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Thread: Forest Fam Tour? An Idea? A poll?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Golden BC Canada
    Posts
    64

    Question Forest Fam Tour? An Idea? A poll?

    Golden Greetings Trial Balloon
    I have a wild idea, and it needs to develop form, function and fun.
    As one of your newer members with limited woodworking skills, I have other assets and abilities to offer. We operate a sustainable 1500 acre forest near Golden BC in the Canadian Rockies, have a portable woodmizer milling operation, and a 10 room B&B lodge near the woodlot. I want to offer forest familiarization tours of the woodlot as an option for guests.

    As there are many experienced wood craftsmen in this forum, and having a great respect and passion about wood and what you can do with it. So my question is, if you wanted to go on a fam tour of a sustainable forest, what would you like to see and enjoy learning about the forest, trees, forest practises, milling practises and products that come from the forest. I have been on many tours, but often they are too technical and boring for most.

    Nothing has been developed so far other than an idea, and I hope it catches fire(there maybe many other forest owners in your area that might want to do the same thing). I don't expect that you will come to our area, but you may have ideas and an interest in sharing them.


    The forum has a poll, what questions could be asked in the Family Woodworking forum poll?

    There will be many questions that you may have about our forest and specialty wood products. I will try to answer them to the best of my ability or refer them to my partner Randy who owns a small forest engg company. Our forests are mostly evergreens(softwoods) and we freeze under a great blanket of snow in winter.

    My website has maps and activities, if interested goto www.alpinemeadowslodge.com. Thanking you in advance for your kind assistance and contributions.
    Have Great Day
    Irv Graham

    PS These are images from a BC Woodlot AGM in Port Alberni BC
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails mclean2.jpg   train6.jpg   mars4.jpg  

  2. #2
    I doubt you would ever get a woodlot tour as a draw for your lodge. I think with so many organizations today having "forest demonstrations" or "walks through the woods", you really don't have to go far to see good sustainable forestry or new ways of gleaning forest products from the forest. These organizations include, the local colleges, the local industries, and the ever growing homestead organizations. They also typically have multiple demonstrations, such as horse-logging, tractor logging, and mechanical harvesting, so people can see a wide variety of harvesting methods, not just your method.

    At the same time, as beautiful as the Canadian Rockies are (I have been there numerous times), there is far more interest in seeing such stuff where you live. That is, I would care very little about how, why and where Douglas Fir grows since it is not a wood I use, or even have near me. I would be much more interested in the wood species, how they are harvested, why they are harvested and what they are used for in my local area.

    That being said, you do have a big woodlot and since its there, for the people that are drawn to your lodge for other reasons, you could easily set up a self-guided tour. Me and the ex-wife were in the Great North Woods and stumbled upon a self-guided logging demonstration up there. The local paper company placed signs and kiosks I guess you would call them. They had trails through the woods, and every few acres they harvested in a different manner, (clear cut, shelter wood, thinning, pre-commercial thinning, etc) so people could read about what they were seeing, why they did it,and what the benefits were. That was kind of cool, but I was a logger and interested in that stuff. You could do something very similar and then would not have to be there on every tour and get bored of saying the same thing to a new group of people.

    Another idea you could do, is do a once or twice a year forestry weekend where you bring in other methods of logging like horse logging, cable skidding, mechanical harvesting and tractor logging. Even if you don't have the stuff, you probably know people in the industry that do use that sort of thing. It might be worth setting something up. As is, big machinery brings in people. maybe you have a friend with a 635 TigerCat that can just park his machine at the lodge for the weekend. People like to look at big iron.

    While you are having this weekend event, throw in a few Stihl Timber Sports type events like the two man cross cut saw competition, or the ax throwing thing. A place by me puts on an exhibition like that every weekend during the summer for tourists. It has enough draw to keep the place open during the weekend for tourist season.

    My only other thought is to work the history angle of logging. Many people like history and will drive a ways to see historical logging stuff. Myself, I have driven up to Lenard's Woods, a place that is rebuilt as an old 1790's logging mill and that is kind of cool. They do a twice a year weekend thing to keep the place running and do okay,though its more of a living history museum then anything else.

