Vavenby residents have been hearing the “whap whap” of helicopters every day since Sept. 12 and many rumors have gone around town of why they are there.
Nine men, including the pilot, arrived in Vavenby on the evening of Sept. 10 and the helicopter on Sept. 12. They are contracted to the Ministry of Forests and billeted in four local homes. One home provides all the meals. The helicopter lands in a resident’s back pasture. The local children love it.
The men are from all over B.C. and are impressed with Vavenby. They love it here. The helicopter is from Black Tusk Co. of Squamish. The crew has been very pleased with the weather because they have been able to stay on their work schedule.
The men are doing forest inventory of the North Thompson Valley, including the Adams Lake area. They leave early in the morning, work on the mountains in pairs for roughly 12 hours, and have radio contact with each other.
The helicopter drops two men in a spot that is inaccessible by road. The rest go by truck. The crew walks for miles; all wear safety equipment, and carry bear spray. They have actually seen only one small black bear though.
While on the mountains they take tree ring samples and note down what the government wants to know – the species, age distribution, diseases, and terrain of the trees.
The crew has several more hours of work after dinner. This is paper work, which involves maps. The maps show what area was covered that day and what was found. There is one master map of the whole area to indicate who’s going where each day, either by truck or helicopter.
Everything was to be finished up on Saturday, Sept. 22 so all would be headed home.