A welcome visitor to Tumbler Ridge and a guest of the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation and Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society this past week was Richard Brooks. Back in 1939 Richard was in what is now Monkman Park, riding on horseback to Monkman Lake from Kinuseo Falls in the days of the Monkman Pass Highway project.
His father, Carl Brooks, was one of the Trailblazer Crew that led the way through the proposed pass, and was tragically killed in an aircraft crash in Kakwa a few years later. Richard and his family have had a lifelong interest in Monkman pass ever since, and in Tumbler Ridge since its inception.
In the 1990?s the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society worked with the Brooks family to have the highest of the Cascades officially named Brooks Falls, in honour of Carl Brooks, who had described them.
Also on that memorable 1939 trip was Janet Hartford, and Richard and Janet had the opportunity to renew their friendship on this visit. Richard was also able to meet with Larry White, Murray Smith and James Whiddon, three of the volunteer crew that have done such great trail-building work at the Cascades over the past few years, and with local historians Charles Helm, Jack McNeill and Margaret Ritchie.
Richard has known for almost seventy years that the Cascades are one of the most wonderful places on the planet, and has been promoting this destination and making films of it for the past two decades. He and his family constructed a monument at Brooks Falls in 1999, and the film of this event is part of the TRMF?s interactive kiosk in the Community Centre. On this visit he was able to learn about the proposed Monkman Memorial Trail, enjoy the Museum Foundation?s Monkman and Leake exhibits (he was actually with Leake when he took his memorable photos) and also to view the remarkable photos of the 2005 first descents of Monkman Creek by canoe (the subject of an upcoming Itchy Feet presentation).
Richard Brooks was overwhelmed by the progress that has been made locally on all these initiatives, and his excitement was tangible. For him it is like a dream come true, knowing that this precious legacy is in good hands and that the Cascades and Monkman Lake will soon enjoy the fame they deserve.