AND TRMF TEAM UP FOR MONKMAN MEMORIAL TRAIL PROJECT, BURLINGTON ANNOUNCES
For Immediate Release
Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation
Box 1348 Tumbler Ridge, BC V0C 2W0
Contact: Dr Charles Helm, Vice President – 250 242
November 2, 2005
Individually the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society (WNMS)
and Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation (TRMF) have already been
responsible for diversifying the regional economy and enhancing
the lifestyles of residents and visitors, through the hiking
trail system and palaeontology products respectively. Now these
two Tumbler Ridge volunteer organizations are teaming up for
another ambitious project, the Monkman Memorial Trail.
It is a natural fit for these groups that already work closely
together. WNMS is spearheading the initiative, with its track
record in trail construction, while the TRMF will provide support
with its research into and knowledge of natural and pioneer
history. And the project could not be more fascinating: the
creation of a multi-day, multi-activity adventure that will
not only celebrate the amazing history of the area, but lead
through some of the finest scenery in Canada.
The Memorial Trail celebrates and honours the phenomenal achievements
of the Monkman Pass pioneers in the late 1930s. Faced with
government intransigence, they decided to build a road through
the mountains to give themselves a route to export their grain.
Only the outbreak of World War II, and subsequent political
apathy, eventually defeated them.
The Monkman Memorial Trail will have two major components,
the road tour and the hiking trail. The road tour, which will
be enhanced with signage, a booklet, and a CD, will include
eighteen attractions between Rio Grande in Alberta and Kinuseo
Falls in B.C. Rio Grande was the starting point for the original
Monkman Pass Highway in 1937, and a memorial plaque has already
been erected there, with funding from the County of Grande
Prairie. These attractions include little-known lakes beside
which the original campsites were made, waterfalls and the
remains of cabins which were important attractions for the
first tourists in 1938 and 1939. Some of these attractions
are beside the existing road, others will be accessed via hiking
trails, canoe, or ATV and mountain biking routes.
The hiking trail will lead from Kinuseo Falls, through the
Monkman Pass via Monkman Lake, then down Fontoniko Creek to
Hobi's Cabin, from where the trip can be completed to Prince
George or McBride by jetboat. En route lie the Cascades, one
of the world's least known major scenic attractions, where
the waters of Monkman Creek fall ten times in succession. Here
WNMS has already been busy for the past two years, building
campsites and trails between these falls.
Ministry of Forests and Range has kindly made available its
1960s air photos of the area the original route passed through.
These may help identify the route in those areas in which it
has become unclear.
Enjoying the Monkman Memorial Trail in its entirety may take
up to a week, and parts of it will be demanding and will require
navigation and GPS skills. Satellite phones will be mandatory
on the section through and beyond the pass.
WNMS Monkman Project Co-ordinator Kreg Alde's enthusiasm has
been a main driving force for this initiative. Kreg explains, "The
Monkman Pass not only has great history, but it is an area
that is still untouched by mankind. It is an area that can
freeze time and allow you to just enjoy the natural beauty
of the area. I feel that a project like this will enshrine
the Monkman Pass Highway Association’s dream and also
allow more people to experience this area."
Rob Bressette of BC Parks welcomes this drive, "The pristine
environment of Monkman Provincial Park is the backdrop to an
area rich in recreational and cultural values. This memorial
trail project will highlight these values tremendously."
Burlington Resources has recognized the importance of this
project for the region through a fantastic donation of helicopter
time for two days for surveying the hiking trail. Other fundraising
initiatives are underway, and both Encana and Talisman have
pledged support. The project will move forward in phases, with
work on the road tour hopefully being completed in the summer
of 2006. The hiking route has already been surveyed, and trail
work will begin in 2006. The Monkman Memorial Trail may be
ready for use as soon as 2007.
The trail will be dedicated to the people that dared to follow
a dream and take control over their own destiny. They did not
just live in the Peace Country, they created it.