Booker-benches – a TR specialty

Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society


Walk one of the Tumbler Ridge trails and there is a good chance that you will come across a distinctive kind of rustic log bench at a prominent view site. Two logs set in the ground, notched, with a crosspiece that is expertly flattened: simple but highly effective. How did these benches get there, and who built them? The answer is inspiring and exemplary.

About eight years ago Fred Booker was the President of the Wolverine Nordic & Mountain Society (WNMS). Eventually Fred and his wife Shawna left Tumbler Ridge for Mackenzie. But the Tumbler Ridge area, the trails they had helped develop, and the fellow-volunteers they had left behind, all left a lasting impression on them. They felt a strong urge to keep giving, and to contribute even more.

Responding to this call-of-the-heart, they decided to make a ten-day return pilgrimage to Tumbler Ridge every summer. They had the single-minded purpose of enhancing the hiking trails, whether that was through brushing, chain-sawing, building boardwalks or staircases, or their trademark of trailside benches.

Murray Canyon Overlook (three benches), Tumbler Point (two benches), Flatbed Pools (two benches), Kevin’s Trail, Bullmoose Marshes, Babcock Falls, Upper Flatbed Rec Site, Quality Canyon – these are just some of the diverse localities now graced with these “Booker-benches”. The result is a legacy that enhances the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark for all live here or visit, and who enjoy the trails and geosites.

And for the WNMS, seeing Fred and Shawna’s friendly faces beside their tent in the Lions Campground means that summer is here, our old friends are back with us, and there is work of the finest kind to be done on the trail.