A ‘moose-tastic’ day and evening in Clearwater, Wells Gray Park

Join videographer and storyteller Frank Ritcey on May 25 for a day full of Moose stories in Wells Gray Park starting at 10 a.m. at the old schoolhouse and research centre and in Clearwater later at 6 p.m. in the evening at Evergreen Acres Seniors Centre. (From Left behind to Right): Ralph Ritcey and Chuck Gaglardi moose wranglers and researchers. (Photo submitted by: Frank Ritcey)

On May 25, join videographer and storyteller, Frank Ritcey and a number of his friends for a day of all things “Moosey” as they present the story of Jerry the Moose.

While many know that Jerry the Moose is B.C. Parks official mascot, not many know that he was based on a real live moose that resided up in Wells Gray Park in the early 1960s. Thanks to the foresight of Bob Miller who took thousands of feet of 16mm film back in the 50s and 60s we have some incredible images of those early days of park research. Based on Bob’s films, Frank has put together a short documentary on Jerry and on the work of his father, wildlife biologist, Ralph Ritcey.

The day will start with friends congregating at the old schoolhouse in the Upper Clearwater Valley, 26 kilometers up Clearwater Valley Road at 10 a.m. After a short introduction to the days events there will be a carpool into the park to visit some of the sites that will be featured in the film. Eventually the group will make it’s way up to the viewing tower on top of Green Mountain where there will be more discussion about moose and the park in general.

The talking will be followed by walking.

“We’ll hike into Foot Lake and talk about, you guessed it, moose! It’s a fair hike and the advice is to only attempt it if you are fit and up to it. Those not into hiking can sit around and chat with some of the “old-timers” who will hopefully be in attendance,” said Ritcey.

The group will return by mid-afternoon at the schoolhouse for a picnic lunch (which attendees will bring with them) and guests will have a chance to visit and swap stories.

At 6 p.m.the doors will open at Evergreen Acres for some entertainment and some home baked, donated refreshments for sharing ljust like in the good old days. Admission will be by donation as the Clearwater Arts Council needs to cover its costs of renting the venue.

By 6:30 p.m. the evening will start with entertainment which will consist of the “Jerry the Moose” documentary and a presentation by Frank Ritcey on wildlife videography and the importance of wild spaces like Wells Gray Park.

The event will wrap up at about 7:45 p.m. with a Q & A.

What: A Moose-interesting day

When: May 25 (10 a.m. field trip / 6:00 p.m. video presentation)

Where: Field Trip – Upper Clearwater Valley, old schoolhouse, then followed by a video presentation at Evergreen Acres 144 Evergreen Place

Admission to the Video Presentation will be by donation to help cover costs for the North Thompson Arts Council

Please note: This presentation is sponsored by the North Thompson Arts Council and takes place upon the traditional and unceded lands of the Secwépemc people and in particular, the lands of the Simpcw who have lived here since time immemorial.