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Only top-level descriptions British Columbia. Dept. of Lands, Forests and Water Resources British Columbia. Dept. of Forests
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Forest licence cutting permits from the Dawson Creek Forest District

  • GR-3683
  • Series
  • 1971-1992

The series consists of cutting permits for forest licences and timber sale harvesting licences. The records were created by both the Chetwynd Field Office and the Dawson Creek Forest District. These offices were part of the Prince George Forest Region. Each office maintained their own files and, in most cases, both files have been retained.

The ministry created multiple files for administering the permit process. These include a central file as well as individual files for each cut block. Since this series also contains files from two offices, there are often duplicate central and block files for each permit. Both are numbered identically but they are differentiated by the acronyms CFO for the Chetwynd office and DDC for the Dawson Creek office.

All files contain a variety of correspondence, reports, maps, and forms. The central file is split into two parts. The first part contains a copy of the cutting permit, final harvesting reports, permit extension documentation, and stumpage fees. The second part contains preliminary inspections by Forest Service staff, appraisal analysis documentation and correspondence.

The ministries responsible for creating these records, and the years that they were responsible, are:

British Columbia. Ministry of Forests (1988-1992)
British Columbia. Ministry of Forests and Lands (1986-1988)
British Columbia. Ministry of Forests (1976-1986)
British Columbia. Dept. of Forests (1975-1976)
British Columbia. Dept. of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (1971-1975)

The records were classified as 19500-45 in the Forest Operational Classification System (ORCS).

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands, Forests and Water Resources

Forest Service lookout photographs

  • GR-3263
  • Series
  • 1936-1983

The series consists of ca. 4300 negatives and ca. 5000 photographic prints taken from forest lookouts between 1936 and 1993. Falling under the function of forest protection, "lookout photography" or "panoramic lookout photography" was first initiated in B.C. in 1936. It involved taking a set of eight large-format film images at 263 fire lookout sites.

The negatives were used to create 20 x 32 cm (7½ x 12¾" black and white photo prints, and a grid was photographically superimposed on each print, indicating the compass bearing from 0 to 360 degrees and vertical angle from +10 to -15 degrees from the horizontal. These prints were bound into book form, and kept on hand in the lookout and at the Ranger Station to aid in communicating the details of fire locations using visual references. They were also used to orient the fire finder in the lookout - a rotatable sighting device mounted over a map located in the centre of the building. The books list the date of the images and the location. Some books also contain notations on the photos. The series also contains 2 boxes of photographic proofs which contain information about the date and time that the image was taken and the weather conditions at that time.

In the photographing process, bearings were established with the use of a surveyor's transit and level, and an interchangeable camera. With the transit, the photographer determined the precise known bearing of a distant reference object (usually a mountain peak or another lookout, sometimes a topographic survey cairn). By lifting the transit off the mount and replacing it with the camera, they could then take their eight photographs at 45-degree horizontal intervals. Photographs from the lookout were taken in this order: shot #1, North; shot #2, 45 degrees; shot #3, East; shot #4, 135 degrees; shot #5, South; shot #6, 225 degrees; shot #7, West; shot #8, 315 degrees. A suitable camera was initially borrowed from another agency until one specially built by the National Research Council in Ottawa was obtained in the summer of 1945. One report from the late 1940s states that the eight views each included a horizontal angle of 50 degrees, so that the full panorama was completed with an overlap of 5 degrees per photograph. Photos were taken on infrared film to maximize haze penetration, and a duplicate set of negatives were taken with panchromatic.

Most lookouts were photographed at least once; some were photographed two or three times. This “rephotography” was deemed necessary when there were appreciable changes, over time, in a view from a lookout. Changes in view were caused by various factors: elimination of vegetative cover due to wildfires or logging; the erecting, rebuilding or relocation of a tower; construction of dams; or the change in view caused by tree clearing at the mountain summit. Most lookouts were sites that had established structures; however, some were undeveloped sites.

The photography was sometimes carried out by a two-man crew consisting of UBC forestry students. In time, "visibility mapping" to evaluate potential new lookout sites was combined with lookout photography at existing sites; in some years a two-man crew would do both. Access to lookout sites by helicopter was used by 1960. The same crews sometimes also took photographs on behalf of the National Parks Service for parks lookouts located in B.C. For some years there was limited or no field work undertaken in either lookout photography or visibility mapping. The last photos were taken by professional surveyors on a contract basis as a pilot project.

The majority of the lookout structures were built by the B.C. Forest Service; however, several had been built by the federal government to fulfill their obligation to protect timber from wildfire within the Railway Belt. In 1930 the Railway Belt and its lookout structures were turned over to the Province of B.C.

The number of lookouts that were staffed declined in the late 1970s and early 1980s as other means of fire detection became more efficient, notably, aircraft patrols and public reporting. In addition, the electronic lightning location system that began in 1980 indicated where lightning activity had occurred, and computer models then predicted the likely location and number of new lighting-caused and people-caused fires. The decline in fire lookouts was due to technological changes, and cost-benefit analyses probably showed that some lookouts were no longer good investments. Lookout photography was given up as lookouts declined in value.

