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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

Tweedsmuir Park photographs

  • GR-3281
  • Series
  • 1937, 1955

Series consists of photographs acquired by the Dept. of Lands regarding Tweedsmuir Park and the 1937 visit of John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir and Governor General of Canada to the area. The photographs were probably collected in order to produce the souvenir brochure “Tweedsmuir Park, British Columbia, Canada” which was published by the Dept. of Lands in 1938 to commemorate the 1937 visit. The series also includes four negatives of Osoyoos and lake from Anarchist Mountain taken in 1955.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Alphabetical indexes

  • GR-1410
  • Series
  • 1902-1951

The series consist of two index volume created by the Dept. of Lands between 1902 and 1952. The first volume (1902-1930) has the following title: alphabetical index of leases (except coal leases and petroleum & natural gas leases) issued under Dominion [rest of title missing].
The second volume (1932-1951) has the following title: alphabetical index [notices?] of occupation, Dominion and Provincial.
Both volumes are arranged alphabetically and have fields for date, name, file number, term, purpose and box (volume 1) or location (volume 2).

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Correspondence

  • GR-1003
  • Series
  • 1917-1918

This series contains correspondence containing mainly requests for information and maps. From file 27900 (1912 Series).

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Auction sale records

  • GR-1043
  • Series
  • 1914

Series contains two booklets relating to a Government Auction Sale of property at Prince George, Fort George, and South Fort George to be held at Vancouver, Dominion Hall, May 19, 20, and 21, 1914, Victoria, Connaught Hall, May 26 and 27, 1914, and Prince George, June 9, 10, and 11, 1914. Lists of lots with handwritten notes of purchaser and price.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Correspondence relating to cancellation of pre-emption applications

  • GR-1050
  • Series
  • 1919-1920

Correspondence relating to cancellation of pre-emption applications. Includes file 1, cancellation of H. Kroeger's application at Fort Fraser, file 2, pre-emption cancellation in Kootenay District; file 3, pre-emptions on timber licences in Similkameen District.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Similkameen District land records

  • GR-1067
  • Series
  • 1900-1912

This series contains records relating to pre-emptions, subdivisions, Crown Grants, and town sites in Similkameen District. Consists of five registers, including Register of Town Lots, Tulameen, B.C.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Sales book

  • GR-1082
  • Series
  • 1904-1954

Series contains a sales book, lands in Kootenay District. Arranged by lot number. Includes owner, acreage, improvements, and assessed values in 1911-1912.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Records relating to the Vancouver Island Settlers' Rights Acts, 1903 and 1904

  • GR-1090
  • Series
  • 1882-1918

Contains land records file relating to the Vancouver Island Settlers' Rights Acts, 1903 and 1904. Includes correspondence, memoranda, reports, legal briefs and sketches pertaining to land disputes between settlers and the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Company. File 145321/12, 1912 Series.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Report

  • GR-1125
  • Series
  • 1910

Report on forest fire fighting in the Province of British Columbia, in 1910 season. Submitted by W.C. Gladwin, Chief Provincial Fire Warden to the Honourable W.R. Ross, Chief Commissioner of Lands.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Record book of land examinations and miscellaneous applications

  • GR-1128
  • Series
  • 1919-1925

This series contains a record book of land examinations and miscellaneous applications, Cariboo district. Includes pre-emption cancellations (1922-1924), pre-emption examinations and inspections (1922-1925), record of application for certificates of improvement (1921-1924), applications to lease pending examination (1919-1924), applications to purchase pending examination (1919-1924), and lease cancellations (1922).

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Registers relating to Crown Grants

  • GR-1129
  • Series
  • 1900-1924

This series includes registers relating to Crown Grants, Similkameen Division and Osoyoos Division, Yale District (2 vols.) Volume 1 is a register of Crown Grant applications forwarded to Victoria and includes date and disposition of application, name and address of applicant, legal description of land, Crown Grant number. Volume 2 is a register of Crown Grants and includes date of notice, number of grant, legal description of land, payment schedule, disposition and Grown Grant number. The registers are arranged chronologically.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

List of lands resumed by the Crown under B.C. Soldiers' Homestead Act, 1916

  • GR-1133
  • Series
  • 1916-1919

This series contains a list of lands resumed by the Crown under B.C. Soldiers' Homestead Act, 1916. Includes legal description and file references. Also contains an undated letter of John William McIntosh, Member of the Legislative Assembly, to the Deputy Minister of Lands regarding moneys owed on land by a wounded veteran.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Records relating to the University Endowment Lands

  • GR-1161
  • Series
  • 1925-1953

This series contains the Lands Service records relating to the University Endowment Lands [UEL] adjacent to the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. They contain ledgers of lot sales which show purchase payment, improvement tax schedules, and interest charges. Boxes have nominal indexes. Box 5 is oversized. For related records, see GR-1068.

