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The Whitecourt and District Forest Interpretive Centre and Heritage Park

(owned and operated by the Whitecourt and District Heritage Society – a registered charity)

view of the nearly finished interpretive centre

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.

deerBut the boreal forest is more than a place of commerce. It is also a place of breath-taking 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.

ribbon cutting ceremony at the interpretive centreThe 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 individuals.

galleryThe heart of the $1.7 million, 7,300 square foot 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.

turning the sod on the site of the interpretive centreThe 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.

auditoriumThe 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.

view of the centre during construction

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 campground.

old logging truck preparing the site

Reprinted with permission from the Whitecourt and District Forest Interpretive Centre and Heritage Park. 

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