Faces of Forestry is an initiative of the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) to highlight people doing great work to enhance our forests throughout British Columbia. This month, we feature Dan Macmaster, RPF, Fibre Manager of Vaagen Fibre Canada (Vaagen).
Since the beginning of his career, Dan has been passionate about the natural environment. As a former high-school teacher, he taught students about outdoor education subjects like biology and ecology.
Dan has a Master’s degree in Sustainable Forest Management from the University of British Columbia. He is active on numerous boards, including the BC First Nations Forestry Council, BC Community Forest Association, Interior Lumber Manufacturing Association, and the Okanagan Nation Alliance’s forestry working group. Just recently, Dan was appointed to the Province of B.C.’s Forestry Worker Supports and Community Resiliency Council, chaired by Doug Routley, Parliamentary Secretary for Forests.
“Working in forestry, I have the opportunity to engage with people, share ideas, learn about community values, and make key decisions that so many people depend on,” noted Dan.
In 2013, he joined Vaagen, a small, family-run mill, located in the rural community of Midway, in the Boundary region of B.C. As the Fibre Manager for Vaagen, Dan and his team process small-diameter logs into high-quality dimensional lumber. Using innovation, technology, and collaboration, the team focuses on safety, utilization, and building strong partnerships with other licenses.
Currently, Vaagen holds a management agreement with the West Boundary Community Forest (WBCF) and the Osoyoos Indian Band’s (OIB) forestry licences. As the Forest Manager for the WBCF, Dan, along with his team carries out all forest management projects in collaboration with OIB.
“As a forestry company, it is important for us to understand the values and traditions of the land. The expertise the surrounding communities bring to the table is critical to our work,” Dan added.
Dan’s involvement in the community is an essential part of Vaagen’s commitment to sustainable forestry, developing new and strong relationships with First Nations, and stabilizing local rural communities with employment and sustainable economic opportunities. Not only does Dan believe in the power of community and educating people in all things forestry, but he believes in inspiring other foresters to take similar actions.
“I like the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, but a visit to the forest is worth a thousand pictures. I encourage my fellow foresters to reach out to their community members to help build awareness for all that happens within our forests,” said Dan.
In his role, Dan manages multiple objectives within the forest, including recreation, wildlife and timber values. Dan is also passionate about providing educational outreach opportunities to young students. He is rooted in the belief that these learning opportunities are critical to the future well-being of community forests and the forest industry.
“As forest professionals, we often manage many different responsibilities and competing demands that leave little room for educational outreach,” noted Dan. I believe if we can reorganize some of our priorities and enlist the help of other forest professionals and educators, then communication and collaboration specific to forestry education will better inform our communities and our next generation.”