Carman Smith, RPF (Ret), of Barriere was presented with the Distinguished Forest Professional award by the Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP) at its annual forestry conference in Kamloops on Feb. 7.
Carman’s contributions to the betterment of forestry started with his graduation from the Faculty of Forestry at UBC in 1960 and continued to his retirement as Woodlands Manager for Gilbert Smith Forest Products Ltd. in 2006. During his career in the industry, Carman has operated with passion for the challenging Cedar-Hemlock stands of the Interior, and his contributions to policy development and Land Use Planning in the Kamloops TSA including Mountain Caribou Recovery Planning, contributing to the Kamloops TSA Land and Resource Management Plan, as well as timber pricing, cruising and Scaling advancements.
Carman is an innovator who is never afraid to work new technological advancements into his everyday practices, and “can’t” is not a part of his vocabulary. He was one of the first pioneers to fertilize at the time of planting (seedlings) back in 1998, and he stuck with this program when others were not yet on board. On-going research still continues today to validate his convictions demonstrating not only improved stand establishment, but positive benefits to the enhancement of the timber supply. The fertilization of his stands continues to be monitored for education and research, with research trials dating as far back as 2003.
Carman has been a mentor and coach for Foresters, Foresters-in-training and other resource professionals. Challenging professionals to strive to be better, Carman is known for being candid to offer his opinion and advice, while remaining mindful of upholding the collective code of ethics representing the forestry profession.
The scope of Carman’s contributions remain focal at the community and regional levels in the North Thompson showcasing his woodlot (both challenges and successes) illustrating his dedication to innovative reforestation.
Carman was recognized as Barriere Citizen of the Year in 2010, and was a recipient of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 which honoured significant contributions by Canadians.
At the time that the ABCFP Distinguished Forest Professional Award was first presented in 1970, Carman and his brother Ted had built a successful sawmill in Barriere, B.C. which is still in full operation today; and now his post retirement playground is on Woodlot 1596 where he received a Forest Stewardship Regional Award of Distinction for the Woodlot in 2001.
Now at the young age of 82, Carman still has the passion for teaching grade 3 and grade 8 students about trees, growing sites and Dendrology, all while snowshoeing through Barriere Forks Park.
Carman’s nomination for the Distinguished Forest Professional award (spearheaded by Toby Jeffreys, RPF and supported by other RPF’s) stated, “In making this nomination we considered the caliber of past recipients, and Carman, in our opinion, remains an influential ‘boots on the ground’ Forester. His forestry roots have stood the test of time with his father, Gilbert, establishing a cedar pole business in the North Thompson in the 1920’s, and his brother Harry Smith, who instructed at the UBC Faculty of Forestry, and his two sons, Bob Smith (General Manager SPF Sales for Canfor), and Greg Smith, RPF (president of Gilbert Smith Forest Products Ltd) who both continue to pursue Forestry with the same passion as their father. We believe Carman is very deserving of this award as he has tirelessly advocated for Forest Practices and advancements to the profession and Association.”
Carman said, “ I was totally surprised when I received the notice that I had been awarded a 2018 Distinguished Forest Professional Award. My immediate thought was that my brother Harry would not be there to see me. Harry was presented this same award in 1995.”
Carman continued, “After graduation I worked in Giscome, Haida Gwaii and Hinton. My brother Ted called me to come home and work for Gilbert Smith Forest Products Ltd., which was founded by my father and of which I was a shareholder. So I started working in Blue River, my place of birth, surrounded by decadent cedar hemlock stands. My entire professional career has been in the North Thompson and adjacent watersheds which are in the traditional territory of the Secwepemc First Nations, and primarily in the territory of the Simpcw, I respect them and the values they hold toward the land base.”
He also commented on harvesting, saying, “We have used every piece of equipment possible to harvest these decadent cedar hemlock stands from horses to helicopters.
“When we were made responsible for reforestation, our immediate thought was, how do we do it better than the present norm?
“In 1998, after many years of slash burning, we changed to planting as is, and at the time of planting used fertilizer in the form of tea bags,” stated Carman, “This achieved many things, and allowed the growth of more vigorous trees, and we were able to meet “free to grow” designations sooner. After many years of measuring our permanent sample plots, we anticipate we will be able to harvest fertilized stands 10 years sooner than those that were not fertilized, which is a big accomplishment for growth and yield and the provincial economy.”
Carman said he is proud of the fact that “after working with the Ministry and other wet belt companies, we have developed a scaling system that recognizes the decadent timber in the stands we are still operating in by developing the 04 criteria for cedar hemlock and other species”.
Carman also commented, “One of my greatest pleasures is visiting some of theses sites that were occupied by decadent wood and seeing the thriving plantation that now exists, with a large component of cedar. According to the appraisal manual, cedar is the most valuable species, stumpage wise.”
He also noted that he has enjoyed working “hand-in-hand” with the First Nations people.
“This has been extremely rewarding as we have provided them with opportunities for work both in the mill and in the bush. They have been excellent employees and businessmen. Consulting with the Simpcw has been easy as they are partners in many of the activities we do in their traditional territory.”
Carman said he would like to recognize the women who have chosen Forestry as a career.
“At first it was their pleasant voices on the truck channels,” said Carman, “And once you got to know them I found out they had lots to add to Forestry. They are smart, decisive and willing to listen.”
Carman says he believes that if everyone fertilized at time of planting it would have a significant impact on growth and yield in the forests, and would help to maintain the Annual Allowable Cut.
“We need also to protect our land base from fire and encroachment, and what I call the ‘green wave’ that never really achieves anything economically except making it more difficult to practice proper forestry.”
Carman Smith resides in the community of Barriere with his beloved wife of 55 years, Barbara.