Al is a professional forester with 45 years’ experience spanning government and consulting. Born in Burns Lake, he lived in a variety of communities in the northwest while growing up, including Queen Charlotte City, Kitwanga, Terrace, and Prince Rupert. His early career saw him stationed in Houston, Lower Post, Ootsa Lake, and Smithers. During a second stint in Houston as forest district manager, he also served as president of the Professional Foresters Association, and board chair for Northwest Community College.
In 1994 he was appointed regional manager for the Prince George Forest Region, and for a while worked concurrently as executive director of Forest Practices Code Implementation. In 1998 he moved to Victoria to take on the role of vice president for land and resources at Forest Renewal BC and was later promoted to chief operating officer.
In 2002 Al started his own consulting firm and has since worked with a wide variety of industries, communities, and governments across the province, nationally and internationally on natural resource and management matters. From 2004 to 2007 he served as president of the McGregor Model Forest and was a founding director of the Canadian Model Forest Network. He is a past member of the Forest Appeals Commission and Environmental Appeals Board and was chair of BC’s Forest Practices Board from 2010 to 2013.
In 2019 Al was appointed to lead a sweeping review of how BC’s old growth forests are managed. The review, along with Garry Merkel, resulted in the 2020 report, A New Future for Old Forests.
When not in Victoria or travelling, Al will likely be found at the family cabin on Uncha Lake, which is where Who Cares caught up with him this past summer.
We are a group of individuals who live and work primarily in rural British Columbia and care deeply about wildlife and the habitat it requires to survive.
The Who Cares campaign is designed to be educational and provocative, not political. It’s intended to draw your awareness to the issues that exist, help you see that wildlife in BC is facing significant challenges, and engage you in caring – caring to the point of taking the kind of action that produces positive changes on the land.
Who Cares is about putting down our differences to work together to achieve positive changes for habitat and wildlife. It is about collaboration, not entrenched positions.
Along the way, we will have differences – maybe even HUGE differences, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work together to achieve a shared mission of healthier forests, fewer wildfires, floods and landslides, and more abundant fish and wildlife. A province that we can feel proud to leave to our children and grandchildren.
As humans, everything we do on this planet has an impact. All our food choices – whether animal or plant-based – have consequences. And the way humans think about animals is incongruent, to say the least. Regardless, whether you are an omnivore, carnivore or herbivore, if you care about wildlife, habitat, and BC’s forests, there is far more that unites us than separates us. Please – let’s invest our energy together on positive change instead of hating one another. Too much is at stake.
Who Cares is an initiative of the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia. Yes, we hunt and yes, we understand that is difficult for those who don’t to understand. It’s counterintuitive how hunters can care so deeply for the very animals they pursue, possibly even more deeply than those who don’t hunt at all. Get to know us, ask us whatever you want. We’re happy to share our beliefs as best as we can.
Wildlife needs to be assigned a value so that land-based decisions will consider them and their habitat. There needs to be more values on the land than just growing pine 2x4s. Wildlife needs to be a key performance indicator of a healthy forest. Forestry reform is needed.
We are pro-wildlife, pro-ecosystem health, and pro-sustainable use. Pro-Super, Natural British Columbia. Pro-wild within. Pro clean air. Pro-clean water. Pro-wild fish. Pro-collaboration