fires swept the Beaver Hills area between 1892 and 1895. The
1895 fire charred the ground to a depth of six inches. The
rash of prairie fires, some natural and others man-made, led
to the setting aside of 6 townships in the Beaver Hills by
the Canadian Government Department of the Interior (the Honourable
Frank Oliver, Minister) to protect the wood supply.
first forest ranger, William Henry Stephens was appointed
in 1895. His cabin, the Provinces's first ranger station was
located southeast of Walter Lake, in Elk Island National Park.
Lake Forest Reserve was officially proclaimed by Departmental
Order on June 5, 1899. As Alberta was not yet a Province,
this was the first forest reserve in the Western Territories.
Now a protected area, in 1910 reforestration was promoted
by hiring a forester and the creation of a tree nursery.
hundred and nine years later Ranger Stephens was honoured
by a commemorative plaque mounted on a large boulder to be
placed at the location of his cabin.
inscription reads ...
1895, on this site NW 28-52-20-W$, Ranger W.H. Stephens
built a log cabin to serve as the first Forestry Headquarters
in the District of Alberta, Northwest Territories.
The Stephens Cabin, on the Edmonton - Beaver Hills
Trail, was a welcome stopping place for travellers
to and from the Logan Settlement on West Beaver Hills
Lake. Cooking Lake Forest Reserve was officially established
June 05, 1899. Ranger Stephens, a well-known pioneer
of Strathcona, served on this Forest Reserve from
1895 to 1912.
ceremonial unveiling was attended by family and friends and
officials from the Governments of Canada and Alberta, the
County of Strathcona and Elk Island National Park and six
generations of the W.H. Stephens family.