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Western Red Cedar Lumber Association hosts Cedar School 2019

October 23, 2019  By Western Red Cedar Lumber Association

Photo courtesy Western Red Cedar Lumber Association.

Originally formed in 1954 the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association (WRCLA) is known worldwide as the “voice of the cedar industry.” Currently operating as a not-for-profit trade association, the WRCLA members, with a production capacity of 650 million board feet, represent two-thirds of the total Western Red Cedar (WRC) lumber production.

The principle purpose and mandate of the WRCLA is to influence discerning customers, select builders and architects to choose WRC for its attributes and benefits. To achieve this goal, a robust and comprehensive marketing and educational program is executed on an ongoing basis. An important component of the educational program is the annual Cedar School, which is a week-long practical and instructional program aimed at salespeople in the building products distribution network.

Over the past 20 years, the Cedar School has included: forest and mill tours, marketing, lumber grading, finishing and installation seminars. This was primarily achieved in the Vancouver region, featuring coastal logging. In 2019, students were given the opportunity to tour a B.C. Interior mill and see Interior forests for the first time in the school’s history.

Part of the curriculum is participation in the annual Cedar Summit Conference that this year celebrated the WRCLA’s 65th anniversary. Students attended the WRCLA business session along with members and executives from WRC distributors. The opportunity to mix and network with suppliers and competitors is a testimony to the harmony that exists within the WRC community. While fiercely competitive, they all share a love of the product.


This year, 62 students registered for the Cedar School from 28 companies – 50 students from the U.S., nine from Canada and three from the UK. The school itinerary, from May 11-13, included marketing, forestry, and grading, with mill tours for both primary and secondary manufacturing facilities. After a bus trip to the Interior region of B.C., Gilbert Smith Forest Products’ Greg Smith greeted students and spoke to them about Interior logging and lumber production, including the history of the cedar sawmill, in preparation for a mill tour the following day. The school then moved to Kelowna, B.C., for participation in the WRCLA Cedar Summit and concluded with installation and finishing seminars.

Each student was presented with a certificate of completion to recognize the work and commitment involved in attending the school. The WRCLA believes that students return to their jobs better educated and able to empower themselves and their colleagues in understanding WRC products better than ever.


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