............THE FOREST






Interview: Forest Centre Project

R eporter: Well, sir, I see you folks
haven’t built the Forest Centre yet. How come? Haven’t you spent five years or more talking and planning the project? When do we see some bricks and mortar?
....Chap: Let’s make that five and a half years. And, let’s say it might be a few years yet before we open the doors of what we like to call The Forest Centre.
....Reporter: Well, why the delay? We know the economy is bad – but couldn’t there have been other problems?
....Chap: Yes, the economy has cer-tainly played a major role in getting this project off the ground. But, it goes a bit deeper than that. The decision by the provincial government to build the north shore of False Creek in Vancouver into an ultra modern living space to be known as B.C. Place has been the greatest factor in our inability to get on with the Forest Centre project. You see, the government has been very supportive of our project and it was they who invited us to build our center in B.C. Place and take advantage of all its amenities. I suppose if there had been no B.C. Place we would now have built – or have attempted to build – The Forest Centre in one of 60 other locations we investigated on the Lower Mainland.
....Reporter: Well, I see some big dome stadium is near ready – so what’s holding you chaps back. No nails?
....Chap: Not exactly. But, we made our presence felt to teachers, school children and tourists by setting up demonstrations and exhibits of the type of forestry displays we will use in a completed Forest Centre. You might remember that the concept of our project is based on the popularity of the Toronto Science Centre’s approach to science.
....It’s a hands-on entertaining and enlightening method of telling the story of the forests, forestry and the allied sides of the subject such as the relationship of forests to streams, fish, wildlife and people.
....Reporter: Oh, my gosh. That sounds complicated.


....Chap: On the contrary, it is not complicated. We’ve seen how the computer age has descended on us in a very short time. Young people everywhere are onto computer games and hi-tech studies of all kinds. We want to capture that interest in explaining the story of trees and forests and their relation to our lives.
....Reporter: Okay. I see what you mean. But, all this sounds expensive. And like it’s a pretty big deal. All I hear these days is that the forest industry and the government are having a hard time making ends meet. Where do you find the money for such a project – and do we still need such an expensive sounding project?
....Chap: I’ll answer the last part of your question first. Five and a half years ago we convened 20 people, all prominent in the forestry picture or in the business field in B.C. It was from

Our heritage
is important

this meeting that we decided to go ahead with the project. The interest had initially been shown by Tom Waterland, B.C.’s Minister of Forests, and with such backing we were awarded seed money to proceed.
....We set up demonstration exhibits on Granville Island and hosted thousands of people – particularly school children. We had teachers and visitors write their comments on what they thought of this type of forestry teaching.
....To a person they answered in the affirmative and awaited eagerly the advent of the Forest Centre.
....We know we have a commodity the public will take to. The forests of the West Coast of B.C. are unique in the world and visitors are – and always will be – curious for knowledge of those big trees. Our future generations will be the guardians of these forests and we undermine their future if we do not prepare now to teach them of the heritage they must look after.
....So much of forestry is a mystique to

the general public. Let’s look at a few of those mystiques:
....Reforestation: The public doesn’t realize that a great many logging sites don’t have to be replanted. They grow on their own. And they don’t understand about silviculture burning because all they’ve ever known about it is the smog it creates in their towns and cities. They also don’t realize how much land that needs restocking has not been planted.
....Forest Fires: They’ve been warned and told by excellent programs like Smokey the Bear to be careful of campfires and cigarettes – but they do not appreciate the millions of dollars spent on water bombers, fire fights and extensive patrol and equipment to suppress fire in out of the way places.
....Logging: This subject is a disaster as far as the public understanding it and how much it means to Canada’s pocketbook. By spelling out the difficulties, the hazards, the skills and the need for better and better close utilization methods the public will be sympathetic to our industry’s need for a better share of the forestry tax dollar. We need that understanding!
....Workforce: The Forest Centre project will not be a museum. It will be a very living experience for the visitor – and that visitor will return and return to see a continual flow of the uses of wood and to meet the people from the woods.
....He will be entertained by the most skilled of logger champions. Men and women who earn their living by the forest will be a part of the Forest Centre. And I may add – not in the fashion of the Pacific National Exhibition that doubled up the Loggers’ Sports Show with the idiotic Car Demolition Derby. Maybe it saves space – but it sure as hell doesn’t do much for the true image of a logger when he is viewed through the wreckage of torn and twisted automobiles.
....We would like to see a gathering of retired or ex-logging, sawmilling or woodworking men or women formed into an honorary director group. They would use their years of experience and their expertise to be part of the


