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Forest History in Northern BC

Overview of Northern BC Archives collections on forestry and the forest industry.

Aleza Lake Research Forest Collection (1913-2019)

2007. - The Results of Stand Treatment in the White Spruce Alpine Fir Type of the Northern Interior of British ColumbiaAleza Lake Research Forest

​Aleza Lake Research Forest fonds - 2007.1

The ALRF Collection contains significant materials covering a wide range of topics related to forestry research and forest management practices in Central BC from the 1920s-1980s documenting BC’s earliest and longest-running experimental research forest in the province. By 1930, the Research Division was the most active throughout Canada. It includes:

  • administrative materials
  • unpublished scientific and technical reports
  • timber sale records
  • general forestry related reports
  • 200+ Photographs of the Experimental Station dating from its inception in 1924

Its most significant records include experimental plot files from 1928-1958 and sample plots from Hutton, Penny, and Foreman that record growth and mortality of white spruce balsam and soil types. 

After 38 years of operation, ALES was formally closed in 1963 but in the late 1980s, there was a push for the Research Forest to be re-opened because of its potential for forest management research and demonstration. In 1992, the Research Forest reopened and, as the renamed Aleza Lake Research Forest, in 2001 it became the fourth university research forest in British Columbia managed by the ALRF Society, with a partnership between UNBC, UBC, BC Ministry of Forests, and the BC Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management. Today, the central mandate of the Research Forest is to provide multidisciplinary programs focusing on partial cut harvest systems, biological diversity, climate change, and environmental monitoring in small forest tenures.


Restrictions on access: Some restrictions apply. Restricted content has been redacted from digitized files. For more information contact the archives.

Image: 2007. - The Results of Stand Treatment in the White Spruce Alpine Fir Type of the Northern Interior of British Columbia

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Aleza Lake Research Forest Society fonds

2006.18.6.14 - Ranger Station at Aleza Lake Experiment Forest2006.18 - Aleza Lake Research Forest Society fonds

The Aleza Lake Research Forest Society (ALRFS) records encompass material that was created or collected by the Society over its existence (2001-present). Records created by the ALRFS consist of administrative and operational records, as well as publications from the Society. Collected records include historical records relating to the Aleza Lake Experiment Forest gifted to the Society or its members. These include maps, photographs, reference material, and documents. Members and associates of the ALRFS also documented the history of the forest through the creation of oral history recordings and written histories such as John Revel's "Devil's Club, Black Flies, and Snowshoes".

The fonds includes a significant amount of reproduced archival material about Aleza Lake from other institutions, such as BC Archives, the Canadian Forest Service, and the BC Forest Service. Many of these reproductions were created as part of the 2006 ALRFS Natural Resources History Internship in an effort to compile the history of the research forest.

Also included are cartographic and photographic materials that depict the Aleza Lake Research Forest and surrounding areas.

Physical description:

  • 0.63 m of textual records
  • 23 photographs
  • 1 video cassette
  • 4 audio cassettes
  • approx. 80 maps

Restrictions on access: Some restrictions may apply - contact an archivist at

Image: 2006.18.6.14 - Ranger Station at Aleza Lake Experiment Forest

Harry Coates fonds

2016.5 - Harry Coates fonds

Fonds consists of records Harry Coates created or received and retained during his career as a BC Forest Service Research Technician and into his retirement as a Sustainable Forest Management activist. Fonds includes materials from his work at the Aleza Lake Research Forest.

Physical Description: 

  • 2 m textual records
  • 809 photographs (638 prints : b&w and col. - 153 negatives : col. negatives ; 35 mm - 18 slides : col. slides ; 35 mm).
  • 66.6 MB of photographs
  • 7 computer disks
  • 52 maps
  • 2 VHS tapes
  • 14 objects

Restrictions on access: Some restrictions apply. Contact the archives for details.

Related materials

Related Material

McGregor Model Forest Association (1992-2007)

McGregor Model Forest Association fonds - 2007.11

The McGregor Model Forest Association (MMFA) was established in 1992 by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Forest Service’s Model Forest Program which was established across the country to examine and test principals of sustainable forest management. The MMFA operated successfully for over 15 years to support research, development of integrated forest management models, forest education and facilitation of collaborative decision-making. The Association’s approximately 50 members included communities, First Nations, industry, government and non-government representatives, as well as individual scientists and practitioners. The MMFA was an active participant in the Canadian and International Model Forest Networks, and also carried out projects in Russia on behalf of the Canadian International Development Agency. The Model Forest Program concluded in 2007.

Fonds consists of the McGregor Model Forest records documenting the operational history of the model forest from 1992 through 2007. These records document the various functions of the McGregor Model Forest reflected in the four series:

  1. Projects and Research consisting of reports, proposals, and project and research materials ranging from 1994 to 2006
  2. McGregor Model Forest Association Administration records largely consisting of Board of Directors Meeting Minutes from 1993 - 1997; work plans from 1994 - 1997, 2002 - 2003; annual reports from 1995 - 2006; Technical Steering Committee Meeting Minutes from 1993 - 1997
  3. Publications by the McGregor Model Forest Association, the Canadian Model Forest Network, Natural Resources Canada, or other forest research organizations
  4. Promotional Materials including materials from outreach events such as posters, presentation slides, and ephemera.

Physical description: 

  • 1.3 m textual records
  • 2 CD-ROMs
  • 1 object: large magnet
  • 25 posters

Restrictions on access: Some restrictions apply. Contact archivist for details.