Canadian Forest History Preservation Project Update

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The Project facilitated the donation of two British Columbia forest inventory maps, owned previously by Don McLaurin of Whistler, to the Chilliwack Museum and Archives. Mr McLaurin had saved the maps many years ago while working for the BC Forest Service. John Hammons, of the Whistler Forest History Project, assisted in the donation and he writes, “We have really come to appreciate how little has been done to preserve historical materials such as old forest cover maps. And once they are lost, they are lost for good. What a good initiative!”

The unique maps, created in 1941 by H.M. Pogue for the BC Department of Lands and Forests, were quite detailed for their time, and were assembled using some of the first aerial photos acquired by the BC Forest Service. They were part of a set of maps made for three adjacent areas in the lower mainland: “Harrison Drainage,” “North Shore” and “Fraser South”, early in the Second World War. The three sets of maps were described in the 1940 Forest Branch Report (Harrison Drainage) and the 1942 Forest Branch Report (North Shore and Fraser South).

Shannon Bettles, Heritage Records Manager, Chilliwack Museum and Archives, tells us that they have in their holdings both objects and archival records relating to logging, sawmills, and forestry. “We have maps of forest stands, blueprints of lands and forests, topographical maps, records from the Orion Bowman Sawmill, photographs of logging activity, sketches, and timber berth maps for example. The map recently received from Don McLaurin will be of particular interest to our researchers studying forestry practices in the Chilliwack River Valley. It complements our other forestry maps, such as the 1940 ‘North Shore Forest Cover Series’ from the BC Forest Service.”

A collaborative effort between NiCHE, the Forest History Society, and the Canadian Forest Service, the Cdn Forest History Preservation Project helps match repositories and collection donors. It includes a survey and assessment of Canadian archival repositories, and their ability and willingness to preserve collections of forest history. The survey has so far been completed in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, with remaining provinces/territories yet to come.

For more information, please view our project brochure and forward it to anyone who might know of a collection in need of archival protection.



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David Brownstein is the Principal of Klahanie Research Ltd ( He is also a longstanding UBC sessional instructor, and the continuing co-ordinator of NiCHE's "The Canadian Forest-History Preservation Project" (still facilitating archival donations after 11 years).

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