What's the history of Rabbit Island?

YOU ASKED:Rabbit Island is quite accessible at this time of year and I have seen people wading over to look around. I was wondering about the history of the island and whether the City currently owns it.

-Karen Willies

OUR ANSWER:Digging up the history of Rabbit Island is easier said than done, unfortunately.

Just ask Elisabeth Duckworth, manager of the city's museum and archives.

Duckworth and her colleagues have tried many times to unearth even the tiniest piece of information about the island - which sits in the middle of the North Thompson, between Mission Flats and McArthur Island.

Of particular curiosity is its name.

"Was it the shape of the island? Where there rabbits found on it? We have not found any reference to explain the name," said Duckworth.

"We wondered how far back the name went - was it something the fur traders used?"

Not even old photos exist of people picnicking on the beach or fishing at the water's edge.

And the museum knows Rabbit Island gets plenty of visitors, many wading through the shallow water from McArthur Island during low river levels.

So, unfortunately, this is a mystery that remains unanswered, at least in part.

At least we can tell you that the City of Kamloops does not own the island - Weyerhaeuser owns it.

Company spokesman Wayne Roznowski said the island came as part of the package when Weyerhaeuser bought the old B.C. Interior sawmill in 1970. Weyerhaeuser ran a sawmill operation for many years, eventually closing it in 2008.

By the way, Roznowski was unable to find any earlier history.

If any Kamloops residents can tell us more about Rabbit Island, we would love to hear it.

Contact our Readers' Reporter at 250-371-6149 or by email at litt@kamloopsnews.ca.

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