Coffee and Conversation discusses forestry train and more

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald John Daisley speaks to the crowd during the Coffee and Conversation on Sunday at the Prince Albert Historical Museum on Sunday.

Forestry has always been an important part of the history of Prince Albert and the area.

The Prince Albert Historical Museum hosted a Coffee and Conversation on Sunday that discussed this topic as well as a forest conservation program.

The guest for the afternoon was John Daisley, who is the president of the Forest History Society of Saskatchewan. The organization is composed of people who have an interest in what has happened in the forest for the past century.

On Saturday, Daisley spoke about the education program run by the Canadian Forestry Association between 1920 and 1973.

“It’s a program that utilized a rail car donated by CN and by CP as an educational tool in southern Saskatchewan, primarily used to promote shelter belts and conservation … and in northern Saskatchewan, along the fringe of the forest promoting fire awareness and conservation of the of the of the forest and the water resources,” Daisley said.

Daisley outlined the activities of the organization before beginning his discussion of the train. Daisley highlighted the visits to Prince Albert and surrounding communities and schools including Paddockwood and others. The information he collected came from reports by the Canadian Forestry Association.

He is a retired forester but has worked in the industry his entire life.

Every spring the organization produces a magazine called “Echoes in the Forest-Saskatchewan Forestry Tales”.

“Some of the things that we’ve talked about in our magazine are things like the river drive on the Little Red River and the first sawmill in Prince Albert in the 1890’s. We’ve also done articles on the Big River area and the and the history of the sawmills there,” he explained.

The magazine has also highlighted sternwheeler boats that shipped wood on the North Saskatchewan River.

“The use of sternwheelers driven by steam on the North Saskatchewan River and various things like that,” Daisley said. “We’re interested in old photos and in stories. Some people have been able to give us photos of the DNR patrol cabins that used to be across the province. We’ve looked at the history of some of the fire towers, some of them started as very crude affairs and most recently now they’re computerized camera affairs.”

Daisley agreed to give a talk at the suggestion of another museum member, who is also a member of the Forest History Society.

“He made this suggestion and (I am) pleased to be able to show up here,” Daisley said.

The Forest History Society also conducts meetings, which are similar to what was done at the Coffee and Conversation. Meetings are planned for Nipawin, Hudson Bay, Prince Albert, Big River and Meadow Lake for 2024

The Coffee and Conversation had another excellent crowd as they have in recent months and Daisley said that was nice to see.

Daisley was born and raised in Prince Albert and currently lives in Hudson Bay and has a hobby sawmill.

“I worked here for Saskatchewan Forest Products and I moved down to Hudson Bay to work for MacMillan Bloedel and then for Weyerhaeuser and then eventually retired,” he said.

Samples of the Society’s magazine and the papers where he got the information for the presentation were also available to be seen at the Museum.

“The magazines are available for folks that are interested and the memberships are only $25 a year,” he said.

The final Coffee and Conversation of this season is on April 12 and will be with Keri Sapsford of Compost Corner.