Answer Man – McArthur Island ‘wetlands’

Some things change, but Jack Gregson's name is still on McArthur Island.

Some things change, but Jack Gregson’s name is still on McArthur Island.

Dear Answer Man,

Hi Mel, first and foremost I love your site. I love the Answer Man section, and I have a question that might be hard.

I have grown up in Kamloops all my life, I love this town, and I lived in Brocklehurst as a kid. I used to frequent McArthur park almost every day with my friends and my bike, and we almost always accessed it via the “cainbridge crescent” bridge.

Now once you got across the bridge, about 200 ft. to the right, near the road, there was a small fenced enclosure, let’s say about 30 ft. by 30 ft. It had an “example” of what the island was about. Or was this my interpretation? It showed little ponds, and said something to the nature about “saving wetlands.”

Question markWe didn’t think much of it as kids, but let me say, the area that it was showing was full of life, including foxes, birds, ponds, etc. We all kind of expected the island to stay the same,  and thought it was a good example of how you can integrate the land into a park factor.

Now sometime in the ’90s (or late ’80s) that little display was mowed down, all of the area in question, converted into a golf course, and the display, and “protect your wetlands” just disappeared.

If anyone remembers this display, what was its purpose? Am I wrong? Did city council vote to remove it? Is it possible to get a little more information about what it really was?

On the same topic, did they ever relocate the foxes in the park that lived in all the dens? We sure did not see the overpopulation of Marmots like is rampant on the island now. Or did we just mow over it and forget about them?

Some more insight into this would be great!



Dear Mike,

This question meant finding someone who could think back to what was happening in Kamloops parks in the 1970s and ‘80s.

So who would be better than retired parks manager Dave Hilton to tackle this query?

Hilton said the area in question was where the McArthur Island golf course was built in the early 1990s, and then reduced in size in a deal with the City in 2007 to make room for soccer fields.

Cambridge Crescent 'bridge.'

Cambridge Crescent ‘bridge.’

But in those earlier years, it was undeveloped property that was used for piling up dirt. it was fenced off not so much to retain a wetland area example as a matter of keeping people out of the soil being stored there, he thought.

As for the signs, Hilton credited that to the late Jack Gregson, an entomologist with a strong interest in trails and natural areas around town.

Hilton said City council probably had nothing to do with the fence, the piles or the signs.

“It was something we worked with Jack on. At that time, there were lots of piles of dirt and stuff there,” he said.

“Somebody worked with Jack and put up signs that he worded.”

As for the foxes, Hilton has no recollection of the light-footed predators being around that area. Badgers, on the other hand, are fierce marmot eaters. Not that there were any on McArthur Island, but Hillside Cemetery used to be home to the ferocious omnivores until urbanization drove them out. The cemetery was a marmot buffet for them.


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About Mel Rothenburger (6803 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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