Hosting at Jasper
"Sunday, October 17, 2004"
So I left Ottawa bright and early this morning. I had a West Jet flight at 08:35 and arrived in Edmonton at 10:52. I arrived, my luggage arrived, and I took a shuttle from the airport to the Cedar Park Inn – Best Western. [5115 Gateway Boulevard, Edmonton, Alberta; tel: 1 (780) 434-7411; fax: 1 (780) 437-4836] I’m not sure the shuttle was really expecting me, but it took me to my hotel, anyway! We looked around for others who might also have been going to the same hotel, but saw no one.
We headed off to the hotel. Got there, got checked in, looked around at facilities. I spent a little time looking around outside, but there wasn’t anything much very close to the hotel. A little later, I started to see people I recognized and got prepared for our little get-together that afternoon.
After our little get-together, some of us headed to a nearby restaurant for some dinner. After a nice dinner and visit, we returned to our rooms and got some sleep.
"Monday, October 18"
This morning, our bus picked us all up to take us to the Northern Forestry Centre for our day. Unfortunately, our bus driver got a little confused with the Alberta Forest Service and we, consequently, had a nice tour of the city, before our local contact finally telephoned him, wondering where he was and set him straight. A few more turns and we finally made it to the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) Northern Forestry Centre . Here we got coffee and muffins and heard from the management about CFS, NRCan and forest management in Alberta and Canada, including presentations from a number of scientists who have been doing research related to the work of this international group.
After lunch and another presentation or so, we determined that we should probably just hit the road for Jasper, a 4-hour drive west. It had been snowing all day and didn’t look like it was going to let up any time soon. So we thanked all those in Edmonton who were not going to be joining us later, and hit the road.
Sure enough, the driving was pretty miserable. We had a great bus driver, however, and he managed to get us though the snow. About the time we hit Hinton, the driving snow started to lessen, and it was relatively clear driving for the last hour or so. Still, it was a bit nerve-wracking for the first 3 hours!
Finally, we made it to the park, then almost to Jasper and the turn-off for the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. [Old Lodge Road, Jasper, Alberta; tel: 1 (780) 852-3301; fax: 1 (780) 852-5107] Once we were there, we got settled in our rooms and then had an opportunity to socialize, relax, and hear about forest and wildlife management issues within and around the Park. It was a very interesting evening. But tomorrow the real work begins!
"Tuesday, October 19"
So after a lovely breakfast – following a nice little walk from my outbuilding to the central building – we got down to work.
Chance for hot tub in evening?
"Wednesday, October 20"
More meeting and discussion. Had even more meeting and discussion after the close for the day.
Went to town for hamburgers and beer?
"Thursday, October 21"
Finalized everything, eventually.
Then, just after the meeting ended, we had our dinner.
Then, I had to go back to my room and get all my belongings packed.
"Friday, October 22"
Today was the first day of our field trip. We started, however, with a few presentations in a room at the hotel. Then it was time to say so long to the lovely Jasper Park Lodge. A shame we had to work, really, it’s such a nice location and there are so many other things to do. But that was why we were there.
So off we headed to look at some forestry sites. One of these included a prescribed burn site in the national park. Eventually, we made our way to the Overlander Mountain Lodge, where we had lunch. We also saw sites highlighting special places in the forest, natural disturbance in forest management, and multiple use landscapes: all very interesting. At the end of our busy day, we headed to Hinton and the hotel we would stay at that night, Days Inn Hinton Hotel. [358 Smith Street, Hinton, Alberta; tel: 1 (780) 817-1960] Almost right away, we were back on the bus to go to the Hinton Training Centre, where we had dinner and a few more forestry presentations. After dinner and the talks, we headed back to the hotel. I took advantage of the hot tub one more time. Then visited for awhile with some high energy colleagues and then I eventually hit the hay. One more day to go.
"Saturday, October 23"
Today, we had a few more forestry sites to see before we would be back in Edmonton. This time is was stream crossings, growth and yield, wildlife management, and recreation in the forest with Weldwood of Canada. We were back in Edmonton somewhat before 6 p.m., where we first dropped a couple of people at the airport on our way back to the Cedar Park Inn – Best Western.
A bunch of us arranged to meet and have the hotel shuttle take us to the West Edmonton Mall. Seemed like several people had not yet been there! It was actually very busy and it took us a while to find any restaurant that could fit such a big group. We managed it, finally, had dinner, then looked around the mall a bit more, then headed back to the hotel.
"Sunday, October 24"
Today, my flight back to Ottawa was at 11:35. I got out to the airport in plenty of time. Caught my plane and got home about 17:13. It was a good meeting and a great field trip; I think Canada (and the CFS) can be proud. And we shouldn’t have to host again for awhile!