    Those are a few thoughts I have. Maybe it helps, but as a woodworker/logger in a similar situation as you (large woodlot owner) I gotta say, most people today really don't care about logging and what we have to do to get wood out of the woods.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Golden BC Canada
    Posts
    64

    Golden Trails

    Hey Travis I knew you would reply, you have a fine example of forestry heritage, knowledge, trails and public access. One of the forestry challenges in BC, is that many small community mills have shutdown indefinitely, and almost 10,000 people affected.

    I'm happy to just let our forest grow, however it costs us when don't meet the cut allowance. So since we have low value or no markets for some our logs, we have to become more innovative in finding value added or alternative uses of our forest values. Attached is the google earth image showing more than 20 miles of trails that I rehabilitated 11 years ago at the lodge and to/through the woodlot(Moonraker Trails hiking, mtn biking now managed by Golden Cycle Club).

    The second initiative is to learn through the timber frame guild, I'm designing, milling, cutting and building a replica of a small timberframe shed,

    "the 12x16 foot garden tool shed featured in this book was was designed and built for the Hancock Shaker Village, a museum of old Shaker buildings in Hancock, Massachusetts."

    and other woodworking projects. (see sketchup model). I just love what can be done with wood but for most there is often a disconnect between the forest and the fine wood craftsmenship that most in this forum appreciate. Are there ways to bridge this gap in a fun and outdoor learning experience?

    Yes there are many demo forests and large operators that provide tours and experiences which I definitely can't and will not repeat. I will be contacting and making our logs and milled products available to local wood craftspersons that can showcase what can come out of the forest. Though this often a very small and often tough market to work with.
    Comments Welcome
    Irv Graham
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Golden Trails.jpg   tfshed6.jpg  

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Fort Washington, PA
    Posts
    180
    Quote Originally Posted by Irv Graham View Post
    ...Are there ways to bridge this gap in a fun and outdoor learning experience?...
    I like your idea. You hit the nail on the head though in your previous post when you wondered out loud about being too technical. I happen to love wood, and the trees and forests it comes from so much I went to college and earned a forestry degree years ago. Si I'm way biased. I'm one of those that would love all the technical you could throw at me on a tour such as that through your woods. As one who mills my own wood to feed my woodshop, I would love to see a setup like that. However... I know enough to know I am not the norm there. The average family outing or whatever your target group is might be interested in a few aspects of your forest if you managed to make it interesting enough for an hour walk or such, but that would be a challenge. Depending on how you set it up and "produced" it, some woodworkers might be interested in the milling aspect. If I had more details I could give you a better opinion.
    Build it Break it Fix it ...repeat

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Golden BC Canada
    Posts
    64

    Golden Trails

    Dave thanks for bridging the gap comments. Admiring the character, quality and beauty of wood is always in the "eye of the beholder". Whereas big mill foresters look for species, size, and consistency, some wood craftsmen are looking for that unusual character, twist, bend, burls, conk, fire cased, standing dead, in addition to quartersawn, clear and stable wood.

    When I see a slab table top, the tree history and its life's journey can be read in the grain, texture, variation of sapwood and heartwood color, its good and bad years etc. Working with wood from its forest origin to that well crafted chair or home is rewarding.

    Here is one of our forest residents.
    Take Care
    Irv Graham
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails beartan-5.jpg  
    Last edited by Irv Graham; 03-07-2008 at 12:52 AM. Reason: Image

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,014
    Irv, I have no advice to offer, but after looking at the Google Earth image of your place, I just wanted to say how sorry I feel for you, having to live in that bleak, un-scenic wasteland.

    Seriously, that looks like a wonderful place to call home. I'm jealous.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Golden BC Canada
    Posts
    64

    Golden Trails

    Yes Vaughn, thanks, I think. We do live in a natural paradise. But it comes at a cost. When I built my first home here, we lived without phone and hydro power for three years. With two youngsters at the time it was sure an eye opener for previous city dwellers. We finally got power when I built the lodge. Now that the kids have grown up and moved to the city, my wife thinks that paradise is in a big city and moving 500 miles to be near the kids. Gee I wanna see the 34,000 trees we planted five years ago, after a big blowdown, mature a little more.
    Cheers

  8. #8
    Irv...living out in the country is indeed tough business. Most people on here would not relate to driving 40 miles to the nearest BORG, or driving 15 miles to get to a store...any store. Then of course they would never understand the signals other drivers give you. While in the city most are one finger gestures of a particularly nasty meaning, for us one finger means one more, two means two more, and three means you are not going anywhere fast because the road is too narrow and three more logging trucks are right behind the guy that just held up three fingers telling you you better wait until they come down the hill!!

