The British Columbia Forestry Branch was created in 1912. They started out with three wooden boats (launches) that were used to patrol the Canada-US border to prevent the illegal export of logs, inspect timber applications, examine hand loggers' licenses, deal with timber theft, and enforce the Timber Mark Act.
Due to an increasing workload, six custom built boats were ordered in 1913 from the Hinton Electric Co. of Victoria. The Forestry Service later began building their own boats at the Marine Station at Thurston Bay and later on the Fraser River. Over a hundred boats were built between 1924 and 1968. Other boats were acquired and extensively rebuilt to suit the changing needs of the Forestry Service. Over the years, boats were built or acquired for timber cruising, inspections, transporting equipment and tree seedlings, and as accommodation for inventory and other crews.
The fleet reached its peak in the 1950s and 1960s, but wooden boat construction began to decline in the 1970s with the advent of fiberglass, steel and aluminum vessels. The Ministry of Forests held the first large sale of their wooden boats in 1974.
The Ex-Forest Service Squadron was formed in 1992 after a reunion of Ex-Forest Service vessels in the Pender Harbour Area. The Ex-Forestry Service Vessel Squadron consists of Ex-Forest Service vessels that were once used by the B.C. Forest Service. Vessels that also served in Fisheries, Public Works, Police, Coast Guard and Hospital/Mission may also join the Squadron as Associate Members. Its purpose is to maintain the history of these vessels and their personnel.At its AGM on July 2, 1994, the Squadron decided to retain its informal organizational structure that includes:
A statement of purpose and membership categories/qualifications further guides the Squadron. The Squadron holds Rendezvous, at least once a year. At these meetings, vessels are displayed to the public.
The collection consists of Ex-Forestry Vessel Squadron Association documentation, such as textual records, photographs, personnel and vessel lists, reports regarding the physical condition of the Dean Ranger, logbook of the Dean Ranger, and newsletters. Collection also contains manuscripts, proofs and galleys, illustrations and photographs used in Forest Ranger, Ahoy! by Michael Coney (Sidney, B.C. : Porthole Press, 1983). The CD contains footage of the 2005 rendevouz.