British Columbia. Lands Service

Mining licences

  • GR-1176
  • Series
  • 1912-1915

This series consists of mining licences for the purposes of prospecting for coal and petroleum pursuant to the Coal and Petroleum Act, 1911 and amendments. These licences were for the Queen Charlotte District (file 1) and Cassiar District (file 2). Prior 1911, the Act was known as the Coal Mines Act.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Railway Belt land leases

  • GR-1384
  • Series
  • 1911-1946

This series contains copies of canceled and abandoned Railway Belt land leases issued by Canada, Dept. of Interior and canceled or reassigned by B.C. Dept. of Lands. Records include (1) leases of Westminster Power Cc., Twp. 6 and 7, Range 6 and 7, W.7.M., 1930-1931. (2) lease of A.H. Peppar, reassigned to C.H. McDonald, Sect. 29, Twp. 39, W.C.M., 1930-1932. (3) leases of Brittingham and Young reassigned to Indian River Pulp and Power Company, 1911-1946.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands and Forests

Records relating to Whalen Pulp and Paper Mills Ltd.

  • GR-1397
  • Series
  • 1916-1917, 1926

This series contains records relating to Whalen Pulp and Paper Mills Ltd. Records include copies of leases and legal documents filed against the company's licences and leases, including wood pulp, booming ground, and quarry leases. Filed with the Minister of Lands.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Record book of resumed lands under the Soldiers' Homestead Act, 1916

  • GR-1399
  • Series
  • 1916-1921

This series contains a record book of resumed lands under the Soldiers' Homestead Act, 1916. The information is arranged by Land District. The records list pre-emptions and land purchase applications canceled or resumed by the Crown during the Great War (1914-1918). The reverted lands were to be used for returned soldiers' homesteads.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Correspondence

  • GR-1400
  • Series
  • 1910-1911

This series contains correspondence files of the Forest Protection Branch. The records consist of letters inward and outward of the Minister of Lands, the Deputy Minister of Lands, and the Forest Fire Commissioner, Martin Allerdale Grainger. It includes letters from the Supervisor of Fire Wardens.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Records relating to the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Belt and the Canadian Pacific Railway terminus at Burrard Inlet

  • GR-1404
  • Series
  • 1860-1912

This series contains records relating to the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Belt and the Canadian Pacific Railway terminus at Burrard Inlet. The records consist of correspondence, memoranda and other records from the Lands Department. Central files are extracted and filed separately (see f.1 for a list of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo files). These includes correspondence and plans of government reserves at Burrard Inlet and indenture of grant to British Columbia and Vancouver Island Spar Lumber and Sawmill Co., 1860-1866; these materials were filed separately as they pertained to lands comprising the Canadian Pacific Railway terminus at Coal Harbour.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Records of crown grant applications

  • GR-1405
  • Series
  • ca. 1904-1928

This series contains lists of Vancouver Island settlers who made Crown grant applications under provisions of the Vancouver Island Settlers' Rights Act, 1904, and subsequent amendments. Information includes name, acreage, and legal description of lands.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Registers of auction land sales held at Vancouver

  • GR-1406
  • Series
  • 1901-1908

This series contains registers of auction land sales held at Vancouver. Volume 1 contains information from an auction sale that took place November 20-23, 1901. Volume 2 contains information from an auction sale that took place September 29, 1908. The registers include information such as lot number, name of purchaser and sale prices.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Records relating to auction sales of Prince Rupert land

  • GR-1407
  • Series
  • 1909-1912

This series contains records relating to auction sales of Prince Rupert lands in 8 volumes. The records consist of a register of auction sale of Prince Rupert lots sold on May 25, 1909 and the following days at Vancouver and Victoria, as well as a register of auction sale of Prince Rupert lots sold on August 28 and 29, 1912 held at Vancouver. The records include receipt certificates for the May 25, 1909 sale (6 volumes). Volume 1 and Volume 8 are oversize.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Crown land records

  • GR-1408
  • Series
  • 1901-1952

This series contains certificates granted with the object of facilitating registration of title to a portion of Crown lands granted to the Nelson and Fort Sheppard Railway Company and the Kaslo and Slocan Railway Company (2 vols.), 1901-1904. It includes notices from the Deputy Minister of Lands certifying grants, 1920, 1937, 1941, and 1952.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Certificates of purchase

  • GR-1521
  • Series
  • 1859-1944

This series contains acknowledgements of moneys received by the Lands Department pursuant to the pre-emption or sale of crown land. These certificates of purchase include district, legal description of land, acreage, date and terms of payment, name of payer, pre-emption record number, certificate of improvement number, crown grant number and departmental file numbers. The certificates are divided into four series.

SERIES 1. CERTIFICATES OF PURCHASE BY LAND DISTRICT, 1859-1913. Volumes have alphabetical indexes.
SERIES 2. CERTIFICATES OF PURCHASE, 1874-1890. TOWN LOTS AND MISCELLANEOUS DISTRICT CERTIFICATES. Volumes have alphabetical indexes.
SERIES 3. CERTIFICATES OF PURCHASE, SERIES 4. CERTIFICATES OF PURCHASE, 1907-1944. Vancouver Island certificate books.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

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