    I would not trade it for anything, but you have to remember this is indeed all I know. Sometimes I forget that both the ex-wife, and the new wife, did not come from here and don't have the connection with this place that I do. The ex-wife wanted out and in a big way. When she got the chance, she left and has loved city life ever since.

    I knew my current wife was a keeper when she spent all of one weekend just being content at home. Even now she enjoys this place. We have a summer home down on the coast and its right beside THE road that goes in and out of the Saint George Peninsula. Man is that house loud compared to Thorndike.

    Still large land ownership has its problems. A lot of responsibilities, regulations, taxes and other issues that not only effect you, but many others, and potentially for many generations to come. Nothing is done lightly. Sometimes that can be hard for a woman who just wants to take the easy way out and sit in a nice house on 1.6 acres in the suburb and never lose power, scare away a bear or stitch up a husband who cut himself with a chainsaw and just raise some little ones.

    With that being said, I think you may be onto something with the timber frame idea. I know a guy on the Forestry Forum near me was looking for some Hemlock and Pine for long timber frame timbers. I am still not sure if that is going to pan out for me or not. It would be awesome to see some of my really nice hemlocks go into a house instead of just industrial lumber, but the guy is not a certified scaler and he was not sure how to grade long logs accurately. He also wanted whole truckloads of the stuff and of course wants them NOW. With the amount of snow we got, that just isn't going to happen. Still that may be something you can angle in on. Either providing timber frame beams precut, or getting into the timber frame business yourself.

    I would love to tell you people would be thrilled to go visit your lodge, see the sights and take in everything there is to learn about forestry and sustainable logging, but my experience is not too rosy. Other then a few interested people who know the true joy of opening up a log and seeing what mother nature gave you, most woodworkers are just looking to get that 1500 board feet of "knot free,clear White Ash for 50 cents a board foot" gloat.

    Myself, I have always said the guys that carry the chainsaws are the true environmentalists. We care because we know and we sow. I have not planted 34,000 trees like you, but I have planted several thousand. Its not quite the same as watching Alyson grow up, but its pretty close. I keep my eye on them all, and I can only wish that like Alyson, each one will grow up to be something very productive. It sounds odd, unless you have stepped on each side of the seedling while planting it and whispered "Good luck and grow tall."

    Irv, I wish you the best of luck and I mean every word that I say. I only have 402 acres, but that's all I can handle sometimes.
    Last edited by Travis Johnson; 03-07-2008 at 09:15 PM.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Golden BC Canada
    Posts
    64

    Golden Trails

    Hey Travis
    I still got a few tricks to learn from you. My woodlot is different, we have got 80 acres of private land dedicated to the woodlot(with partner) and in 1997 we applied for and won the competition to operate(not own) the woodlot on crown(public) lands(1500 acres). BC Woodlots operate with a strong compliance to forest stewardship standards, regulations and obligations. Over the years we have had publications and paperwork stacked higher than I am tall.(and seem to be updated or replaced every other year).

    For instance sustainable means if it takes a average tree 100 years to grow and mature, and the woodlot is fully stocked, then your allowable cut is 1%(1/100) of the inventory per year. There are rigorous obligations to evaluate, map & maintain forest values, wildlife values & habitats, soil stratums, etc etc. Silviculture obligations ie planting are established with criteria to meet growth and forest standards for twelve to fifteen years free to grow period. Rental fees, stumpage costs and logging taxes go to the province plus federal tax obligations. There are 800 small woodlot tenures in BC.(mostly mom & pop operations)

    This is enough for now, the story wood continues.
    Cheers
    alpmeadow

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Southeast Pa
    Posts
    2,019
    Irv

    I am enough of a geek that I would love the idea. However the cost of getting there might be an issue for me. Heck here in Pa. we have PCN (PA cable network) and they visit and make videos of many business and manafacturing operations around the state. Its my favorite channel when its airing that kind of stuff.

    Every thing from sheet rock construction to a one man Autoharp operation and everything in between.

    As far a living far from town I don't consider it a big deal but my bride of 39 years is now spoiled to running to the store at the drop of a hat.

    Good luck what ever endevor you try.

    Garry

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