Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation

NEWSLETTER #3, NOVEMBER 2005: The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation newsletter keeps members up-to-date on current events. The newsletter is reprinted in the paper for general interest. Visit the museum online at www.tumblerridgemuseum.com for information about museum programs, and membership information.

We welcome Gail Neumann onto our Board of Directors. Gail replaces Stan Porter, who has moved to Prince George. We thank Stan for his dedicated enthusiasm over the two years he served on the Board. The current Board is: Patsy Antle, Amanda Battenfelder, Rose Colledge, Christine Goodwin, Beth Graham, Charles Helm, Jack McNeill, Gail Neumann, Hazel Peters, Dave Price, Mike Sidwell and Charissa Tonnesen. Please contact any of us if you have questions or suggestions. Our minutes are available for perusal at the Visitor Info Centre.

At our most recent Board of Directors meeting, Tumbler Ridge Mayor-Elect Mike Caisley was a special guest, and shared his sentiments of support and optimism about the next three years. He was followed by another guest, archaeologist Amanda Marshall, who has kindly offered to assist us in developing our planned archaeology displays.

Indeed, exhibits and displays take up much of our attention, and we are currently busy with a whole bunch. 2006 is the 25th anniversary for Tumbler Ridge, and in celebration of this we have been invited to develop exhibits in the foyer of the Town Hall. We will be using the underutilized high wall space to create two displays, one on the contribution of the dinosaur discoveries to the community (including a small ankylosaur model) and another on the creation of Tumbler Ridge and the community?s very early days. We hope to have the dinosaur exhibit up on January 2nd and truly bring in the New Year with style.

As mentioned above, we are planning an archaeology display, focusing on the rich First Nations heritage of the area. We are currently in the process of approaching all six First Nations who have had an historical presence in the area, for their comments and hopefully their support, and are working closely with the local Circle of Friendship. Many of you will have attended the inspiring talk by Michael Blackstock on Aboriginal tree art, which we hosted in the Library. Michael focused on our magnificent tree carving, which is exhibited prominently in the Community Centre. One of his suggestions was that we consider having an exact replica of this work of art recarved on a tree near the site of the original, close to the Flatbed Campground, with a short trail leading to it. Again, we are working with First Nations to establish if there is consensus that this is a worthwhile concept. It has been suggested that if this does go ahead, the opening ceremony be held on Aboriginal Day next summer.

We have also been approached by the new Wilderness Lodge with regard to historical black and white photographs being used to grace rooms and hallways. Anyone who has visited the grand hotels in the Rockies to the south will realize how important such an idea is in promoting the cherished sense of place which Tumbler Ridge enjoys in such abundance and which we are trying to promote.

This last week we heard the good news that Lakeview Credit Union will be giving us a cheque for $2000 for the installation of a 42 inch screen on the wall above our Interactive Display, and connected to it. This display has already entranced innumerable visitors and residents, with its combination of priceless historical footage and more recent scenic material – there is well over an hour of footage and this is periodically updated. We are hoping that the Community Centre will instantaneously be enhanced by this wonderful donation. Another remarkable donation a few months ago was for $1000 from the Pouliot family, simply in appreciation of what we are trying to do and the hope that we hold for economic diversification for the region.

This brings us to the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery, which is scheduled for development by April 2006, funded to the tune of $75 000 by Western Economic Diversification. The hard work by our palaeontologists and volunteers has created the PRPRC with its collections area and preparation area (all of which we are rapidly outgrowing). The Discovery Gallery will take us the next step – using the discoveries and research and converting them into something the public can enjoy year-round. We are in the process of deliberations on where exactly the most suitable site will be in the community.

We also envisage developing a Tumbler Ridge Archives in 2006, and are looking for funding sources that could support this. We are currently beginning our annual fundraising drive. Hopefully the current economic boom will allow for donations.

As if one international attraction were not enough, we are turning our attention to a second! We are teaming up with the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society on the Monkman Memorial Trail project. This has two parts, a driving tour and a hiking trail, and commemorates the 1930s route pioneered by heroic Alberta farmers . The driving tour will go from south of Beaverlodge to Kinuseo Falls via Tumbler Ridge, with eighteen points of interest, with opportunities for short hikes, canoeing and mountain biking. The hiking trail will lead right over the Rockies, via some of the most spectacular scenery in Canada, including the Cascades, Monkman Lake, Monkman Pass and maybe Monkman Tarns. There is probably no other place in the Canadian Rockies where such a project can be fulfilled. We are working with the Enbridge Gateway pipeline project – their proposed pipeline may enhance access to the Monkman route in places.

On a less fortunate note, the doors that had graced the ?Glass Palace? at the Quintette Plant Site, which had been promised to us for our eventual museum, were somehow removed to Sparwood for a museum there. Many people in town are extremely upset about this, and we are working along with our Mayor and Council to raise objections to this and see what can be done.

Other projects include hosting the Branding the Peace initiative in Tumbler Ridge, helping NRAHTA develop the Northern Dino Tour, working out how best to further develop Dino Camp and our dino footprint tours next year, and improving road signage to our museum exhibits for visitors. There is also behind the scenes work on the appropriate development of the Tumbler Ridge area – we get approached by oil and gas companies and forestry companies with their maps and proposed developments, and we review them and advise on sensitive areas – a recent example being a proposed seismic line through Cabin Pool and Overhanging Rock Pool! Without exception our responses have been positively accepted so far.

It?s time also to celebrate the many discoveries of the 2005 summer field season. Flying three trackways in by helicopter was a highlight, and towards the end of the season an assemblage of almost thirty cone fossils was discovered. These are currently being researched by a paleobotanist in Edmonton, and are awaiting identification.

As for our palaeontologists, Lisa Buckley has departed temporarily so as to complete her Masters degree under the supervision of Phil Currie at U. of Alberta. Rich McCrea is spending much of his time working on the Discovery Gallery, and he and Lisa recently journeyed to Arizona to present new research findings on the Tumbler Ridge and BC Dinosaurs. Rich also visited about a dozen museums en route so as to develop ideas for the Gallery. Rich and Lisa also conducted extremely important work on the dinosaur footprint site in Kakwa Provincial Park this summer.

At this time of transition in the region following the recent municipal elections, we welcome our strong new Council under the leadership of Mr Caisley, and we thank Mayor Iles and the outgoing council for the confidence they showed in us and the support they consistently provided for our vision, and Councillor Kirby for his role as liaison.

Please visit our website for further information and updates: www.tumblerridgemuseum.com . Please be frank with suggestions as to how we can improve our efforts, and please let us know if you are able to volunteer your time and help us. All the best for the festive season, and may 2006 bring all we aspire to, both in our personal and family lives, and for the TRMF.