A lone tree-planter begins a long hike up a steep post-harvest slope.

B.C Interior Forestry Museum highlights tree-planting experience

Revelstoke-based museum explores silviculture then and now to tell reforestation story to visitors

For a European tourist passing through B.C on a road trip, the visual impact of logging can be shocking, raising questions about the sustainability of clear-cut logging.

They bring those questions to the B.C. Interior Forestry Museum in Revelstoke, explained museum operations manager Anna Minten.

What the visitors don’t get from their vantage point from the highway is a closer look at what’s actually happening on the ground in the bush.

“A lot of tourists are concerned about the clear-cutting and want to know why it has to be done that way,” Minten said. “There’s enough questions and we’re trying to showcase ourselves as not just a museum showcasing the past but as a discovery centre.”

These questions are part of the inspiration for the museum’s new exhibit, set to open this summer. ‘The Reforestation Process and  Tree-Planter’s Experience” showcases the full cycle of the forestry process, highlighting the post-harvest process.

The exhibit will focus on the facts and the people.

The factual displays include signs and statistics explaining the scope of reforestation, an often overlooked part of the industry. It’s about explaining. “It happens and it’s part of the cycle of the forest,” Minten said. “It’s there to maintain the industry, our recreation space and it needs to be done.”

The people-focus highlights the hard work of silviculture workers, including the backbreaking efforts of front-line tree-planters.

“We talk about life as a tree-planter, what camp life is like,” explained Minten.

The museum worked with researcher Rob Brown who explored the history of reforestation.

Photographer Jeremi Bourassa ventured into the bush with local silviculture crews for a visual exploration of the work. Workers labour under supply helicopters and tackle the gruelling, muddy mountainside terrain of the local B.C. Interior Rainforest.

The display also includes a historical component, highlighting the pioneers of the industry and how it’s changed over time.

Are you a tree-planting or silviculture pioneer? The museum wants your input and artifacts. “I would love some more items for the display,” Minten said. “We’re still looking for archival materials. Anything that relates about what life was like for a tree-planter.” They want photos, antique tools, memories and other historical items for the display.

Revelstoke’s Signs Ink is putting together some of the signage for the displays; the exhibit should be completed shortly.

For more information, or to contribute your artifacts, see Anna Minten at the museum or at the B.C. Interior Forestry Museum display at Revelstoke Timber Days this weekend.

 

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