Wells Gray Park’s first tourists

To the editor:

This true story from 1947 certainly illustrates how Wells Gray Park has evolved. I remember the car as a new brown sedan, and driving very slowly.

(That year), the Upper Clearwater residents and the new Wells Gray Park were shaking off 10 years of the Great Depression and five war years. Rationing was just ending and gasoline and rubber tires were again available.

Cars and light trucks appeared and were put to utilitarian use. After 10 years of frugality, and then wartime needs, casual vehicle use was unusual.

The new park was regarded differently from today. The park visitors were not out to just see the views and then drive home.

I remember Mac MacDiarmid saying that the future of the park was for sport fishermen who would come and spend days enjoying fabulous fishing.

Dad said that fishing would be outdone by sport hunting as the valley had record numbers of deer and moose.

In midsummer, we saw a newish brown car drive up the narrow road. Two days later it returned and we saw that it carried two men and two women, obviously city folk.

They stopped at Granddads and he found that they were “tourists” who had come all the way from Kamloops just to see the waterfalls.

It was the first time we had heard the term “tourist” except for travellers who went to Paris and Rome.

One old-timer exclaimed. “They came all that way and got nothing. That will never catch on”

Ed Shook,

Vavenby, B.C.

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