The photographs are a resource for studying landscape change. Old harvesting, regeneration, and the impacts of wildfire and urban expansion may be observed in many of the photograph sets.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Non-replaceable timber sale licences

  • GR-3631
  • Series
  • [ca. 1968]-1997

Series consists of non-replaceable timber sale licence files. These licences provide an applicant with a one-time right to harvest timber in a specified area.

Each file documents the issuance, administration and cancellation of licences as per the Forest Act. The majority of the files in this series date from 1978-1995 although there are also some files that date back to 1968. The records are from all areas of the province.

The files consist primarily of copies of the licence, applications, maps, deletion notices, status clearance forms, correspondence and reports. The ministry assigned A numbers to the files which have been assigned sequentially. There are many gaps in the numbering since the ministry only transferred cancelled licence files to the archives.

The records were created by the Timber Management Branch and the Timber Harvesting Branch. The following ministries were responsible for forestry between 1973-1994:
1973-1975 Dept. of Lands, Forests and Water Resources
1975-1976 Dept. of Forests
1976-1986 Ministry of Forests
1986-1988 Ministry of Forests and Lands
1988-1994 Ministry of Forests

The records have been classified as 19620-25 in the Forest ORCS.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands, Forests and Water Resources

Planting reports

  • GR-3709
  • Series
  • 1962-1987

Series consists of forestry planting reports. The reports were created to document reforestation work in the province. The reports were written on standardized form and the description on the back of the form says that “the object of the form is to provide a complete and realistic report of planning project for record and cost comparison purposes.”

The forms were usually completed by the contracted party who carried out the reforestation work. The reports document the number of trees planted, where the planting took place and the cost of doing the work. For most of the years covered by this series, the forms were completed in triplicate with one copy being submitted to the Ranger Office, one to the Reforestation Officer in the District Office and one to the Reforestation Division in Victoria. The reports in this series are from the Victoria Office.

The records are arranged by the Forest District with individual folders for each year. The early records usually contain a range of years in each folder. The folders consist primarily of copies of the planting report form and a map of the area planted. Some folders also contain other documents such as planting inspection reports, daily planting progress reports, and correspondence.

Ministries responsible for the creation of this series, and the dates of the responsibility, are:

Dept. of Lands, Forests and Water Resources, 1962-1975
Dept. of Forests 1975-1976
Ministry of Forests 1976-1986
Ministry of Forests and Lands 1986-1988

Classified by the ministry as 18750-20 in the Ministry of Forests ORCS.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands, Forests and Water Resources

Public sustained yield unit general files

  • GR-3703
  • Series
  • 1955-1980

The series consists of general files relating to public sustained yield units. The files were used to calculate the long term sustainable yield in the forests. These records were created between 1955 and 1980 by the Ministry of Forests and its successors. The records were maintained by the Victoria central office in Victoria and relate to all areas of the province.

Public sustained yield units (PSYU) were used by the ministry between 1948 and 1978. They were the method by which the ministry regulated harvest rates. PSYUs were an outgrowth of the 1945 Royal Commission on the Forest Resources of British Columbia. This commission recommended that the ministry should establish forest management units to ensure the long term sustained yield of timber.

The ministry established 88 public sustained yield units in the province and these are reflected in the records of this series. In 1978, the ministry replaced the system of public sustained yield units with timber supply areas. The 88 PSYU’s were reduced to 33 timber supply areas.

Records consist primarily of reports and maps as well as correspondence among ministry staff. The records were used to calculate yield volumes and therefore contain documents used for that purpose including yield calculation reports, forest inventory summaries, mill surveys and statistics, and information about allowable cuts.

Files are arranged alphabetically. There is a file for each of the PSYUs in the province. Each file has been assigned a classification number that begins with the numbers 700-6-1. This classification number was first assigned to the records ca. 1979. Documents in each file that were created prior to 1979 have been assigned a “0” number. The “0” numbers are 7 digit numbers that are part of a filing system that was created by the Dept. of Lands which was a predecessor of Forests.

Ministries responsible for creating these records, and the dates that they were responsible, include:
British Columbia. Dept. of Lands and Forests (1955-1962)
British Columbia. Dept. of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (1962-1975)
British Columbia. Dept. of Forests (1975-1976)
British Columbia. Ministry of Forests (1976-1980)

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands and Forests

Public sustained yield unit policy files

  • GR-3700
  • Series
  • 1955-1985

The series consists of policy files relating to public sustained yield units. These records were created between 1955 and 1985 by the Ministry of Forests and its predecessors. The records were created by the ministry’s central office in Victoria and relate to all areas of the province. These files were used for planning in public sustained yield unit areas.

Public sustained yield units (PSYU) were used by the ministry between 1948 and 1978. They were the method by which the ministry regulated harvest rates. PSYUs were an outgrowth of the 1945 Royal Commission on the Forest Resources of British Columbia. This commission recommended that the ministry should establish forest management units to ensure the long term sustained yield of timber.

