Planting Milestones Across West Fraser

Aug 10, 2020

Blue Ridge's 200 millionth seedling

 Blue Ridge 200th million seedling plantingIt was a small in-person ceremony for Blue Ridge’s 200 millionth seedling planted celebration in August of 2020, but it was a huge accomplishment for the Alberta operation.

The first seedlings were planted in 1975, hitting 1 million in 1979. West Fraser hit 10 million in 1987, and we’ve been continuing with our promise as responsible stewards of the promise since that time.

This July 14, a small group met at the nearby improved seed orchard to plant the 200 millionth seeding. The orchard is planted with the best of the best seed, and the trees are then replanted in the mills’ forest management area (FMA). Right now, the woodlands group is expanding the orchard, which is why it seemed like the perfect place.

There was a pizza party with people from the mill, the local forestry office, political officials, and a few folks from other divisions.

“For me, it’s a huge accomplishment,” says Stacey Pike, the Silviculture Superintendent. “It shows our stewardship of the land, and our dedication to reforestation. Hitting 200 million is not a small feat!”

The local MLA, Martin Long, mentioned Blue Ridge Lumber’s accomplishment in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, saying, “It is such an honour to represent people like the ones that work at Blue Ridge Lumber.”

Despite delays due to COVID-19, the annual tree planting in Blue Ridge is going ahead as scheduled.  They anticipate they will hit a goal of 9.2 million in 2020!

“I think in the beginning there were a lot of reservations and stress with the contractors. We didn’t know what we’d be able to do, what would happen if there was a COVID-19 case. Would we be able to survive? But because of the planning and preparation that was done, it was a success,” adds Stacey. 



Staff from Williams Lake Plywood, Williams Lake Lumber, and Williams Lake Woodlands took a photo in front of the constructed monument and the original sapling that was planted to celebrate the 25 millionth seedling planted in 1990.  (See below)


Amanda Marshall won a contest to plant the new sapling. Two of her uncles, Corky and Len, both work at West Fraser and came out for the event. You can see a photo of the event in our header pic!


Hinton Wood Products runs the oldest FMA in Alberta and is still going strong. Hinton and Edson Woodlands marked 2019 by planting their 300 millionth sapling. The first recorded tree on that FMA was planted in 1961, one of 14 thousand that were planted that year.  A year later the company created its own nursery complex that would later become the Hinton Reforestation centre in 1997 to create their own seedlings for planting. 

The company became West Fraser in 2004. Between the time when the first tree was planted to when it was bought, a total of 142 million trees were planted.

This August the company hit the 300 millionth milestone. The company plans to continue to use the Gregg cabin site to mark significant benchmarks in its forest management history. On each occasion, a small clearing is made in the forest and a children's grove of trees is planted with a commemorative tree, by the friends and family of our woodlands staff. We encourage everyone to take a visit! 

Over the years there have been challenges and setbacks, from fire to floods, the lean years where poor markets made sawmilling a challenge and finally our ongoing fight with the mountain pine beetle. But we have persevered and adapted, coming up with innovative solutions that would not have been dreamed of when the first tree went into the ground in 1961.  

West Fraser is looking forward to being here when the 350 millionth tree is planted. 

Manning Plants 50,000,000th Tree

This July our Manning, Alberta Mill planted their 50 millionth seedling. To plant the tree, Manning Forest Products used the original shovel that was used to plant our first seedlings, 25 years ago! Here’s to 50 more years growing healthy forests in Northern Alberta – congratulations.