The Monkman Pass Memorial Trail is an ambitious project that has galvanized the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society and Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation over the past few years, and is creating another potential attraction of international stature for the region. Alex Monkman and his fellow pioneers identified and blazed a trail through the mountains via Monkman Pass in the 1930s in one of the most remarkable chapters in Peace Region history. The reopening of that route for residents and tourists to drive or hike has been an exciting and fulfilling project that has been well supported through donations from industry and government.
The Memorial Trail has two components: the Driving Tour leads from Grande Prairie to Kinuseo Falls via Tumbler Ridge. It has forty seven points of interest on route. Some are Monkman-related, others feature our dinosaur sites, waterfalls, trails, museum exhibits and other attractions. One drawback is that much of this drive is still on gravel roads, but this will change for the better with the paving of the Boundary Road.
The Hiking Route is 62 kms long and leads from Kinuseo Falls over the Rockies to Hobi?s Cabin on the Herrick River. It will take five or six days to complete, via such superb features as the Cascades, Monkman Lake and the Monkman Tarns, with opportunities for bagging the big peaks. This route traverses rugged and remote wilderness. Satellite phone and GPS are essential items, and the venture is not for the faint hearted or the under-equipped or inexperienced. Once at Hobi?s Cabin, hikers will need to make arrangements for pick up by boat or helicopter operators. Much of the trail was built by a BC Parks crew with volunteer help in 2007. Kreg Alde, who has been the inspiration behind this project, will be leading the construction of the final section in June 2008. A Grand Opening event is planned for July 17th in Tumbler Ridge, followed by a ceremony at Kinuseo Falls.
Full colour brochures, funded by BC Parks and the District of Tumbler Ridge, written by Charles Helm and published by Tumbler Ridge News, have recently been produced for both the Driving Tour and the Hiking Route, and will be available at Visitor Centres throughout the region and on websites. These include maps, and the Hiking Route brochure comes with over a hundred GPS points along the way.
The experience of travelling on foot over the Rockies for six days, in the footsteps of the pioneers, and through some of North America?s finest scenery, will create an outstanding opportunity for people the world over who are ready for this significant challenge.