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Community News

The Johnston Trail

The History Behind the Trail

 Many residents in the area have not only heard about the “Johnston Trail” but have used it extensively as an excellent hiking trail or for other recreational activities. As the trail possesses a spectacular view of the Smoky River, It is one of the most beautiful scenic trails in the area. However, not everyone knows where the name came from and it has on occasion even been referred to incorrectly as the Johnson Trail. It was actually named after the person who had originally constructed the trail – Willis Johnston

The Johnston family has been in the Bezanson area since 1912. When Willis returned from WWII, he purchased a ½ section of land from his father. Willis and his wife, Vivian, decided to enter into a cattle ranching business and began to look for land to lease in order to have sufficient pasture on which to run their cattle during the summer months. Suitable acres were located on the east side of the Smoky River – portions of NE 18, W ½ of 19, NE 20 and W ½ of 20-72-2-W6. The lease was in place by 1959. 

 Then a road had to be built to reach the lease land. Willis purchased a John Deer 440 Caterpillar, welded a canopy on the machine and began to clear a roadway of trees and build-up a base of suitable soil for the road itself. It was quite the daunting task for such a small piece of equipment. At that time, there was a small convenience store and restaurant located on the north side of the Smoky River Bridge on the east side of the river. The “Johnston Trail” began slightly east of that point and meandered northward towards the lease land. Willis and Vivian enjoyed many years in the cattle industry before Vivian became ill and passed away in 1974. Willis subsequently sold his herd of cattle and did not renew the lease in 1977. 

Willis was very proud that the road became known as the “Johnston Trail” and his descendants are very pleased that it is still known as that yet today. 

 Written and photos by Wanda (Johnston) Zenner March 2020 

**No part of this document may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any format without written permission of the author** 

Message from Pastor Greg Clairmont

Hello Neighbor,

These are uncertain times we are living in and as a community, we need to look out for one another. If you need Pastoral care or simply someone to talk to, I would be glad to help. All matters will be kept confidential.

Pastor Greg Clairmont
Bezanson Community Church
Tel: 780-513-2836

Bezanson Community Hub

The Community Hub is an opportunity to provide news, information and inspirational stories.  Bezanson has an incredible historical past that has helped shape and grow this vibrant community!  Do you have a story of your family and a picture of family members who helped found this great community and area that you would like to share?  Do you have a favorite recipe from your grandma? Do you have photos from the past of the Bezanson area?  Do you have a story of achievement that you wish to share?  Do you have a job posting that could help someone out?  During such an unprecedented time as this, the Bezanson Community knows how to work together, share and team up to provide the inspiration needed as we move through this timeframe.  Feel free to share.  We want to hear from you!  Send your News Worthy Inspiration to

1207175 Alberta Ltd. o/a Ford Bros. Water Service

COVID-19 Response
As drinking water is considered an essential service, Ford Bros. Water Service will continue with the supply & delivery of drinking water to your homes & businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our key priorities are:
– The health & safety of our employees, that they may continue to provide service & to ensure business continuity
– The health & safety of our families and customers
– The health & safety of the community at large

Therefore, Ford Bros. Water Service has set these initiatives in place:
* Daily monitoring of AHS and government for updates
*Workers have been educated on good hygiene practices
* Workers who feel sick must stay home
* All non-essential travel is delayed or canceled
* Group & face-to-face meetings to be avoided and replaced with telephone, text & email

To our residential customers:
We ask that you contain your pets, as best as you are able, while our personnel are on location.  Because we all love ‘on’ our pets, the transfer of the virus can ‘possibly’ take place via droplets from sneeze or cough on their fur.    

Lastly, in response to the Provincial Government’s statement regarding utility protection and their request that similar action be taken for water bills.  Ford Bros. is a small business that survives in much the same way that you do.  We go to work, we do our jobs, and hopefully, there is a paycheque at the end of the month.  We cannot make the same offer as that put forth by Jason Kenney.  But we do hope that if anyone is facing a financial struggle during this time of crisis, please call the office and we will do whatever we can to assist in coming to an arrangement which is agreeable & doable for both sides.

Thank you,


Public Notice

ALL PROGRAMS AND EVENTS taking place at the Bezanson’s Knelsen Community Centre have been suspended at this time due to the COVID-19. This includes all Drop-In Programs, the Bezanson Market, all children’s and seniors programs, our Denim & Diamond fundraiser, our fitness classes and all rentals for March & April.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will follow the direction as advised by the County of Grande Prairie.

We will still continue to operate the office however, the building is now closed to the public.

Call 780-538-3544 or email if you have further questions.

Bezanson Skating Rink A Community Venture

The idea for a skating rink began during the infancy of the Hamlet of Bezanson. The Herald-Tribune reported in February 1940, “Curling, Skating Rinks to Be Built in Bezanson District”. The article went on to say that the meeting was held at Rooney’s Store with Moose Nellis acting as chairman. A permit had been obtained and the plan was for a regulation-size hockey/skating rink. It was decided to locate the rink on what was known as the “sports grounds” across the road to the east of the store. Unfortunately, with the onset of WWII, many of the young men from the area enlisted and the project had to be put on hold.

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