“Parks Canada is pleased to have collaborated on such a great project. NSCC students should be very proud of the lasting legacy of their work on Wil-Bo-Wil cabin.” ~ Eric LeBel, Superintendent, Kejimkujik
The Wil-Bo-Wil Wilderness Camp got its name from the original cabin owners who were from the Berwick area: William Bligh (Will), Boyd Dakin (Bo), and Wilfred Heffler (Will).
Norm Green, co-founder, Friends of Keji and Stephen Hayward, NSCC Heritage Carpentry student.
Stephen Hayward and his classmates were excited to move from their classroom to the backwoods of Kejimkujik National Park – despite having to "fight off mosquitos and share our workspace with curious wildlife.”
Stephen, a former Bermudian fire service employee and recent newcomer to Nova Scotia’s South Shore, was part of a Heritage Carpentry class tasked with restoring a piece of the park's heritage.
Long before the area became a national park, hunting cabins were sprinkled throughout this beautiful back-country. Although in poor shape, one cabin from the early 1930’s named Wil-Bo-Wil, was still standing when the national park area was established more than 40 years ago. When ‘Wil-Bo-Wil’ finally fell victim to the elements, the Friends of Keji Cooperating Association decided to re-build it, true to its original form, so that future generations could enjoy it too.
The project took years of planning and a lot of help from the community. Students and faculty from three programs at NSCC’s Lunenburg Campus helped breathe new life into Wil-Bo-Wil. In addition to the craftsmanship contributed by Stephen and his Heritage Carpentry classmates, Drafting-Architectural students developed the plan based on details of the original cabin and Natural Resources Environmental Technology students worked with Parks Canada to choose a site that helped make sure the 16’ x 24’ structure would have as little impact as possible on the environment.
When the pre-assembled pieces were complete, members of 143 Construction Engineering Flight, a Canadian Forces reserve unit in Bridgewater, transported them to the remote site.
“Thanks to our partners and their talents, we are able to preserve a piece of history and make visible an era now passed,” says Norm Green, co-founder, Friends of Keji.
Stephen says working on the cabin was a special experience that left him feeling a deeper connection to Keji’s past. “It was so much more than just lumber and nails…there’s kind of a soul about it. I felt like we left a little piece of ourselves there in the build."