Wally Knott on saw and his partner Red Meyers at Meades Creek Oct. 1945 by W.H.Gold PhotoMOFM Logo
Cowichan Lake Research Station (CLRS)

The BC Forest Service established the Cowichan Lake Experimental Station at Mesachie Lake in 1929, it has become world renown for its work in forest genetics and tree physiology. The site was chosen for its close proximity to Bald Mountain lookout tower and an available acreage of 20 year old Douglas fir. In 1931, one of its first projects was Douglas Fir thinning plots. In 1935, the "Young Men' s Forestry Training Program " was created as a work creation program to ease some of the unemployment generated due to the Depression. The program hired sixty young men who built roads and trails, a cookhouse, bunk houses and a station residence, including a telephone service and a water system. The men were paid $1.00 a day for their work, and there was organized recreation as well as job training activities. Since road access did not exist, the station maintained a couple of clinker built boats equipped with outboard motors. In 1936, a road was constructed linking the Research Station to the public road.

In 1939, the personnel at CLES (now CLRS) included 21 men in the Forest Development Project, 34 in the National Forestry Program and 15 in the Youth Forestry Training Program.

In 1941, the Station became a camp for reforestation and federal researchers. A work camp was also established to house conscientious objectors to war. These people developed a reputation for careful tree planting, and also as fire look-outs for Japanese incendiary bomb devices.

In 1945, the Dominion of Canada established a field laboratory for insect and disease research and eight years later the first forest genetic experiments were begun by Dr. Alan Ewing with Douglas fir plantations.

The Station served as a centre where studies were conducted during the summer months. This research was to learn how best to manage forests for future use. The studies involved growth and yield, thinning, stem pruning and direct seeding. The experimental forest was used for this, and study plots were established in Douglas fir and alder stands. A number of studies were also done in soil mapping, site-type classification, and cone and seed production. All workers, from the foresters to the labourers, stayed in the camp and used it as a base of operations for their work. They continued until the mid sixties when the Ministry's planting program in the area was completed.

In 1963, the nursery was established to produce stock for provenance tests and tree breeding programs.

In 1979, the CLES saw expansion with up to 25,000 grafts and 350,000 rooted cuttings being grown annually. The camp and cookhouse operate on a full time basis and housed training courses, Ministry work crews and visiting groups.

In 1983, the CLES was designated as a Forest Service Heritage Building.


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Cowichan Lake Research Station Cowichan Lake Research Station First Greenhouse constructed by Trevor Green 1941 Conscientious Objectors Hard at Work Bruce Devitt 1957 Robertson River Valley Relief program worker applying roof shakes in 1935 ITM tug bringing load of lumber from Youbou sawmill for camp construction in 1935
Air View 1 Air View 2 Greenhouse Alternate Services Hard at Work Bruce Devitt Under Construction ITM Tug
Cookhouse Road Construction Boat House Bungalow Young Mens Forestry Training Program Forester S.R.Schenstrom, B.G.Griffith, E.H. Finlayson, J.D.Curtis 1931 1947 meeting of the Canadian Institute of Forestry
Cookhouse Road Construction Boat House Cabin YMFTP Forester Researchers Forestry Engineers
Truck Logging WardroForest Branch launch Chestnut, the first of three ranger boats YMFTP at the CLES 1935 Cook House Dining Hall Cook House constructed in 1935 at a total cost of $627.46 Demolished in 1953 and replaced by modern facility Cowichan Lake Research Station Cowichan Lake Research Centre Clone Banks
"Chestnut" YMFTP CookHouse Dining Hall Cook House Aerial View Early Arial Camp
Main Entrance MARS Water Bomber Wally Hughes operating a clinker-built boat in 1935 ferrying crews and supplies across the lake, prior to the connection of the station road with public road system 1 Ralph Schmidt Trevor Green Bunkhouses Conference Centre Info
Main Entrance Water Bomber Wally Hughes Conference Centre Ralph Schmidt Trevor Green Bunkhouses Conference Centre
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