The sun didn’t exactly smile down on the Rimbey Fish and Game Association’s 50th year celebration of Open Creek Dam, but it didn’t really matter.
Everyone in attendance was smiling and it was obvious it would take more than rain drops to dampen the spirits of the hardy souls who had worked hard to make this event happen.
About 75 members and special guests including former MLA Ty Lund, Clearwater County Reeve Pat Alexander and Ponoka County Reeve Keith Beebe converged at Open Creek Dam June 10 to mark the occasion.
The dignitaries were lavish in their praise of the campground 32 kilometres west of Rimbey, and it was clear their words were sincere.
“The people from Rimbey have done a pile of work to get this started,” said Beebe. “It’s a wonderful place and it has been 50 years of success. It’s a great place to be.”
Alexander said the Fish and Game Association should be commended for the work they do.
“Going to Open Creek will show you how camping should be done,” said Alexander. “It clean, very well looked after and well managed.”
Lund presented the book Conservation, Pride and Passion, The Alberta Fish and Game Association 1908 to 2008 to Rimbey Fish and Game Association president Daryl Hunt.
During his short speech, Lund recalled his time with the provincial government and how he was privy to seeing the dam develop into the destination it is today.
After the speeches and lively music from The Crestomere Cowboys consisting of Lloyd Brown, Richard Adams, Russell Adams and Mel Fisher, a huge anniversary cake was served and the crowd dispersed to simply enjoy the peace and quiet of the surroundings.
“I don’t know why I don’t come here more often,’ said Jim Koenig. “It is so quiet and peaceful.”
Harold Dudenhoeffer agreed and both men noticed an osprey flying overhead.
“When it catches more fish than me, I quit,” Dudenhoeffer said with a chuckle.
Colleen Kurley, who came from Wetaskiwin to visit her mom, Ivy Seely, finds Open Creek “beautiful and peaceful. It’s good for the soul.”
Hunt said the dam is an example of what happens when people have a vision.
“The first Rimbey Fish and Game members in the early days had a vision of what they wanted to do about having a campground where they could go camping and have some fun and go fishing for trout with their families. As a result the members put the vision into motion and started building at the teardrop spring in the late ’50s. The dam was built in 1962 with some of the dirt work being done on the winter works program, paid for by the government.”
After several years of lobbying the province, Rimbey Fish and Game Association representatives Norman Stern, Gordon Murdock and Neville Roper signed an agreement with cabinet ministers Bud Miller, Don McCrimmon, Peter Trenchy and Jack Cookson to lease the property for the campsite at Open Creek Dam.
The dam has 52 camping stalls, four group stalls and seven tenting sites and is stocked with rainbow trout.
Swimming is not recommended as the water is very deep and there is no lifeguard on duty. Boats with gas motors are not allowed.
The Rimbey Fish and Game Association continues to contribute funds each year for the upkeep of Open Creek Dam.