I was pretty shocked when I saw the most read article of the year on the Revelstoke Review website. It wasn’t the manhunt, or the bear deaths or the treehouse hotel controversy.
Nope, it was a story about a gold prospector who may have struck it rich near Trout Lake.
We have a very well read website, with an average of more than 100,000 page views per month and more than 300,000 readers this year according to Google Analytics. Here’s our 10 most stories of the past year:
1. Big gold discovery near Trout Lake – 14,261 views
When Darrel Davis and his daughter walked into my office on a press day touting a big gold discovery, I thought it would make a fun article, but I never expected it to go slightly viral. I didn’t give the article a lot of play but people loved the story. I guess the combination of Davis’ character and the prospect of a new gold rush got people reading it. The CBC picked it up, as did several other Black Press papers.
This is where I can pat myself on the back. When the manhunt for Sheldon Thunderblanket shifted to Revelstoke, there was a dearth of information coming from police. They issued a press release saying there was a search, but it didn’t say the search was in Revelstoke, nor that the suspect was wanted for murder. That night, I parked outside the RCMP detachment and waited. Finally, Staff-Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky came out with an update — that the suspect was wanted for murder. It was a big scoop that was all over the news the next morning.
Combined, the articles on the manhunt were by far the most read stories of the year. A well-timed visit to the RCMP detachment led to a loose-lipped RCMP officer telling me the suspect was found. He walked off without giving out details, but with the community still a little on edge, I reported the news, though I got nervous when a press release I was told was coming any minute didn’t materialize until later in the afternoon.
I imagine this story went viral amongst CP Rail employees. Mark Jackson, who was the superintendent in Revelstoke until he was transferred to Cranbrook, was not a popular figure amongst local running trades. He is at the centre of a Transport Canada investigation into a train that was left parked without brakes near Revelstoke. We never found out why he left the company, but his LinkedIn profile says he’s still in the railway industry.
Photo: The Glacier Park Lodge has sat empty since it closed in 2012. ~ Revelstoke Review file photo
Glacier Park Lodge is an iconic building on the Trans-Canada Highway in Rogers Pass. It’s sat empty for five years and counting, and it’s future was in court limbo. The news the lodge was going to be demolished and possibly re-developed was welcomed by the travelling public and especially the backcountry skiing community.
This news set the stage for the re-zoning fight that would take place later in the year. At the time, David & Shelley Evans’ property near the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort, was simply annexed to the city. RMR opposed the annexation, but the fight between the two parties didn’t get ugly until later in the year. I’m surprised this story made the list and not the ones about the battle between RMR and the Evanses.
This was our first story about the shooting of a police officer near Golden, B.C. It was updated later when we learned the suspect was stopped just outside of Revelstoke and a manhunt was underway east of the community, and Johnson Heights was on lockdown.
8. Toddler dies after being hit by truck in Big Eddy – 7,285 views
A parent’s worst nightmare. This was awful news that came only a few days after the manhunt. The community came together to support the parents of the child, raising tens of thousands of dollars to help them while they cope with the loss.
Revelstoke is the heart of the B.C. snowmobiling world, so when news came that five snowmobilers died in an avalanche near McBride, it hit home for many people here. I was able to locate Avalanche Canada’s preliminary report on the avalanche, as well as a photo showing the slide zone, which brought a lot of readers to our website.
10. Bear death total reaches nine in three days in Revelstoke – 5,214 views
It started with the death of a bear downtown. After three days, the Conservation Officer confirmed he destroyed nine over the course of three days. The news sparked a big conversation about what Revelstoke can do to become more bear smart. By the end of the year, the number of bears killed by the CO in the area was more than 20. Fortunately, there was some good news at the end of the year, when a bear cub was rescued and brought to a shelter near Smithers, B.C.