Mission’s forestry department launches new book on history of its trailblazing tree farm

Book celebrates 60 years of managing municipal forest

The book launch coincides with an event on Friday, Sept. 24, at Steelhead Hall in partnership with the Mission Folk Music Festival.

The book launch coincides with an event on Friday, Sept. 24, at Steelhead Hall in partnership with the Mission Folk Music Festival.

A new book is being launched by the City of Mission’s forestry department, celebrating the 60-year success story of managing its local forests.

“The Tree Farm – The Evolution of Canada’s First Ever Community Forest” details the history of Tree Farm Licence #26, how the city has managed the 10,000-hectare diverse ecosystem, and the importance of the area to local First Nations, the province and Mission citizens.

Author Michelle Rhodes said Mission’s political and business leaders had the foresight to push for local control of their forests, decades before other municipalities realized the benefits for environmental sustainability, recreational values, forest fire risk management, and economic gain.

“This project was such a great one to take on, because the story of the Mission tree farm is remarkable in B.C. and Canadian history,” Rhodes said. “Forestry was B.C.’s biggest industry for more than a century and was dominated by large corporate interests.”

The book launch coincides with an event on Friday, Sept. 24, at Steelhead Hall in partnership with the Mission Folk Music Festival.

The festival has a new event series called “Folks and Words,” which partners musicians with authors in performance spaces.

The evening will feature book readings from Rhodes and music from third-generation logger John Gogo. It is free to attend, but advanced registration is required via Eventbrite.

Further details are available at TourismMission.ca. Proof of vaccination is required.

Chris Gruenwald, Mission’s director of forestry, thanks Rhodes for her work, former director Bob O’Neal for his effort to get the project started, as well as the Kwantlen, Leq’a:mel, and Matsqui Nations for their meaningful contributions.

“We are pleased to share this book with our community,” Gruenwald said. “It not only tells the story of Mission as a trailblazer in terms of community forestry in Canada, but it also details the cultural and spiritual importance of the area to local First Nation Communities.”

The book retails for $35.99 and will be available for purchase at Friday’s event and the Mission Visitor Centre, City Hall, via Amazon.ca and chapters.indigo.ca

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