In early March retired local rancher, Gordon Parke received an award to the British Columbia Cowboy Hall Of Fame at award ceremony in Kamloops. His awards category was Pioneer Rancher and came on the strength of his grandfather’s uncle, Philip Parke having taken up the Bonaparte Ranch at Cache Creek as a young Irish immigrant in the year 1862.
In 1900 Philip acquired more ranching property in the Upper Hat Creek valley and ran it together with the Bonaparte property. Philip’s nephew, Henry had by then joined him from Ireland and took up adjoining land in the Hat Cr. valley and the combined area was eventually operated as a single ranch unit by Henry’s son, Gordon’s father, Arthur.
Gordon and his brother, Alan operated the ranch together after Arthur’s death in 1967 but amicably split the ranch more or less along geographic lines a few years later. Alan stayed on the Bonaparte property while Gordon happily moved on a full time basis to Upper Hat Creek.
Gordon went on to an active spell in the politics of the cattle industry serving as president of the B. C. Cattlemen’s Assoc. in the mid 1960s and again as president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Assoc. a few years later. He is now retired and living in Vancouver.
Gordon’s son, Brian continues in the family ranching tradition. He lives on in Upper Hat Creek and looks after much of the ranching property in the valley.
At the induction ceremony in Kamloops Gordon expresses his gratitude for the Honoured bestowed on him and gave a brief account of his family ranching history.