The British Columbia Forest Service (now officially called the Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations) has been a fixture for many years in Revelstoke.
A ranger district existed here for several years after the Second World War and rarely had more than six or seven staff. It was part of the Nelson District, which occupied the entire southeast portion of the province.
At one time, the office was based out of the basement of the Court House. In the early 1970’s, the agency moved to the Big Eddy to occupy the former Celgar office.
The ranger district became the Revelstoke Forest District in 1980 following a major reorganization of the Ministry of Forests. A brand new office complex and warehouse were added to the existing facility (small office and five-bay garage) in 1988 and the staff numbers increased along with increased local responsibilities. Specific departments handled timber administration, silviculture, scaling, forest protection, engineering and a forerunner to the BC Timber Sales Program called the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program.
The Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act. passed in 1995, dramatically altered forest management in British Columbia and instituted a prescriptive based form of management of the forests. The organizational structure continued to change with the Revelstoke and Golden Forest Districts merging to become the Columbia Forest District in 1997, with the head office in Revelstoke.
Legislation changed again in 2004 with the introduction of the Forest and Range Practices Act, which focused more heavily on results based forest management than the previous legislation. More changes to the organization were implemented that identified district functions in tenures, stewardship, scaling and engineering and the newly created BC Timber Sales Program which sells Crown timber on the open market.
In 2010, the Columbia Forest District, Arrow-Boundary Forest District and Kootenay Lake Forest District were merged to become the Selkirk Resource District, an amalgamation that also saw all of the so called ‘dirt’ ministries brought together to work towards a ‘One Land Manager’ concept.
In August of 2011, the Revelstoke Office became a FrontCounterBC location, a full government service oriented facility, the third of its kind in the south-eastern portion of the province.
Through all of the changes over the years, some things have not changed. The BC Forest Service staff in Revelstoke have always been dedicated, hard working and passionate about the forestry business. Service to the public and stakeholders has and remains the first priority of business.
Many staff have enjoyed long and productive careers in Revelstoke and several of them have chosen to retire locally. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the BC Forest Service, a remarkable achievement in its own right, and an occasion worth celebrating. Several events have occurred or are planned for this year to mark the milestone.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY B.C. FOREST SERVICE!