Oral History

The FHABC sponsored oral history methods workshops in 1983 and 1991.  People from forest companies and their affiliated organisations, the Truck Loggers Association, the International Woodworkers of America, UBC and the provincial government attended.  We have an ongoing oral history program, interviewing individuals involved with the forest industry.  Some interviews have been transcribed, all tapes are kept in an archival facility.

In more recent times, we have archived oral history interviews in digital form.

Gerry Burch interview, Aug 13, 2009.  In this full interview, Gerry gives David Brownstein an account of his early biography. He provides the highlights of his time at BC Forest Products. Describes some personal successes. Talks about inter-generational learning. Gives an account of some disappointments in policy.


Stan Chester interview, Sept 2, 2009.  Stan is now a past president of the Forest History Assn of BC.  In this 2009 interview, Stan talks about his career and forestry and forest history in general.

0 – 4:18 Youth in Vancouver (Kerrisdale).
4:09 – 15:30 Jobs, fire protection, Canfor Englewood, divisional forester, life in Vancouver Island camp.
15:30 – 19:05 Vancouver Canfor office, stumpage.
19:06 – 26:19 Cofi fire control group, 1980s.
26:20 – 27:52 What is stumpage?
29:28 – 37:10 Public opinions, changing approaches to fire.
51:46 – 1:07 What have you learned from those who preceded you?
1:08-1:14 What can the upcoming generation learn from your experiences?
1:14 – end. Forestry is changing, role of forest history, concluding remarks.


George Dashwood interview, Sept 18, 2009.  George Dashwood attended the annual meeting of the Forest History Association of British Columbia in Prince George, Sept 2009. While on the fieldtrip, the 97-year-old Dashwood was able to share his memories with those on the bus. The next day, David Brownstein sat down with George for a more extended conversation centred on
George’s experiences growing up in B.C. during the 1920s, and looking for work as a woodsman in the 1930s. Before the interview, George had recently suffered a stroke that impaired his ability to communicate numbers, but his memory of events remained unaffected.

  • 0-5:24 Early life, time as a Boy Scout in Mission.
  • 5:24-6:00 Description of Mission, B.C.
  • 6:00-7:25 Description of looking for work during the Depression.
  • 7:25-8:30 Relief Camps and the violent march to Vancouver.
  • 8:30-14:53 The Journey to Aleza Lake.
  • 14:35-21:20 Aleza Lake classes and instruction.
  • 21:20-25:00 Travels from Aleza Lake to Sinclair Mills and Hansard.
  • 25:00-26:50 Dances and Social Life at Hansard.
  • 26:50-30:50 Attempting to join the Rocky Mountain Rangers at the beginning of the Second World War.
  • 30:50-34:59 Working in logging camps and Scaling around the province.
  • 34:59-36:19 Interest in tree planting in the late 1930s.
  • 39:10-40:45 Working with convicts in the Queen Charlottes.
  • 40:45-end. Encounters with bears, including a face to face meeting.
    “You wouldn’t been any closer if you were gonna kiss a girl!”



Other audio recordings of interest to BC forest history.

From a selection of 2012 eLectures hosted by NiCHE and the CIF, you can find two interesting talks by FHABC Past President Stan Chester (“BC Forest History – Past, Present and Future.”), and former director Mike Apsey (“The BC Forest Service Centenary”). These can be streamed from right here.

Our current projects

  • Bibligography Two public online databases for real-time searching, sorting and exporting of citations
  • Oral History We have three online, and an upcoming project with UBC RBSC that will provide many more
  • Archival Donations Our ongoing task to keep forest history available for future generations
  • ABCFP Book Prize Prizes awarded each year to the valedictorians of the ABCFP Inductee Class