TRU adds to its Wells Gray land holdings

Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Park (Frank Kovalchek/Flickr CC)

TRU has acquired a 76-acre parcel of land next to the TRU Research and Education Centre in Wells Gray Provincial Park.

The transfer of land, which was approved at a TRU Board of Governors meeting on Sept. 25, is an old agricultural pasture that was formerly owned by Kamloops lawyer John Kurta.

According to dean of science Tom Dickinson, the land was previously logged, so it is valuable for the study of natural reforestation and other unique ecological processes. The land also has a wetland area, which houses a rare plant called a moon wart, which will be valuable for study.

Other TRU-owned property in Wells Gray has been used by Natural Resource Science and Geography students, as well as for retreats for language classes. Dickinson said that TRU’s other properties have accumulated a total of 17,000 user days since they were acquired.

“All TRU programs are eligible to use the new land, but the ones who will make the greatest use of it are natural resource science, the biological sciences, geography and tourism students,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson also hinted that the existing Wells Gray Research and Education Centre will be undergoing a $340,000 facelift by next year. The new building was designed by TRU’s Architectural & Engineering Technology program.

“It’s an energy-efficient, very stable building that will house 20 students and provide the classroom space and cooking space and other things for them,” Dickinson said.

TRU had been granted a temporary stewardship of the land prior to the transfer of ownership, but Dickinson said that “the benefit of owning it is that we are entirely in control of what happens on it … now we know that what goes on there will be consistent with our goals for education and research.”

The land, which is valued at $290,000, was a donation to TRU.