A gigantic map of all the cool plaques in the world. A project of 99% Invisible.

Forest Ranger William Henry Stephens

This plaque from 2007 is found in an off-the-beaten track location at Elk Island National Park. It is found along Rob's Road, an old warden's trail that is largely inaccessible to the public. It is a metal plaque with a historical image on it, secured firmly to what looks like a glacial erratic (a large rock). The most frequent audience for this plaque must be the 400+ Wood Bison which use that disused road as a path to avoid bushwacking. The easiest way to get to this plaque is to enter the fence and drive or cycle along the south boundary fence with Blackfoot-Cooking Lake Provincial park. 

Although the text of the plaque says that the monument was erected on the site of the old warden cabin, that is incorrect - the original site is about another 10 minute's hike North along Rob's Road. The building is gone, but the warden is said to have planted two maple trees there, which can still be seen: the only maple trees in Elk Island. 

The text reads as follows: 

Dedicated in memory of Forest Ranger WILLIAM HENRY STEPHENS

In 1895, on this site NW 28 52 W4, Ranger W.H. Stephens built a log cabin to serve as the first Forestry Headquarters in the District of Alberta, Northwest Territories. The Stephens Cabin, on the Edmonton - Beaver Hills Trail, was a welcome stopping place for travellers to and from the Logan Settlement on West Beaver Hills Lake. Cooking Lake Forest Reserve was officially established June 05, 1899. Ranger Stephens, a well-known pioneer of Strathcona, served on this Forest Reserve from 1895 to 1912.

A la mémoire du garde forestier WILLIAM HENRY STEPHENS

En 1895, à l'emplacement NO 28 52 20 O4, le garde forestier W.H. Stephens a construit une cabane en bois rond qui est devenu le premier poste forestier du district de l'Alberta dans les Territories du Nord Ouest. La cabane Stephens, située le long du sentier Edmonton Beaver Hills, était un point d'arrêt très prise des voyageurs qui se rendaient à la colonie de Logan, sur le lac Beaver Hills Ouest ou qui en revenaient. La réserve forestière du lac Cooking a été établie le 5 juin 1899. Le garde forestier Stephens, pionnier très connu de Strathcona, y a travaillé de 1895 à 1912.

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