Doug Horth found the white post after a strong windstorm.
Timber had fallen every which way around it, but the thick, squared stake stood untouched. On it, painted in black, are the words "P.O. John Askey Quick, Memorial Forest 1941."
"It was just forgotten," the Squamish resident said of the monument he discovered a decade ago.
Enquires with some of the community's old-timers slowly unravelled the mystery of the post. The forest lot on which it stands was reforested by Squamish residents during World War II. The initiative was headed by John Jacobsen, who was then the superintendent at the Empire Mills, said Betty Adamson, a member of Squamish's Royal Canadian Legion.
In what may be the province's first Arbour Day — 73 years ago — local students and residents planted 20,000 trees, she noted. Among the group was Quick.
Although the details are still unclear, Adamson said, it seems that Quick was instrumental in aiding Jacobsen in his quest. Quick proved to be a talented, likable group leader, she added.
As trouble boiled over in Europe, Quick became a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force. On Aug. 6, 1941, he was the first Squamish resident killed in the war. His death prompted Jacobsen and local students to dedicate the re-planted forest in his name.
The story is a one the Legion hopes to keep alive. With the help of various organizations, a trail has been cleared to the post — which was replaced by the Ministry of Forest in 1992, while the original marker is kept at the Brackendale Art Gallery.
On Friday, Oct. 12, the Legion is upgrading the post to a stone monument and plans to rededicate the area as the Quick Forest Grove. Residents are invited to attend, Adamson said.
"The community has got to know about [the story]," she said. "This is stuff that fades away and history dies."
A presentation will take place Oct. 12 at 12:45 p.m. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations officials will also be on hand as a part of the B.C. forest service's centennial celebrations. The wood lot is located across from the Squamish Airport's northern entrance.
Forestry officials have long known about the wood lot, said Frank DeGagne, a land and resource specialist with the ministry. The dedication of the lot and its early re-planting fit in with the forestry service's centenary, he noted. Old newspaper clippings from Victoria note logging and forest fires in the Squamish wood lot, DeGagne said, adding that reports referred to it as a "desert."
Forestry officials will make a presentation at 1 p.m. Mayor Rob Kirkham and local school children will then help plant 1,000 seedlings, DeGagne said. Ministry staff noticed some of the lot's trees suffered from root rot, he said, adding that if the seedlings do well, more planting may take place in the future.
The event will not only boost people's awareness of local history, but carry on the work of Jacobsen, Adamson noted.
"It is sort of an enactment of what took place 73 years ago," she said.