Lasqueti HAS a history....

There is evidence of human habitation stretching back thousands of years - fortunately, we have a resident archaeolgist who has been documenting Lasqueti's  Archaeological Heritage

Elda Copley Mason published a book on it in 1976, documenting the early days of settlement and homesteading - Lasqueti Island: History and Memory

Pat Forbes also wrote an account - So You Want to Know about Lasqueti?  available at Crystals & Chamomile

The Gulf Islands Guide has a nice little article on it: www.gulfislandsguide.com/history/lasqueti.htm

Doug H. and Darlene O. recently published Accidental Eden: Hippie Days on Lasqueti Island documenting the "back-to-the-land" invasion during the 1970's and 80's.

... is there anyone who wants to take on the project of developing a Lasqueti history e-book the whole community can contribute to?

Forest History

Lasqueti lies in the Coastal Douglas Fir zone, a now rare ecosystem that supports towering old growth.  These forests have been logged heavily, and Lasqueti is no different, with a century-long history of small-scale and industrial logging.

Dick Varney is a local forester.  His research into pre-settlement forest conditions and the  history of logging on Lasqueti is presented in the subpages here.

Lasqueti past forest conditions: 1875 survey

This series of articles were published for the general public to increase knowledge of historical forest conditions, with emphasis on Lasqueti Island (Xwe?etay/Xwe”i”tay). Most of it will also apply to the whole CDF and parts of the dryer CWH areas. The forest conditions do not only mean trees; grasses and openness were also part of the landscape condition.

As I get more information, I continue to reassess my historical forest conditions knowledge and learn. I made a spreadsheet of Carey’s 1875 legal survey information from which to do some analysis. Here are some draft results. This should allow us to understand forest conditions in 1875. Any mistakes are my fault in either the spreadsheet or my analysis. I used survey page numbers within the spreadsheet to make it easier to check; I have already found some mistakes in my fist draft. I found it hard to accurately transcribe old notes, both onto a spreadsheet and even to Carey’s closing remarks. My spreadsheet is available to anyone for use and I would appreciate any corrections if found.

... Please see the attached PDF for the complete report ...

1875 Survey Analysis (PDF 21)699.48 KB

Logging History

Logging history of Lasqueti (Xwe?etay/Xwe”i”tay)

While doing my research on pre-settlement CDF forests, I picked up a lot of additional information about historical logging and logging on Lasqueti. Much of the logging history of Lasqueti needs to be interpreted from other areas, because I have found little direct information.

This report documents:

  • First Nation use

  • Rat Portage Timber lease

  • Machinery used by Rat Potage/Hillis Logging

  • General Logging history

  • Johnny Osland and local oral history

  • Other patterns from logging

  • Summary of logging on the Unceded lands/Crown Lands

And covers periods:

  • pre-1920
  • 1920 - 1940's
  • 1947 - late 1960's
  • 1976 - present

... Please see attached PDF for complete report ...

Logging History on Lasqueti (pdf)343 KB

Pre-settlement Wildfire information

I write this to get us all thinking about our goals/visions and options (how to achieve our goals) about our forests. For more than ten years I have been studying “What were our CDF pre-settlement forests like?” off the side of my desk. I’ll start with a hypothesis: Lasqueti forests were more open (less dense), multiple aged and diameters, less brush, created by active management with fire, experienced/used to frequent ground fires, often with small patch to larger prairie areas of forbs/forage and of coarse stands of nice old-growth trees. The northern Coast Salish frequently burned Lasqueti (Xwe?etay/Xwe”i”tay) to increase both wanted plant & fauna habitat for their food needs on the island. I believe such a forest (pre-contact) can be burned relatively safely (without crowning out and killing all/most of the trees) and would be at a lower wildfire risk than what we have today.

If this hypothesis is correct, then our present forest is quite different; much denser, lots of fuel, filled with fire ladders, and too many crowns touching one another; in other words, just waiting for a major stand replacing fire to happen. Like what has been occurring up & down the west coast. The fire return was from about 6 to 45 years, which increases our wildfire risk with each additional decade without a fire. We need a to thin out the forest and possibly re-introduce fire by controlled burns, to protect our forests. This presentation is the first (part 1) about the pre-settlement CDF forest and is mostly about the time between wildfires and the mix of what old-growth was like on the island from my research.

... Please see attached PDF for full report ...

CDF and fire (PDF)686.13 KB