Art Benzer

Art Benzer

Montrose salutes resident’s tireless efforts

Art Benzer will lead Beaver Valley May Days hike up Antenna Trail

If you look up the meaning of volunteer in the dictionary there should be a picture of Art Benzer.

The 76-year-old Montrose resident spent nine years in politics, nearly a decade as a volunteer firefighter and pretty well his whole life committed to enriching people’s lives with his passion for the outdoors.

His pet project, the Antenna Trail (which he modestly clarifies was a group effort), has brought good health to those who frequent it regularly and has connected community members over the years from its inception in 2005 through various community hikes.

“I just did it to help out my fellow citizens and I’ve always been a hiker and I really like the outdoors and I wanted people to enjoy the outdoors,” he said from his home Thursday.

The 2014 Montrose Community Service Award winner is preparing to lead residents in yet another hike up the Antenna Trail this Saturday for Beaver Valley May Days and again on June 7 for Montrose’s Family Fun Days.

“Art is an amazing man who volunteers quietly on his own,” said Montrose Councillor Cindy Cook, who nominated Benzer for the annual honour that has been doled out since 1984.

“It’s people like him that we want to recognize.”

The retired J.L. Crowe Secondary teacher was surprised to hear this week that he was selected for the honour, admitting that volunteering has always just been a part of his life.

He was a volunteer firefighter from 1962-1971 in Montrose, where he learned many first aid and firefighting techniques but never attended a fire.

He later found his place in politics, acting as a village councillor for six years and mayor for three, finally retiring from the job six years ago.

“I’d certainly like to thank the citizens of Montrose because they were fantastic during my time on council,” he said.

“There was the odd time where things would come up but I classified myself as a good listener …  and that worked really well.”

Discussion on creating more parks and hiking trails across the region led to the discovery of the future Antenna Trail in 2005, which officially opened on Montrose Family Fun Days in 2006 in connection with the village’s 50th anniversary.

The old trail with spectacular views of the Columbia River valley was developed for local hikers by Hans Koerber  and a group of enthusiastic outdoorsmen, with help from the Montrose Youth Action team and a B.C. Forest Service fire crew.

Kootenay Columbia Trails Society took the trail under its wing and added it to the growing list of newly-developed trails in the area and the trail which can take generally 45 minutes to two hours to complete, depending on the hiker, has remained one of the most popular in the area.

A sign-in box added in 2010 recorded up to 700 hikers that year, growing to nearly double the following year and up to 2,000 signatures by this March.

Benzer has been committed to the development of this trail over the years, which has included the addition of the flag pole viewpoint, a re-purposed Cominco Arena bench for taking in views of the Rossland Range from the flag and a sign to clarify and identify the range’s 11 peaks.

Last spring, the popular hike was turned into a loop trail with the addition of the new Old Orchard arm, which runs from the flagpole toward the end of  12 Avenue.

“If you work on something that you volunteer for it becomes part of you,” said Benzer, who considers the “intermediate with difficult sections” hike the second best in the Kootenays, next to Idaho Peak.

He makes the trek up to five times a year, taking in the spectacular views and at times leading other community members.

He will be on hand this weekend to lead hikers up the Antenna Trail during Beaver Valley May Days at 8 a.m. Saturday.

His name will be added to a plaque in the village office and a photo of him will appear on a board at the community hall. He will be formerly recognized at a volunteer wine and cheese set for June 5.


Just Posted

“I want to see the difference in the world, embrace it, celebrate it … ” Photo: David Cantelli/Unsplash
A new way to say ‘Hello’

“Inclusion, you see, is NOT about making us all the same.”

Waneta Manor is located on Laburnum Drive in Trail. Photo: Sheri Regnier
Senior dies as Trail tenants continue wait for broken elevator to be fixed

The elevator in Waneta Manor has been out of commission since February

For Your Consideration
Brokeback Facebook: I wish I knew how to quit you!

Thom is inspired by the proliferation of viral inane questions to reevaluate his social media use

The author during GoByBike Week. Taking a break from all that high-flying on the Isador Canyon Trail. Photo: Christina Blaskovich
The auto and the bike: A paean to them both

One becomes an extension of one’s self. The other offers the sensation of flight.

Area A Director Ali Grieve (right), Village of Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette (front), and Village of Montrose Mayor Mike Walsh (left) held a congratulatory ceremony for Beaver Valley students who are part of the Class of 2021 graduates of J. L. Crowe Secondary at Beaver Creek Park on Thursday. Photo: Jim Bailey
Beaver Valley Grads of 2021

Beaver Valley mayors, RDKB Area A director celebrate their 2021 graduates with gift ceremony

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read