Evergreen Treeplanting Co-op was formed in the fall of 1974. By the spring of 1975 there were 30 very diverse members of the co-op who each invested $100 to fund the first spring season. The members came from the Slocan Valley and Nelson area in the West Kootenays. They were teachers, scientists, actors, playwrights, farmers, draft dodgers and baby boomers. A camp was cobbled together and our first contracts were lined up.
Between 1975 and 1984 we planted about 2 million trees per year. Our first coastal B.C. contract was near Cowichan Lake in the spring of 1976 – bare roots for 7 cents per tree. At that time we were still able to make better money than working a regular job. It was a lifestyle we all loved, good honest hard work outdoors and a great sense of community.
Of course some co-op members were more in love with the job than others and some were more serious about making a career out of it. So people drifted away to other careers. Some have become politicians, writers, teachers, builders etc.
In 1985 the co-op reorganized and became more aggressive in acquiring work. More hiring was done to bring in planters who weren’t part of the co-op. We planted between 4 and 6 million trees per year over the next decade doing long spring seasons from early February through late June as well as a month or two in the fall. The membership dwindled to a dozen members some of whom were part time planters and others for whom it was a career that would end up spanning five decades.
By the time 1994 arrived the co-op had shrunk to just five members and so it was time to reorganize and incorporate Evergreen Forest Services Ltd. This new entity persevered through good and bad times over the next decade outlasting many of the big licensee companies that it worked for. MacMillan Bloedel, Brasscan, Cascadia, Canadian Cellulose, Westar, Pope & Talbot, CPFP, Crown Zellerbach, Weldwood, Fletcher Challenge, Slocan Forest Products, Springer Creek, Evans, CFI, CNI and Meadow Creek Cedar have all come and gone.
By the end of 2016 we will have planted over 170 million seedlings and spaced, brushed, surveyed or pruned tens of thousands of hectares of forest land.
Evergreen is currently owned and operated by four partners each of whom has a wealth of experience in running planting contracts all across B.C. Our planting season starts in February on the coast and continues through June in the B.C. interior. We also work a summer season in the interior and a fall season on the coast. This allows us to provide one of the longest planting seasons available in B.C. with planters routinely getting in well over 100 planting days each year.
Evergreen is here for the long haul. We are a solid, committed, worker oriented company that cares about and respects the people we work with. Above all we want to make sure everyone who works with us comes home safe every day and has a smile on their faces having earned a great day’s wages.