Thanks to the Bampton family, Clearwater citizens now have the Bampton Recreation Area to enjoy!
On Canada Day, Penny and Barry Bampton along with their daughter Alyssa and her husband Paul Cook, officially unveiled the sign marking the entrance to the area. Unfortunately, their other daughter Nicole couldn’t be there for this official event.
“It was an emotional decision to donate the property to the citizens of Clearwater,” Mr. Bampton said in his speech. “Our family wants this area to serve as a lasting memory to our Bampton and Australian lineages, as well as a thank you to all those people in Clearwater who helped us get our start, back in 1974.”
“The family has only one condition,” he emphasized. “We ask to respect the covenant that it will never be developed.”
The Bampton’s and Clearwater share a long history. The family landed here in 1974 after purchasing the Dutch Lake Motel. They didn’t know anything about running a business and Barry Bampton often describes this period of his life as “six years with our hands in a toilet and our heads in a septic tank.”
However, with the help of many wonderful people in town such as Charlie and Una Burman, Shorty Blair, Albert Braaten, Bob Miller, Ray and Joyce Grahn, John and Edwina Kurta, Sylvia and Paul Arduini, Angie and Al Miller, and many others they were able to build a successful business.
They became close friends with the Helmcken Lodge owners at the time, Barry and Liz Clarke.
“Together we produced the first brochures to promote the region for the off-season, highlighting the amazing cross-country skiing and snowmobiling opportunities,” Barry Clarke told the audience. “Some of you may have skated on the huge ice skating rink we cleared on the lake each year or skied on the many trails, we created around the lake.”
In 1975, the Bamptons purchased this wonderful piece of property and developed nature trails on it. They were successful in trying to motivate tourists to extend their stay to visit the real wilderness offered by Wells Gray Park. At age six, Alyssa toured people around on the trails while she talked in her cute Australian accent about the wilderness.
“It goes without saying how much Penny and I love B.C. and we will always fondly remember this community,” Barry said. “Thank you so much for treating us so well and we wish you all the best of good health and happiness.”
– Margot Venema