2001 Research Grant Recipient - Karen Brelsford
Out of the Woodwork
Banff and Jasper national parks are dotted with decaying structures — some of the only
remnants left by the explorers who have roamed the rugged Rockies over the last century.
Last summer, University of Victoria geography student Karen Brelsford searched for the derelict
buildings that once housed and protected them. "They're like an abandoned treasure in the
forest," she says of the log cabins she discovered.
Brelsford, the recipient of a Royal Canadian Geographical Society research grant,
visited about 25 sites, extracting pencil-thin core samples from the wooden remains. By comparing
the pattern of tree-ring widths to an existing master tree-ring chronology, she will be able
to determine when the trees were felled. Armed with her data and historical information from
Parks Canada, Brelsford hopes to piece together part of the human influence on one of the
country's most spectacular landscapes.
(Canadian research projects such as this are supported by your membership fees and donations to the RCGS.)