Ellen Ferguson & Clara Ritcey

Ellen Ferguson & Clara Ritcey


llen and Clara stand out among the Wells Gray Scholars and Friends celebrated here inasmuch as both are native to Upper Clearwater, having been born and raised here, Ellen in 1954 and Clara in 1934.

Ellen has remained in the valley for most of her life and for many years worked for BC Parks. She participated in the establishment of the Guiding Principles for the use of the Crown lands in the valley, and was one of the volunteers who renovated the Upper Clearwater heritage school house for the use of community and Thompson Rivers University.  

In 1951, Clara married Ralph Ritcey and later assisted with his wildlife studies (helping to raise Calypso the moose calf & a baby owl that had fallen from its nest) until their family moved to Kamloops in the early 1960s.  

Their contributions to the valley are wide-ranging but certainly include their role as historians of its early settlers dating back to the 1910s. Together they have written three books on the subject, all of which make for engaging reading. They particularly enjoyed providing talks for Park visitors at the Clearwater Lake picnic shelter in the summers.