The Forest History Program at Foothills Research Institute has its roots in a 1995 speech by Bob Udell - Building AAC on a Tenured FMA - at the Grande Prairie Forestry Show. At the conclusion of the speech, Prof. Les Reed of UBC (former ADM of Forestry Canada) rose to ask why no one to date had set forward the remarkable legacy of forest management at the Hinton Forest.
Weldwood was approaching its 40th anniversary of Alberta operations at Hinton. In 1996, it launched the project to record the natural and management history of its Hinton Forest, with Pete Murphy and Bob Udell as lead authors and Bob Stevenson as photo historian. As the project advanced, it soon was evident that placing the operation in the context of the larger landscape was very important. At the suggestion of Foothills Model Forest board member Dennis Quintilio, the project moved over to the Model Forest in 1997 and was expanded to add more reports and to encompass the entire model-forest land base. From this sprang the larger Forest History Program
Bob Udell established the program with support from the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA) and Weldwood of Canada Ltd. Soon after this, Peter Murphy, Bob Stevenson and Bob Bott joined the program team to provide their expertise and skills to the first projects. The program and its projects has received generous support from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, the Forest History Association of Alberta, the Alberta Lottery Foundation, the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta and Teck.