Rick Probert overlooks old photographs that will be part of an oral history project being undertaken by the Agassiz Harrison Historical Society over the winter. Probert remembers working for many years on and around Harrison Lake.

Voices needed for Harrison Lake oral history project

Volunteers recording stories about working and living on the lake

Do you remember flying into work over Harrison Lake, living in a logging camp, or enjoying the delights of camp food in the good old days?

If so, the Agassiz Historical Society would like to hear from you.

They are just beginning what will be a months-long oral history project, detailing the working history of Harrison Lake and Harrison Mills. Volunteers have already contacted many well-known locals with a history connected to mills and logging.

But they are hoping to hear from others they may not know about.

Each person will be videotaped while telling their stories, as they’re interviewed by members of the society.

“We hope this will start an oral history tradition here at the museum,” Bev Kennedy told a small group who gathered at the first meeting for the project on Tuesday.

The society received a grant to help purchase the audio visual equipment needed for the project. They will spend the next few weeks learning techniques and working out the bugs.

Then, they’ll begin the interviews, said Judy Pickard. Most interviews will be carried out at Cheam Village. For those who aren’t able to travel, the volunteers will go to them.

Pickard read out some ideas, hoping to trigger people’s memories for long-lost stories.

Subjects could include transportation such as boating or flying into camps, weather issues, seasonal work, work crew shenanigans and social life, beach camps, living in places like Harrison Mills or Bear Creek, safety problems and accidents, wildlife stories, life as a child in a camp, First Nation history and millwork.

It could even be as simple as talking about some of the old logging jargon.

“What is a flunkie,” Pickard asked, pointing out that some words just aren’t used anymore. In addition to stories, they are hoping to add to their collection of about 150 old photographs.

The project is open to families and friends of those who have passed away, too, as long as they are willing to tell their stories.

Many gathered at the meeting this week, eager to share their tales of living and working on the lake.

The society is hoping to have the project finished by spring, and it will play in the Agassiz-Harrison Museum beginning May long weekend next year.

“This is a big step for our museum,” Pickard said.

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