Maple Ridge Museum brings unique exhibit to Malcolm Knapp Research Forest

boat in river
The forest borders with Alouette River and Golden Ears Provincial Park/Photo by Paul H. Joseph/UBC Brand & Marketing

There is a mill inside the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest which was built in the 1950s and, although it’s been replaced with a modern mill, the history is fascinating. 

That is part of what you will witness at the Malcolm Knapp Past and Present event on September 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

It’s a joint collaboration between Maple Ridge Museum, Wild & Immersive and Malcolm Knapp Research Forest. 

Read: Malcolm Knapp Research Forest ranks number four in our Maple Ridge parks guide

Talking to The Ridge, Abby Lizee, community engagement co-ordinator shared details of what people can expect from this unique event. 

As part of their new community outreach program, Museum on the Move, they reached out to the organization in hopes to use the forest land for an exhibit. Instead, an invitation to turn the exhibit into an event was extended to them.

“Part of our initiative is to partner with different organizations and it gives us an extra platform to promote our work. Wild & Immersive was one of the organizations and they said it sounds amazing and that they would love to do more community engagement,” Lizee shared. 

Wild & Immersive is a local organization that does out-of-school outreach programs to teach children about environmental stewardship, nature, team building and more. 

This is the first time the organizations are collaborating and Alouette River Management Society, as well as Fraser River Indigenous Society, will be part of the event. 

What makes Malcolm Knapp Research Forest so special?

The forest is used for research and the land was granted to the University of British Columbia in 1949 to conserve flora and fauna, fish, water, soil and biodiversity to name a few.

The 5,157 hectare of “working forest” includes trails for hiking and roads for walking. Specific sections of the forest have been replanted and harvested since 1949.

The exhibit will be set up near the entrance of the forest and people can expect to learn about the forest through historical artifacts that will be displayed. 

Some archival photos from the land will be part of the exhibit, too, although they don’t have too much information about the original Gallant Mill from the 1950s.

A steam donkey or a steam engine was airlifted into the forest when the mill was set up so expect to learn a bit more about that, too. 

“It would be a fun event because not a lot of exposure is given to this forest and it’s also a nice way for us to show off Maple Ridge,” said Lizee. 

Other than history, a family scavenger hunt and other activities are part of the event for hikers to stop by or families to enjoy together.  

Future collaborations are brewing between the organizations and residents can expect an interactive walk project that will detail the history of the land. 

“We haven’t talked too extensively about it yet, but we are hoping to have another project collaboration with Wild & Immersive for Spring 2023. It would be an interactive trail, detailing the history of the forest since time immemorial and go up to the present day and make it fun for kids and families,” said Lizee. 

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