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The Trail Blazers and the Cavalcades: Proving the Need for the David Thompson Highway
Rocky Mountain House Museum
Rocky Mountain House , Alberta

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   Have you ever known a
salesman who took "no" for an
answer? That's the first
reason Rocky Mountain House
has a well-built highway
through the beautiful scenic
West Country. The David
Thompson Highway was built
and named after a Ford Dealer
named Ernie Ross, and a

handful of other Rocky
Mountain House businessmen
did not take “no” for an
answer. This group of
businessmen, later known as
the Trail Blazers, set out to
prove to the Alberta Minister
of Highways that their
request to build a highway
west of Rocky Mountain House

on to the Banff-Jasper route
was a reasonable project -
one not to be dismissed off-
handedly. David Thompson was
an inspiration to Ernie Ross
and his Trail Blazers. The
surveyor and map maker had
left the Rocky Mountain House
trading post in 1807 on his
way to find a route to the

Pacific Ocean for the
NorthWest Company of fur
traders. Traversing the
territory west from the post
by canoe and on horseback,
David Thompson had succeeded
in climbing the Howse Pass,
and marked the quickest way
for travel into what is now
British Columbia. Why should

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