MONKMAN PASS MEMORIAL TRAIL GETTING INTO GEAR

The Monkman Pass Memorial Trail, spearheaded by Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society in conjunction with the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation, is rapidly becoming a reality. Designed to celebrate the Peace Region?s tangible history while taking visitors through some of the finest scenery on the North American continent, the trail will roughly follow the route that Alex Monkman and his heroic band of pioneers established in the 1930s.

They were looking for an export route for their grain and, faced with government intransigence, decided to build a road over the Rocky Mountains themselves. Only World War II put an end to their efforts, but not before they had built a road much of the way, coaxed a vehicle over the mountains, and carried a symbolic bag of grain to Prince George.

The Memorial Trail will link and bind the Peace Regions of Alberta and British Columbia, and will provide another internationally marketable activity for the region?s tourist industry. The first section will be a driving tour from Beaverlodge to Kinuseo Falls via Tumbler Ridge, with over thirty points of interest along the way. Most of these are Monkman-related, but there will be additional features like dinosaur sites, short hiking trails, canoe routes and mountain biking routes. There are even some portions of the original Monkman Highway that can still be walked, over old bridges, to the old cabins.

The second section will be the hiking trail, from Kinuseo Falls past The Cascades and Monkman Lake, into the alpine at Monkman Tarns, then down Fontoniko Creek to Hobi?s Cabin on the Herrick River. From there it will be possible to be picked up by jet boat and end up in Prince George or McBride. This will be a four or five day trail with magnificent scenery along the way. BC Parks is a big supporter of this project and is co-ordinating the trail building in Monkman Provincial Park this summer, where a six member Conservation Corps team will cut the route. In addition, a WNMS crew will be hard at work at The Cascades for the third successive year, refining access to this magnificent destination.

District of Tumbler Ridge and County of Grande Prairie have both provided financial support, as have Burlington Resources, EnCana, Talisman Energy, and Veritas. This enables helicopter access, signage and the production of brochures. Work on the driving tour section has already begun with the development of a short trail near the headwaters of Flatbed Creek to enable a new canoe route.

WNMS and TRMF volunteers will be developing the driving tour section. Advertisements will be out soon for the work crew positions for the hiking trail section that needs to be cut this year. The crew will work from mid June through late August, and the positions are suitable for Grade 12 graduates or university students. The crew will usually be flown in for ten-day stretches, separated by four-day breaks. Interested applicants can contact the TRENDS office in Tumbler Ridge for further details.