The Whitecourt Forest Interpretive Centre
(owned and operated by the Whitecourt and District
Heritage Societya registered charity)
The significance of the forest
industry to Whitecourt is readily evident to visitors. The region’s two
sawmills, medium-density fibreboard (MDF) plant, market pulp mill and integrated
pulp and newsprint mill, as well as its many forest contractors and service
companies, directly employ 4,000 people and generate $1.2 billion in direct,
indirect and induced revenue. But the boreal forest is more than a place of
commerce. It is also a place of breathtaking beauty and home to an astonishing
diversity of plants and animals.
Protecting and preserving these and
other forest values has taken on greater urgency in light of increased
industrial activity and heightened environmental awareness in our society.
The Whitecourt and District Forest
Interpretive Centre was built to explore the forest’s many facets, and to
provide a forum for discussion of issues relating to the future of the forest ecosystem.
The Whitecourt and District Forest Interpretive Centre opened its
doors on September 9, 2000. The project was made possible through the support of
all levels of government and the generosity of many companies, groups and
The heart of the $1.7-million, 678-square-metre facility is a multi-media museum gallery, which explores the
role of the forest in the evolution of Whitecourt. It looks at the relationship
between Aboriginal people and the forest, the effects of settlement on the
forest, the economic impact of the forest industry and the many issues surrounding development in our forests today.
The structure’s design evokes
heritage wood structures, including open-beam and tepee construction. A variety
of wood products, many of them manufactured by local forest products companies,
have been incorporated into its design. The centre’s amenities include a
multi-purpose room and an 80-seat auditorium, both featuring state-of-the-art
audio-visual equipment. The centre also includes a gift shop that carries many
locally made products. The proceeds from the shop, as well as facility rentals,
are used to fund the centre’s ongoing development.
The Whitecourt and District Forest Interpretive Centre and Heritage Park is
located on Hwy 43, at the southern edge of Whitecourt, across from the Lion’s
Phone: (403) 7782214
Reprinted with permission from the Whitecourt and District Forest Interpretive Centre and