicopter — to the Raft River Valley and to the Tum Tum Lake area. All the fires were brought under control before they spread to any size.


The Clearwater liquor store had an after-hours visitor. The vandal entered by prying the front door. The store remained closed for the day for stocktaking. It was reported about $1,000 worth of liquor had been stolen.


Ralph Wallace found a giant puffball near his home recently; the giant fungus weighed five and a half pounds. Wallace claimed its size was very unusual. According to Wallace, puffballs are a form of mushroom and are, in fact, edible. They are a little different in flavour but are enjoyable when fried we understand.

Wallace said his neighbour Hank Klassen found one which was twice as big but was beginning to deteriorate.


An interim Clearwater and District Airport Committee was set up with Ed Flegel, Henk Vanderwal, Vern Leweke, Bill Mattenley and Anne Bauer serving until the upcoming election of officers. Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Matheson drove from Vancouver to attend the meeting. Hugh was chairman of the B.C. Aviation Council’s map committee, which prepared the air facilities map of B.C., and he also presided over the council’s flying club division.

He explained the structure and funding of the BCAC and its role in community airport development in B.C. The new Clearwater and District airport committee was the second to join the airport owners and operator’s division of the BCAC.


The 1985 Clearwater Strawberry Festival was a great success, said festival organizer Stan Johnston. The festival attracted many hundreds of residents to enjoy sunshine, games, slo-pitch ball and many other attractions including Strawberries and ice cream.

Twelve teams competed in the slo-pitch tournament. Piva trucking of Barriere won the event, defeating second place Vavenby Vikes 17 to 8 in a well-played final. Third place went to Village from Kamloops.


B.C. Parks staff burned the cabin at Stillwater on the Murtle River, Parks official Brian Carruthers had informed the Times. The cabin was located several hours of hiking north on a trail which started near the park entrance. It was built by Ted Helset in the late ’40s or early ’50s for guiding and trapping.

The main reason for destroying the cabin was that it was becoming an extreme safety hazard due to the dangers of both fire and collapse, said Mr. Carruthers.

If the building accidentally caught fire with hikers inside, it was likely some would not have made it out, he felt.


A small herd of renegade cattle that briefly enjoyed he forbidden lushness of the Trophy Mountain Flower Meadows have been banished to other, less delicate, pastures. And a cooperative effort between two government ministries and the rancher involved would ensure only wildlife and outdoors enthusiasts would roam the environmentally sensitive recreation area in the future.

“We’ve reached an amicable solution in a complicated issue in a grey area of legislation,” said Clearwater Forest District Range Resource Officer Geoff Ellen.

“We’ve come up with a plan that each will cost-share one-third of the total expense for the fences that will solve the problem.”


School District 73 wanted a new hardwood floor for the Clearwater Secondary School gymnasium. A request for a replacement for the existing composite floor was near the top priority in the school district’s request capital spending for the following year.

A similar request for the current year was turned down by the Ministry of Education.

“It’s a health and safety issue,” said Bert Walker, North Thompson school trustee.

“Over the years, the people who insure for injury have identified composite floors over concrete as having significantly higher incidences of knee and leg injury … there’s no flexibility in them.”


A stalking incident was reported to the RCMP after a lady and her adult daughter were at the tourist information centre and observed a suspicious man standing around the counter. When they left, the man followed them in an older baby blue Chevy van.

They went to the Flour Meadow Bakery and noticed the man was sitting in his van in the parking lot.

When they left and headed to Spahats Falls they noticed the van following them. At the falls, the man followed them to the viewing platform and attempted to talk to them.

The ladies immediately left and headed toward Helmcken Falls. When they noticed the van behind them again, they pulled into a nearby business and hid until the van passed, then called the police.

The van was later located and the man identified. He said he was just out seeing the park.

Details of the file made it appear to be more than a coincidence and police advise people to be cautious and to report any such incidents immediately.


Triple Decker Falls canyon north of Clearwater was a scene for high drama recently. Michelle Rushton along with Anna and Ron Mulcahy were out for their afternoon constitutional when they heard dog-like cries coming from deep within the canyon.

They spotted a Norwegian elkhound that was stranded mid-stream. They quickly placed a call to John Marlow, one of the dog’s owners. Very shortly Wells Gray Search and Rescue’s rescue team arrived. Certified climb master Les Sakals organized a team consisting of Crystal rogers. Sharon Dhillon, Lee MacKay and Alain Levasseur. Crystal descended and reached the dog, named Smoke. The dog was then harnessed and hauled up the cliff. The dog’s owners were quite thankful about the professional rescue.


It appeared that a quick response by local Forest Service personnel and contractors had contained a small forest fire a few kilometres north of Vavenby. An Initial Attack crew plus a helicopter were dispatched right away.

The helicopter dropped bucketloads of water to control the fire, plus an air-tanker dropped retardant.

About six other fires, all of them small, appeared towards the end of the same week. All but two were believed to be lightning caused.


When Bud Jenkins was taking a cruise down Highway 5 near Blackpool, the last thing on his mind was the potential danger of the cottonwood trees along the sides of the road.

This would change, however, when one of the trees crashed down on his windshield, sending his to the hospital for surgery.

“A whole tree fell on me, it came right across the front of our car and finished it off; it took four hours to get the surgery done on my neck,” said Jenkins.

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