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In 1945, the Dept. of Lands was renamed the Dept. of Lands and Forests (Department of Lands Act Amendment Act, SBC 1945, c. 45). At this time, the department was reorganized into two branches, the Lands Service and the Forests Service. The department's structure was based on that of the Dept. of Lands. The Dept. of Lands, headed by the Chief Commissioner of Lands, was given responsibility for public lands and water rights, and all matters connected therewith. (SBC 1908, c. 31, s. 5). These responsibilities included:
(1) the management of all public lands, as per the Land Act, (RSBC 1897, c. 113);
(2) administration of water rights, as per the Water Clauses Consolidation Act, (RSBC 1897, c. 191) and the Water Act (SBC 1909, c. 48) ; and
(3) the management of timber resources under the Forest Act (SBC 1912, c. 17).
In 1962, the Dept. of Lands and Forests was renamed the Dept. of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources (Department of Lands and Forests Act Amendment Act, SBC 1962, c. 22). At this time, the department was reorganized into three branches, the B.C. Lands Service, the B.C. Forest Service, and the B.C. Water Resources Service.
Name of creator
In 1962, the Dept. of Lands and Forests was renamed the Dept. of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources (Department of Lands and Forests Act Amendment Act, SBC 1962, c. 22). At this time, the department was reorganized into three branches: the B.C. Lands Service, the B.C. Forest Service, and the B.C. Water Resources Service.
On December 23, 1975, the Dept. of Lands, Forests and Water Resources ceased to exist. The government established two new agencies, the Dept. of Forests and the Dept. of Environment, to replace it (OIC 3838/75). All activities associated with the forestry function were transferred to the Dept. of Forests (OIC 3849/75, 3868/75). With one minor exception, the remaining functions of the Dept. of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources were transferred to the Dept. of Environment (OIC 3843/75, 3844/75, 3846/75, 3852/75). In 1976, these organizational changes were reiterated in legislation (SBC 1976, c. 18).
Name of creator
The Dept. of Forests was established in 1975 (OIC 3838/75). Prior to 1975, the responsibility for forests in the province was carried out by the Forest Branch under the Dept. of Lands and Works (1871-1908) and later under the Dept. of Lands (1908-1945). The Forest Branch was renamed the Forest Service under the Dept. of Lands and Forests (1945-1962) and retained that name under the Dept. of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources (1962-1975).
In 1975, the Dept. of Lands, Forests and Water Resources, was dissolved, and its functions were evenly distributed between the Dept. of Environment, and Dept. of Forests. As a result, the Forest Branch and all forestry functions were transferred to the newly established Dept. of Forests. It was responsible for the management of forest and range resources of the Crown and the planned use of such land in accordance with the Forest Act and Department of Forest Act. The department was also responsible for encouraging maximum productivity of those resources and encouraging a competitive timber processing industry in the province.
In 1976, the Dept. of Forests was renamed the Ministry of Forests (OIC: 3199/76), though the functions of the department remained basically the same.
Name of creator
In 1976, the Dept. of Forests was renamed the Ministry of Forests (OIC 3199/76). The Ministry of Forests was responsible for the management of forest and range resources of the Crown and the planned use of such land in accordance with the Forest Act and Department of Forest Act. The department was also responsible for encouraging maximum productivity of those resources and encouraging a competitive timber processing industry in the province.
The functions of the Ministry of Forest remained basically the same for the next ten years. Up until this 1976, the Forest Service remained a distinct service within the Ministry, and was led by the Chief Forester/Chief Executive Officer. The executive of the Forest Service was composed of the Chief Forester/CEO, Assistant Chief Forester (Operations), Assistant Chief Forester (Resource Management), Director of Services and Director Range Branch.
In 1977, the divisions included: Reforestation, Forest Service Training School, Inventory, Resource Planning, Special Studies, Engineering, Information, Comptroller, Protection, Administration, Valuation, Personnel and Research. The forest districts were: Vancouver, Kamloops, Prince George, Nelson, Prince Rupert and Cariboo.
The passage of the Forest Act, the Range Act and the Ministry of Forests Act in 1978 completed a transformation of the BC Forest Service into the Ministry of Forests. The reorganization that followed replaced forest districts with forest regions, however, the boundaries and the names remained the same. Central services were provided to the forest regions by the headquarters in Victoria. Four divisions included Finance and Administration; Operations; Timber, Range and Recreation; and Forestry. An assistant deputy minister headed each Division and reported to the Deputy Minister. Under each of these divisions were a series of branches, each headed by a director. The Operations Division was responsible for all of the forest regions. Two exceptions were the Information Systems Branch and the Strategic Studies Branch, whose directors reported directly to the Deputy Minister. The goal of this reorganization was to decentralize decision-making and centralize support services.
In 1986, as a result of government reorganization, functions relating to Crown lands, taken from the Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing, were merged with all forestry functions. As a result, the Ministry of Forests was given the new name Ministry of Forests and Lands (OIC 1491/86).
Scope and content
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)
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GR-3700, public sustained yield unit policy files, 1955-1985.
GR-3703, public sustained yield unit general files, 1955-1980.