By Laura Stovel
In 1914, the Canadian government declared Mount Revelstoke to be a national park, the result of a lobbying effort by the City of Revelstoke and prominent citizens. The City and the Board of Trade saw the recreational and tourist potential of the mountain – despite the skeletal trees still visible across its base after an earlier forest fire. They were sure that the alpine meadows at the top would lure travelers if only a road were built up the mountain.
That was the beginning of “the only national park in Canada to be created through advocacy,” said Parks Canada interpretation officer, Alana Jung.
A century later, Parks Canada is celebrating the centenary of Mount Revelstoke National Park with a series of events. On Saturday, July 19, Parks staff-members are inviting tourists and residents to join them in a two-part event.
At 1 pm visitors are encouraged to meet at the Nels Nelson Chalet and take a guided hike to Monashee Cabin. Along this two-kilometre hike they will meet costumed interpreters dressed as historical figures, including ski jumping champion Nels Nelsen and Eva Hobbs, the hiking enthusiast after whom Eva Lake was named. Visitors can reach the Nels Nelson Chalet by hiking from the trailhead near the Railway Museum to the historic ski jump parking lot or by driving directly to the parking lot.
At the Monashee lookout, next to the cabin, Parks Canada will be unveiling new interpretive panels. Visitors can walk back to the Nels Nelson Chalet or a shuttle will be available between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. to take them down.
The rest of the celebration – the Jam-bear-ee – will take place from 4-7 p.m. at the Nels Nelsen Chalet. While listening to the lively Chris Stevens Family bluegrass band, visitors can buy food (cash only) from several local vendors. Food-lovers will enjoy grilled fruit skewers by the Village Idiot, elk stew from Twisted Annie’s, pulled pork sliders from Carrie’s Café, and strawberries drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette from Crescendo.
Another new feature will be a ‘collective canvas’ – a giant collaborative painting guided by local artist and Park staff member Zuzana Driediger. Visitors can contribute to the painting, showing the collective spirit involved in the creation of the Park.
“We’re also bringing back the kid’s bike park obstacle course which was such a hit at the Take a Kid Mountain Biking event last month,” Jung said. There will also be a children’s craft area and an interpretive tent where staff will explain the cultural and natural history of the park.