Press Release
For Immediate Release

Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation
Box 1348 Tumbler Ridge, BC V0C 2W0
Contact: Dr Charles Helm, Vice President – 250 242 3984

September 6, 2006

Mayor of Tumbler Ridge Mike Caisley joined with Mayor of Beaverlodge Leroy Durand in unveiling the sign at the start of the Driving Route section of the Monkman Pass Memorial Trail on the outskirts of Beaverlodge on September 1. With them were Everett MacDonald, Reeve for the County of Grande Prairie and Dalton Longson, County Councillor (West). Symbolizing the potential of the Memorial Trail to bind the two provinces, both mayors spoke of the value of the project, which celebrates the region’s remarkable combined heritage by means of a driving and hiking route that promotes physical activity and healthy lifestyles in one of the most beautiful corners of Canada.

Caption: Mayors Leroy Durand (Beaverlodge) and Mike Caisley (Tumbler Ridge) unveil the sign and celebrate the opening of the Monkman Pass Memorial Trail in Beaverlodge on Sept 1.

In the 1930s Alex Monkman and a band of heroic supporters blazed a trail through the mountains and almost succeeded in building a pass which would have formed the export route for their grain. Only the Second World War stopped them, but their dedication and passion, in the face of great odds and government intransigence, lives on and continues to inspire.

The Driving Route has over forty points of interest, between Beaverlodge, Tumbler Ridge and the endpoint at Kinuseo Falls (half are Monkman-related, the others represent some of the Tumbler Ridge area’s finest waterfalls, mountains and dinosaur features). The first edition of the tour brochure has been published and is available in Visitor Info Centres in both provinces. The first series of signage has been installed, and many of the destination attractions have already been developed, so that the Route is now ready to be enjoyed. Over time it will become even more attractive as more portions are paved.

The Memorial Trail concept, initiated by Kreg Alde, has been developed by volunteers in the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society and Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation, and there has been huge financial help from industry led by Burlington Resources, Veritas, Talisman Energy, Encana and Enbridge. Strong government support was evident through BC Parks, Ministry of Forests and Range, the District of Tumbler Ridge and County of Grande Prairie. As a result two new trails were built, two historic portions of the original Monkman route were reopened (Kruger’s Flats and Stoney Lake), two more waterfall destinations (Barbour and Nesbitt’s Knee) have been publicized due to the construction of trailhead parking areas, and the historic exhibits on the Monkman Pass project have been expanded in the Tumbler Ridge Community Centre.

The Hiking Trail section of the Memorial Trail is also progressing well, and a crew of five has been hard at work following the old route and building a trail through the magnificent alpine backcountry of Monkman Provincial Park. The result will be a six day trail from Kinuseo Falls to Hobi’s Cabin on the Herrick River, right over the Rocky Mountains. This will challenge the adventurous and be another international attraction for the region.

A crowd of about forty attended the ceremony and the tea which followed in the Beaverlodge Cultural Centre. Guests included April Moi, Executive Director of the Northern Rockies Alaska Highway Tourism Association, Janet and George Hartford (Janet was there at Monkman Lake in 1939) and many of the descendants of the Monkman Pass pioneers. There was a general sense of satisfaction that the project has already reached this stage, ahead of schedule, and excitement for what the future of the Monkman Pass holds for the Peace Region.

If all goes according to plan, by this time next year the whole Monkman Pass Memorial Trail will be complete, with exhibits and plaques installed at Kinuseo Falls, acknowledging all who have contributed to this project.

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