After 35 years with various agencies connected to forestry with the provincial government, Norm Parry officially retired from managing BC Timber Sales’ Skeena division in 2016. But retirement was no excuse for Parry to stop working.
He’s continued – in a voluntary capacity – helping with the social development in Terrace through various non-profit efforts.
“Giving back to the community” is a belief that lies at the core of all his endeavours.
“As a public servant, people have invested in my training and I just look at it like this is the time to give back and to use my skills for the community,” he said.
A typical day in Parry’s post-retirement life consists of reading grant proposals, preparing meeting minutes and agendas for the many organizations he chairs, networking with industry and community members, training youths in sports, and spending lots of time in the great outdoors. (In fact, even when The Terrace Standard reached out to him for an interview, Parry was out kayaking on Lakelse Lake from where he answered his phone.)
During winters he likes to plan his time around skiing activities in the area but always manages to find time to complete all his administrative work that he carries out for multiple organizations.
Parry wears many hats within Terrace’s social circuits. He is a board member of Terrace Community Forest and Skeena Nass Centre for Resource Economics, co-president of Terrace Badminton Club and also chairs the Terrace Community Foundation. He’s also a co-chair with the plan implementation committee of the Kalum Land and Resource Management Plan.
While the varied roles keep him busy, it has also given him a birds eye view of what’s happening in the community that he has lived in since 1986. He moved to Terrace after three years of travelling around the world and working in global forest sectors.
Parry still remembers his first aerial view of Terrace from when he arrived on a plane from Vancouver. “Coming in from Kitimat Valley, I saw a 20,000 hectare clear-cut and thought to myself, ‘boy these people really love to log.’”
But he’s also lived here long enough to see mature forests spring out of freshly planted trees in some of those cleart-cut spaces in Kitimat Valley.
“That’s one of the advantages of staying in one place for so long, you get to see the changes,” he said.
Parry also saw the transition that the forest industry went through – from being an economic powerhouse between the 50s and 70s to mills shutting down in the 80s and 90s. According to him, forestry has never had a dull moment in the northwest.
The 66-year-old retired forester, spent a lot of time during his career promoting forest management in the area.
And he continues to do so as co-chair of the plan implementation committee of the Kalum Land and Resource Management Plan that monitors land and resource management plans.
This committee – which is built on public involvement – is one of the two active in the province, said Parry. This is also a space where his decades-long experience helps him engage and balance perspectives of everyone involved in this multi-stakeholder environment.
“A forester’s role is to balance the land use planning and that is something I’ve always been interested in. I still like to think that I’m a retired registered professional forester, so I take that role fairly seriously.”
Parry is also constantly on the look out for new sustainable innovations and is eager to implement them in Terrace. For instance, he wants to carry out a project in urban forest management after hearing about it from the University of Ottawa.
Parry also brought home the idea of Terrace Community Foundation’s latest project ‘Vital Conversations’ after attending a convention in Victoria. The project aims to facilitate dialogue about persisting issues in the community and seek constructive solutions.
The community foundation celebrates its 10th anniversary this month and Parry who has been with the foundation since 2017, said that he got to know even more about the community through the organization.
“I was never involved in the social science side of Terrace until then, ” said Parry, who was invited by mayor Carol Leclerc to check out the board over a luncheon. Since then he has been “totally fascinated, enthralled” and “jazzed up” about the community foundation.
As the chair of the community foundation, Parry is happy that the organization is able to support various community-building projects through grants.
He particularly enjoys reading grant proposals especially since they give him an insight into projects and it always leaves him amazed.
“I’m just totally impressed with seeing people do things that I had no idea was going on.”
In all his roles through the years, Parry has enjoyed facilitating a process that empowers people to better serve and give back to the community.
“I love being in Terrace, I love watching things grow and people doing good and my fun is to be part of helping make that happen.”