This Week in History: Yorke Edwards, a trailblazer in nature park interpretation

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WatchYou may not recognize the name Yorke Edwards but if you've ever visited a provincial park, you'll have likely seen his work. Veronica Cooper has more.

You may not recognize the name Yorke Edwards but if you’ve ever visited a provincial park, you’ll have likely seen his work.

That’s because Edwards is the founder of what is now known as park interpretation.

Richard Kool, professor at Royal Roads University and has just co-authored a book, to be published by the Royal BC Museum, to honour this important Canadian.

“It took him maybe a decade to convince the people who ran parks to give him a chance,” says Kool.

Kool explains that Edwards was passionate about these beautiful, wild spaces, and he felt if the province was investing money to protect these areas, the public should know more about them.

“He wanted to do something where he could engage people in these wonderful places, and finally, in 1957, the parks manager said ‘ok, do it in Manning Park.’ Yorke got two mildewy tents, and some stuff from a dumpster in Princeton, and they created a Nature House. Just two tents, and a couple of hundred dollars.”

And from that humble beginning, the world of park interpretation began in this province.

The Object’s The Thing: The Writings of Yorke Edwards, co-authored by Richard Kool and Robert Cannings, will be available at the Royal BC Museum, and on their website, in May.

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Veronica CooperVeronica Cooper

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