British Columbia is known for its natural beauty: mountains, ocean, forests and wildlife. In fact, the province’s official slogan is Super, Natural British Columbia. BC is home to some of the largest, oldest and most impressive trees in the world, and some of them are found right inside the old growth sections of the UBC Malcolm Knapp Research Forest.
Located in the foothills of the Coast Mountains about 60 km east of Vancouver, the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest was established by a Crown Grant to the University of British Columbia in 1949. Its mission is to provide opportunities for research, demonstration, and education in forestry and conservation sciences.
The Knapp Forest is a unique “working forest” that contains stands ranging from new plantations to old growth and is accessed by a network of over 180 kilometers of forest roads, bridges and trails. It also home to a working sawmill and a retreat centre.
Next week, the forest will host DEMO International®, a world class, one-of-a-kind event for the forest industry and the flagship event of the Canadian Woodlands Forum. Since this major event happens only every four years (and in a different location each time), it’s a big deal. It features the latest technologies in equipment, products and services covering all aspects of woodlands operations. An estimated 10,000 visitors will be in attendance, including international delegates from more than 10 countries, putting the forest front and centre on the world stage.
“We decided to partner with DEMO International® for several reasons,” said Paul Lawson, Director, UBC Research Forests. “First and foremost, the partnership fit with our mandate. It’s an opportunity to showcase what we are and what we do to a broader audience – and to the world. It’s an opportunity for us to be relevant to the forestry sector; since much of our work is inwardly focused, it’s nice to be able to do a bigger outreach event.”
The Malcolm Knapp Research Forest is dedicated to facilitating learning about forests and nature. “Pretty much everything we do here is either putting together situations where people can learn or paying the bills for doing that,” added Lawson. The forest welcomes some 30,000 visitors each year. There are also about 20,000 stays at the Loon Lake Lodge and Retreat Centre, located in the heart of the Research Forest and providing environmental education and outdoor recreation opportunities. Education is truly the main mandate of the forest – both for the general public, and for a range of students. Each year the forest hires interns; some are students from UBC, others are students from around the province and elsewhere in Canada, and some come from forestry related programs throughout the world – most recently from Australia, Finland and Germany.