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Bill Moore

Continued from p. 22

voice of The Forest Centre. Too many of these people have been left apart from today’s forestry scene – and we believe they could be one of our centre’s greatest assets.
....We certainly hope to work closely with such forestry groups as the Junior Forest Wardens’ association and Boy Scout movements.
....The Forest Centre will be many things to many people. We will feature all sorts of do-it-yourself woodworking lessons – from how to hang a kitchen shelf to how to build a boat or a garage. The center will certainly be a showplace for all forms of new wood products and methods of using wood in construction. It will make an ideal hobby center. And we expect this phase of our center to contribute to revenues.
....We feel sure the center will make an ideal meeting place for various forest companies, unions or associations who want to entertain visitors, have an annual meeting or simply be a part of the Forest Centre scene. We hope to provide private space for such meetings and feel that the atmosphere of the center will be most conducive to this activity.
....Reporter: Will you serve food – or tea and crumpets?
....Chap: Yes, in some manner we shall. We are sure it will be necessary. One thing, though. I am always impressed at The attitudes I run into in northern Europe – of the relationships of the forests and the public. Those countries have a heritage of forest culture that has not yet reached our shores. The


Scandinavians not only understand re-forestation– they practice it, whereas our governments are definitely not using the forestry tax dollars to get our empty growing lands restocked. The public here does not understand the vital signi-ficance of the loss of these growing sites. And, this is precisely the role a Forest Centre can play in teaching the public – especially our young – the necessity of having complete, continually growing forests in Canada.
....A new attitude must be imparted to all people on the protection, uses and care of our forests. Canada – and par-ticularly British Columbia – possess the greatest growing sites in the world. Those sites are not being properly re-stocked now.
....Public pressure by a better under-standing public will see to it that they are properly stocked. The Forest Centre project expects to be able to create new attitudes in the public’s attention to our forests. We hope to be the hub for management, unions, government, associations and all forms of organizations that have a forestry story to tell the public. Our purpose is to educate – to teach the vast story of the forests in all of its aspects. We’ll use forestry science – entertaining displays, how to use wood programs, loggers’ sports, video descriptions of all forest jobs and activities. We will involve people in spectacular exhibits that will make them want to come back time and again.
....Reporter: You wouldn’t be borrowing a bit from Disneyland now would you?
....Chap: We, sir, will borrow from the Police Gazette if it will help sell the forest to the public. Mr. Disney brought the wonders of the world to people so


they could better understand their world while being entertained doing so. We’ll do the same thing for forests.
Reporter: Yea, verily – but how do you do these wondrous things when the forest industry is in its worst recession in 50 years? Rob the mint?
Chap: Ah, no. That’s ill-advised and also illegal. But, this recession will not last forever. And this industry and thec very nature of the western economy will not sit still at the bottom of a slump for too long. We are made of better stuff than that.
Here in B.C. the Expo ’86 will be bound to bring world attention to this West Coast. And let’s hope that we are ready to toot the horn for the forest products when that attention is on us. Could you imagine the disgrace of missing such a selling opportunity? Why, we might as well join the Car Demolition bunch at the fair if we don’t use 1986 as the means to tell the world that we’ve got the forestry know-how. We have the sense to look after our forests. We have the best damned forestry workforce in the world – and we intend to be Number One in forestry and stay that way.
Reporter: Where do I sign up? Here. Please. Take my donation!
Chap: And that we shall do, sir. Soon. When we begin our membership drive. We’ll be around to see you all.

But, in the meantime –
Keep out of the bight •

Bill Moore