Log buyer Dave Kral meets with Rod Bealing to discuss bucking specs to ensure the highest value is captured in the log making process. Photo credit: Totangi Properties Ltd.

Log buyer Dave Kral meets with Rod Bealing to discuss bucking specs to ensure the highest value is captured in the log making process. Photo credit: Totangi Properties Ltd.

Not everybody gets the chance to come full circle in your work— to go back where you started and see the difference you made. Dave Kral, a log buyer for TimberWest, got that opportunity earlier this spring when TimberWest began reforestation on a recently harvested block near Sooke, B.C., on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

If you’re a forest owner on the coast of British Columbia, with logs for sale, you probably know Dave Kral. As a log buyer for TimberWest, Dave’s been in the business for a long time. He’s a likeable guy, with a great reputation, and many PFLA members have had the chance to do business with him.

You might be surprised to learn Dave hasn’t always worked in the logs and stumps side of the business. Back in 1973, fresh out of school, Dave got a job with Pacific Forest Products—a former iteration of TimberWest. His first day on the job, Dave helped plant a harvested block near Sooke, B.C.

That’s right. While most of us were watching the Mary Tyler Moore Show, listening to Elton John and Marvin Gaye top the charts with Crocodile Rock and Let’s Get it On, marveling over shrinky dinks and cheering Henri Richard and the Montreal Canadiens to Stanley Cup victory, Dave Kral was an 18-year-old rookie tree planter, jostling along in the backseat of a crummy, headed for the reefer, ready to pound—brown side down, green side up.

planted seedling Forty-two years later, Dave still works with the same company, and he’s come back to help plant the third generation of seedlings to grow on this site.

“Back then we had broadcast burns,” Dave explains looking around. “This would be all gone, no branches, no nothing. Just black soil.”

A lot can change in forty-two years—policies, practices, people—but with the right commitment, passion and continuity, a lot can stay the same too.

Forest owners in BC are legally responsible to reforest all harvested areas. Tree planting takes place twice a year on TimberWest lands with approximately 6 million seedlings planted and 3.6 million harvested. In total, about 12.5 million trees are planted on private forestland in B.C. each year.

TimberWest contracts local nurseries to grow a portion of seedlings and Safe Certified companies for planting. The company’s silviculture program is a valuable contributor to the local economy and is an integral part of sustainable forest management.

five men standing with hard hats and visibility vests

Left to right: Bruce Devitt—Former Chief Forester, Dave Kral—TimberWest Log Buyer, Gary Haut—Former Planting Foreman, Domenico Iannidinardo—TimberWest VP Sustainability & Chief Forester, Peter Bontkes—Planting Foreman

Joined by former chief forester, Bruce Devitt, former planting foreman, Gary Haut, TimberWest chief forester, Domenico Iannidinardo and current planting foreman, Peter Bontkes, Dave was proud to plant 42 seedlings—one for each year he’s worked with TimberWest.

Dave explains, “In my career this is no doubt my proudest moment. There’s nothing to compare to it. Who would have thought I’d be coming back here 42 years later to plant again? It’s great!”

PFLA was honoured and inspired to celebrate this day with Dave Kral and TimberWest. You can watch a video from the event below, or you can watch it on TimberWest’s YouTube channel. You can also read the complete story here. Congratulations Dave!

If you’d like to impress Dave, or dinner party guests, with your knowledge and understanding of tree planting culture, we’ve included some terms below to help expand your vocabulary.

Easy-to-plant land — cream

Difficult-to-plant land — schnarb

Land on which you plant trees — block, piece

Layer of moss and twigs above the soil — duff

Ground left just as it was after it was logged — raw, unscarified

Someone who plants many trees a day — highballer

A first-time planter — rookie

The vehicle that brings you to and from your worksite — crummy

Where you do Number Two in camp — shitter

Painful afflictions of the hand — the claw

Where you store trees during the day — cache

Trees that come encased in dirt, with minimal root exposure — plug

The truck in which trees are stored — reefer

Planting a line away from the existing line of trees — ghost lining

Planting as hard as you can — pounding

The action of kicking away debris to clear the ground — screefing

Hiding or throwing away trees — stash

The terms above are copied from the post Planting Slang published on The Art of Tree Planting: A Pounders Resources website which were borrowed from T. Colin Strong’s paper Reefer, Schnarb and Crummy Drivers: A Treeplanter’s Lexicon.