On October 5th, 2019, woodlot licensees Mark and Pauline Adamson of Smithers received the Minister’s Award for Innovation and Excellence in Woodlot Management. Starting in 2010, the Federation of BC Woodlot Associations has annually given out three awards for woodlot management based on district: an award for the northern district, an award for the southern district, and an award for the coastal district.
“Our family won the northern award, and then, of the three winners, they pick a provincial winner as well, so we were fortunate enough to win the provincial award,” said Mark Adamson, who runs Mountain View Silviculture Ltd.
“Over the years, they have shown significant commitment to reforestation and forest health, leadership in protecting caribou habitat, dedication to the local community and have educated local youth on the importance of personal responsibility in taking care of our forests,” said Doug Donaldson, provincial Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
The Adamsons became involved in the provincial woodlot program in 1998. They and other licence holders are granted exclusive Crown timber management rights within their area-based tenures in exchange for managing any private land contributions via the standards set by provincial forestry legislation.
“The Woodlot program really is a good program. It is small-scale management of our forests and it is way more hands-on intensive management,” said Mark Adamson. “We spend more time at our woodlot compared to what a bigger company would do — they are more on a landscape level. We are very hands-on on our woodlot because we have certain piece of land that we manage and are responsible for. So we have to do what the big companies do, in terms of planning, logging, reforesting, etcetera, it is just all smaller scale though.”
Aside from timber, Mountain View Silviculture woodlots provide firewood to the communities of Smithers and Telkwa. If you pick up your Christmas tree from the Smithers Safeway this year, you will be buying a tree grown on an Adamson woodlot. As a hobby, Mark Adamson crafts benches and pedestals from scrap timber and tree-stumps from his woodlots.
“I make benches, log-stumps — we call them pedestals — and little candleholders and stuff like that,” said Adamson. “We were selling them down on Granville street for a few years before that store shut down. I don’t like wasting wood so when I see that I like to make something neat when I have time.”
The Adamsons have also arranged tree-planting days at their woodlot for schoolchildren and youth-groups. The Adamsons believe this teaches them valuable life skills and a healthy respect for the land.
“For quite a few years we took elementary school kids out and did a tree-planting day,” Adamson said. “We had them plant oh-so many trees and had a campfire with weenie-roast. Most of them haven’t done too much out in the forest, you know. We teach about forestry and fire safety. How to start a fire how to put a fire out. We just thought it was a good thing to do with the kids. Some of them still come up to me and tell me that they had been out there planting a tree.”
“Their commitment to managing their woodlot operations for the next generation and educating local youth makes them well-deserving of this minister’s award,” said Jeff Beale, president of the Federation of British Columbia Woodlot Associations.
“It’s very rewarding seeing the fruits of our labour,” said Adamson. “When you look at how great these trees are doing and knowing what we put into the land. I guess if I could have any message for people it is to have a land ethic and take pride in our forests and what we do in British Columbia. I am a firm believer that if you take from the land you should put back into it and you should leave it better than it was done before. That’s one thing Pauline, I and our family try to do is when we are working on the woodlot or our private land is try to make it a better place and put more into it than we take from it.
“There is a satisfaction that comes from watching the forest grow, knowing that you are making a difference,” said Pauline Adamson. “We have a lot of pride in what we’ve accomplished over the years. Hopefully we have passed on a lot of good things to our kids.”
This year, the winners of the coastal woodlot management award were Howie, Shari, and Kevi Greissel (of Kevco Timber Ltd) and the winners of the southern award were Ross Gardner Freer and family (of Son Ranch Timber Company).