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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Camp Life

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Clip Synopsis:

The Heritage Community Foundation, with the kind permission of Terry Garvin, is pleased to present this feature excerpt from the Bush Land People video.

The centre of traditional life in the boreal forest is the main camp, which provides a comfortable and permanent shelter for people, as well as storage areas for all the supplies needed to sustain a hunting and trapping lifestyle.

Clip Transcription:

It is still an unwritten code of the bushland that trapline cabins are never locked. Good neighbours look out for one another, often spending time together. The centre of bush life is main camp, usually built along a waterway. Sandy clearings above the floodplain are ideal. Stands of nearby trees provide fuel, lumber, stretching and drying frames, toboggans, snowshoes, and other useful items like birchbark moose calls and baskets.

The main building is a one-room permanent log cabin, built to be warm in winter and cool in the summer. Sheds are put up to safely store caches of equipment, supplies, meat and fish preserves and furs, as well as hides.

While most cabins are fitted with tin stoves, no camp is without an outdoor firepit. A smouldering tree fungus, easily lit by flint or matches, is a ready source of fire, and the smoke serves as a natural insect repellent. Weather permitting, tea, bannock, fresh meat, and fish are all cooked outside. Conical tents are sometimes set up as smokehouses.

Bushland camps also include dog-team shelters, toilets, and boat docking facilities.

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