Alan Moss

About the author of this 1971 report, A History of Forest Policy and Administration in British Columbia: Alan Moss 1924-1985.

Alan Moss

Alan Moss was born November 26, 1924 in Accrington, Lancashire to Gladys and William Moss. He grew up in Lancashire becoming an outstanding student, and eventually winning an opportunity to work with Lodge Plugs Limited in Rugby as a young apprentice in the development and testing of spark plugs before World War II. During the war he trained at first with the British Army before being transferred to the Indian Army and then became a Captain within the 8th Gurkha Rifle Regiment with assignment in Burma. During this period of time he met Jim Corbett and spent 3 months with him chasing Man-Eating Tigers, apparently to no avail.

After the war Alan gained entry into the School of Forestry at the University of Edinburgh. He attributed his success to his time India. Forestry Schools in Britain were in many ways spawned by the practice of forestry in India, that in turn was supported through foresters from Germany. At the time of Alan’s entry into the school, Professor Edward Stebbing was one such Professor with a background in forestry with time in India as a forest entomologist. Alan held Professor Stebbing in high esteem. After graduating with honours, he won a scholarship to train in Norway for one year. It was while he was in Norway that he first met his future wife (Rhoda Blanche) and father-in-law (SM Simpson) who owned and operated a sawmill in Kelowna BC. Stanley Simpson offered Alan a job as Woodlands Manager, which he accepted.

Alan arrived in Kelowna in 1950 and was instrumental in the awarding of Forest Management License Number 9 on the Westside of Okanagan Lake to SM Simpson Limited in 1951. In 1954 his parents, and sister Audrey also migrated to Canada. Alan was responsible for developing and overseeing the implementation of three Management Working Plans. Management Plan Number 3 stands out as a book bound document that was many years in the making by way of his training in Edinburgh and the experience he had gained as a practicing forester. The introduction to this plan is as follows:

The forest working plan is a statement, drawn from the Okanagan (West) Tree Farm License (No. 9), prescribing the whole of operations which are to be carried out within the area during the ten-year period 1st. January 1962 to 31st. December 1972. These operations are prescribed, bearing in mind the objective of management to be obtained from the working of the area and assuming that these objectives will be realized to the fullest extent possible.

The basis of the plan is much better than that of Working Plan One and Two because of the considerable amount of information and accurate records collected, primarily from the area itself but also from experimental work carried out in other places. On this basis, it is possible to make more specific and detailed prescriptions.

The division of the area into Working Circles has been continued and separate cuts for these circles established. The division of the area into compartments has been discontinued, at least for this plan period, but 15 large blocks have been instituted.

In the collection of data and the preparation of the plan, much assistance has been received. Personnel of the British Columbia Forest Service have assisted in many ways and particular mention must be made of the Surveys and Inventory Division and Mr. Carl Highsted and Mr. J.E. Browne of their staff, and for their technical assistance in inventory planning and computation. The Research Division and, in particular, Mr. M.B. Clark, Kamloops Forest District Research Officer entered vigorously with the licensee into cooperative experiments and trials, the results of which were expressed in this plan. Other Divisions and individual foresters have assisted in many ways.

The Canadian Department of Forestry, through Doctor D.A. Ross and Mr. B.A. Sugden of the Forest Entomology Laboratory, Vernon and Doctor R.E. Foster and Mr. A.C. Molnar of the Forest Biology Laboratory, Victoria have greatly assisted with reports and notes on insects and diseases of the area.

The Soil Survey Branch, B.C. Department of Agriculture and in particular Doctor D.N. Sprout provided a most valuable soil report with is included in the plan.

The works of a number of authors have been consulted, both to seek information not otherwise available and to supplement information already obtained. These are listed in the bibliography attached as Addendum ‘H’ to this plan.

Finally, to my own staff, who covered the necessary miles of country to obtain information, who have freely entered into vigorous discussion and offered many suggestions and who took an integral part in preparing this plan, my thanks.

SM Simpson Ltd. was sold to Crown Zellerbach in 1965 in return for cash and Crown Zellerbach shares that were distributed amongst the 4 surviving family members, Stan’s wife Blanche (Mowat) Simpson, and Horace (oldest son of Stan from a previous marriage), Bob, and Alan’s wife Rhoda Blanche. The company was started by Stanley (Stan) Simpson and Oswell Setter after purchasing George Ritchie’s carpentry shop in 1913 and starting a business as a Cabinet Makers, and Sash and Door producers under the name of the Kelowna Manufacturing Company.1 The 1965 sale included the 300-acre Bear Creek Ranch (now Bear Creek Provincial Park) and 102 acres on Knox Mountain. Out of the proceeds came the opportunity for Alan to complete his PhD at the University of Edinburgh in August 1969, his dissertation entitled, “A Comparative Study of Forest Policy and Management in Scotland and British Columbia, with Particular Reference to the Use of Pinus contorta in Scottish Forestry. It is this work that provided the starting point for, “A History of Forest Policy and Administration British Columbia.”

Alan’s combined knowledge and experience built upon both local and global perspectives. He was an active member of the B.C. Dragoons, eventually obtaining the rank of Colonel. He periodically held the position of Commanding Officer of Camp Vernon devoted to training young cadets after the war. He became the 24th President in 1971-1972 of what today is known as the Association of BC Forest Professionals, and was also an Alderman in Kelowna during this period of time.

As a Consulting Forester he continued to work throughout the interior of British Columbia, with ventures into the production of Thujol, development and testing of a tree planting machine, and production and operation of a large splitter designed for use at the landing with rotten interior Western redcedar. At the same time, he undertook work in Afghanistan (road construction review), Chad (Desertification), Columbia, Nepal, Sarawak (Shifting Agriculture), and Honduras on behalf of the Canadian International Development Agency and the United Nations. He also travelled to Mexico and Peru alongside Lady McGregor, and Lord and Lady Mansfield of Scone Palace in Scotland, to see the historical sites of the Mayan, Aztec, and Inca peoples. Lastly, he enjoyed a good game of Cricket, never hesitated to put the hook down in search of a wily rainbow trout or Kokanee, and was an excellent marksman, sometimes using these skills to reap branches loaded with cones to check whether seed was ripe for the picking.

Alan died April 12, 1985.

Ian Moss, PhD RPF

619 Goldie Avenue

Victoria, BC V9B 6C1

1 Simpson, S.J. 2003. Boards, boxes, and bins. Stanley M. Simpson and the Okanagan lumber industry. Manhattan Beach Publishing, Kelowna, BC.