Handmade forests: the treeplanter's experience
"I will never forget the time I took off my boot and threw it into an afternoon so thick with bugs that I could see the tunnel of its trajectory. My feet hurt. My wrists hurt. My skin hurt. Still, I know my grandchildren will see the trees and be glad I did it. I will tell them about the bugs and the bosses and it will sound like the stories of the war my grandfather told me. It was war, another children's crusade. We did it because we had to, and even though it was hell, it had a kind of peace that was hard to leave behind. Every time." -- Sasha Rogers, Treeplanter
Every summer, thousands of women and men pour into the interior of British Columbia to replant the 2.5 million acres of forest that are clearcut each year in western Canada. They are treeplanters -- a unique subculture of students, ex-hippies, adventure-seekers, and "lifers" who live and work together under the most brutal conditions imaginable, filling in the empty spaces where forests once stood.
This compelling photographic essay captures the treeplanters' experience. In a landscape of extremes -- devastated vistas, mud, bugs, heat, freezing rain, isolation, more mud, and more bugs -- Cyr's unforgettable images are accompanied by treeplanters' reflections on the intensely personal and empowering experience they call "blissful hell."
While not a political book about the pros and cons of clearcutting, the viewer is left both captivated and haunted by Cyr's unflinching lens. For those who have never witnessed a clearcut "moonscape" before, Handmade Forests will forever change how you feel about a piece of paper and its origins.
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Field Guide to the Treeplanters Experience by John Cathro