History of the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest, our Home

Located in the Coast Mountains, about 60 kilometres from Maple Ridge, sits the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest, home to the Loon Lake Lodge & Retreat Centre. What guests of the Loon Lake Lodge may not be aware of, however is the storied history of research, innovation, partnership and passion that lies in the forest. 

Encompassing approximately 5,157 hectares, the majestic forest is home to a vast collection of plants, animals and trees including that of Douglas-fir, western redcedar, western hemlock and amabilis fir trees. Patches of 400+year old old growth forest remain throughout the forest. The site of major logging from the 1900 to 1930, the forest was officially established as the UBC/Malcolm Knapp Research Forest in 1949. The research forest was named in honour of the late UBC professor Malcolm Knapp, who was a major influence in the school’s forestry program. 

In 1922 when the forestry program at UBC was just two years old, Malcolm Knapp was a young professor of forestry teaching courses to students on logging, wood technology and forestry products. A passionate man with a grand vision, Knapp had a dream to be able to conduct research for forestry. At this time, the university only had a small forest on the edge of campus for research, so his influence was immense when the UBC took over management of the forest in 1949. Knapp’s vision having a large and vast forest became reality, along with his passion for salvaging and silviculture for the Forestry Program at UBC. After 41-years of service to the forest and the university, the Research Forest officially changed its name to Malcolm Knapp/UBC Research Forest in 1988, the year before he passed away.

The Malcolm Knapp Research Forest is an integral part of the traditional territory of overlapping First Nations, particularly the Katzie people with whom the research forest shares a mutual respect. Both the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest and Katzie share a common goal of maintaining a healthy forest ecosystem and in maintaining its cultural, spiritual, environmental, economic and social benefits in perpetuity.   

Since being designated a Research Forest Reserve, the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest has continually evolved as an outstanding example of sustainable forest management, a living laboratory and outdoor classroom. Over the years, the research forest and accompanying Loon Lake Lodge & Retreat Centre, grew to accommodate and provide facilities for the 40,000 visitors that come each year. In 2003, UBC signed an agreement with the Canadian Cancer Society, designating Loon Lake Lodge and Retreat Centre as the permanent home of Camp Goodtimes. Camp Goodtimes is an annual summer event for kids aged 6 to 16, who have a history of cancer. 

Today, the forest maintains its status as a model in research, education and demonstration while Loon Lake Lodge continues to thrive offering a stunning setting for meetings, conferences and events.