The ministry established 88 public sustained yield units in the province and these are reflected in the records of this series. In 1978, the ministry replaced the system of public sustained yield units with timber supply areas. The 88 PSYU’s were reduced to 33 timber supply areas.

Records contain correspondence, maps and reports. The correspondence is with ministry staff, other ministries and third parties including businesses and individuals. The majority of the documents relate to forest use but there are also records that relate to other land use information including mining, recreation, parks, and environment. The reports include computer printouts and written reports. The computer printouts contain information about forestry yield.

Files are arranged alphabetically. There is a file for each of the PSYUs in the province. Each file has also been assigned a classification number that begins with the numbers 700-6-1. This classification number was first assigned to the records ca. 1979. Documents in each file that were created prior to 1979 have been assigned a “0” number. The “0” numbers are 7 digit numbers that are part of a filing system that was created by the Dept. of Lands which was a predecessor of Forests.

Ministries responsible for creating these records, and the dates that they were responsible, include:
British Columbia. Dept. of Lands and Forests (1955-1962)
British Columbia. Dept. of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (1962-1975)
British Columbia. Dept. of Forests (1975-1976)
British Columbia. Ministry of Forests (1976-1985)

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands and Forests

Public sustained yield units management files

  • GR-3708
  • Series
  • 1952-1984

The series consists of management files relating to public sustained yield units. These files document day to day operations and were used for implementing and managing yield policies throughout the province. These records were created between 1956 and 1984 by the Ministry of Forests and its successors. The records were created by the ministry’s central office in Victoria and relate to all areas of the province.

Public sustained yield units (PSYU) were used by the ministry between 1948 and 1978. They were a method by which the ministry regulated harvest rate. PSYUs were an outgrowth of the Royal Commission on the Forest Resources of British Columbia of 1945. This commission recommended that the ministry should establish forest management units that would be managed for a long term sustained yield of timber.

The ministry established 88 public sustained yield units in the province and these are reflected in the records of this series. In 1978, the ministry replaced public sustained yield units with timber supply areas. The 88 PSYU’s were reduced into 33 timber supply areas.

Records contain correspondence, maps, and reports. The correspondence is with ministry staff, other ministries, other governments, businesses and members of the public. The correspondence includes letters about annual cutting rates including information about companies that exceed or do not meet their annual rates of harvesting. There are also requests from municipalities, members of the public and businesses for an increase in cutting quotas.

Files are arranged alphabetically. There is a file for each of the PSYUs in the province. Each file has also been assigned a classification number that begins with the numbers 700-6-1. This classification number was first assigned to the records ca. 1979. Documents in each file that were created prior to 1979 have been assigned a “0” number. The “0” numbers are 7 digit numbers that are part of a filing system that was created by the Dept. of Lands which was a predecessor of Forests.

Ministries responsible for creating these records, and the dates that they were responsible, include:
British Columbia. Dept. of Lands and Forests (1955-1962)
British Columbia. Dept. of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (1962-1975)
British Columbia. Dept. of Forests (1975-1976)
British Columbia. Ministry of Forests (1976-1984)

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands and Forests

Special timber licences

  • GR-3736
  • Series
  • 1911-1990 (primarily 1963-1982)

Series consists of special timber licences created by the Ministry of Forests and its predecessors. The ministry created these records to manage the process of providing applicants with the right to cut in forests. The records were created between 1911-1990 although the majority of the records in this series were created between 1963 and 1982. The records deal with all areas of the province and were created in accordance with the Forest Act and its sections on timber licences.

Special timber licences were first referred to in the 1888 Lands Act (SBC 1888, c. 16). The 1912 Forest Act (SBC 1912, c. 17) stated that a “special timber licence shall vest in the holder thereof all rights of property whatsoever in all trees, timber, and lumber cut within the limits of the licence during the term.” These licences remained in effect until the January 1, 1979 enactment of the new Forest Act (SBC 1978, c. 23). This 1978 act replaced special timber licences with a new form of timber licence.

The records are arranged by the timber licence number which begins with TL followed by a sequential number. The TL number was phased out in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s with the introduction of the timber licence files. Many files have the new timber licence number, which begins with “T”, written on the front of the file. There is also a sheet in the front of the file that contains information about the file that replaced it.

The files usually consist of a copy of the licence, renewal documentation, correspondence, logging inspection reports, and termination documents.

There are also two volumes of file 18043f from the Dept. of Lands and Works’ “O” files series. These files contain documentation about multiple licences. These have been placed in the last box.

Ministries that were responsible for this series include:
Dept. of Lands (1908-1945)
Dept. of Lands and Forests (1945-1962)
Dept. of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (1962-1975)
Dept. of Forests (1975-1976)
Ministry of Forests (1976-1986)
Ministry of Forests and Lands (1986-1988)
Ministry of Forests (1988-2005)

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands