Tolkien estate makes Alta. camp drop name

An Alberta community association is changing the name of its summer camp after the J.R.R. Tolkien estate sent a warning letter over its "Rivendell" reference.

In J.R.R. Tolkien's epic The Lord of the Rings, Rivendell provides a "Middle-earth" refuge for hobbits fleeing their enemy, the Ringwraiths.

Until recently, Bragg Creek, west of Calgary, also had a Rivendell, a summer refuge for kids from the city.

But the Bragg Creek Community Association was forced to rename the day camp after lawyers for Tolkien's estate decided it didn't like the use of the trademarked name.

The U.K.-based lawyers sent the community association a cease and desist letter.

"While our clients do not believe that you intended to infringe their intellectual property rights, you will understand that they have an obligation to protect these valuable rights and carefully to preserve the integrity of the Tolkien works," the letter reads.

Community program director Peggy Rupert said the estate's objection surprised her.

"It was just kind of funny," she said. "I actually find it kind of amusing. I've kept the letter as a memento."

The community association adopted the fictional name Rivendell for its summer camp several years ago at the height of Lord of the Ringsmovie trilogy's popularity. The camp even featured Lord of the Rings -themed age groups, dubbed "dwarves, hobbits and elves."

Name was getting stale anyway

Rupert said the estate's lawyers recently objected, politely asking the community association to refrain from using the entertainment giant's trademark.

"I guess they found it on our web page," she said.

Rupert concedes the legal request provided what she calls a "kick in the pants" to update the summer camp's theme.

"It needed a change anyway," she said. "We had already been talking about changing it up and making it fresher because it's been the same thing for a few years." 

The camp formerly known as Rivendell is now called Camp in the Creek. Instead of "dwarves, hobbits and elves," kids will be grouped as "squirrels, bobcats and grizzlies"


  • We initially reported that Warner Bros., the studio responsible for the recent Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, had issued the cease and desist letter. In fact, the letter was from the J.R.R. Tolkien estate.
    Oct 12, 2013 11:04 PM MT