A lot of material and quotes has been taken from an unpublished and untitled 77-page Forest Protection Limited report that covered the years 1951 to 1960.
“In the United States, in the states of Oregon and Washington, a large-scale spraying program against the spruce budworm had been initiated in 1949, and had been undertaken in every year since. Encouraging reports on this program were coming in.” In New Brunswick, “no one knew whether a technique suitable for the Douglas fir forest of the northwest would fit conditions in the continuous and highly susceptible balsam fir and spruce forest of northern New Brunswick.”
In 1951, W.H. Irvine joined the project as aviation consultant. “In Yakima, Washington, Irvine found Al Baxter, a solid, chunky man with a big cigar and plenty of confidence, who said his outfit – Central Aircraft – could do the job.”
According to a 1952 letter from The New Brunswick International Paper Company (W.H. Irvine, Aviation Consultant) to interested operators in Canada and the United States, best results are obtained by Stearman AN75N1 equipped with a Wasp engine and boom-type spray rigs. There appeared to be only one in Canada, so several were hired from Central, who hired and trained Canadian pilots at the request of the Canadian government. The operation was patterned “on operations carried out in Oregon, where forest spray operations have been carried out for years.”
It was November before the decision was made to build an airstrip in the bush. One day, Irvine spotted the best location from the air – a long flat between two branches of Ramsay Brook.” On Nov 24 the construction of the 760 metre Budworm City Airstrip was commenced in Northern New Brunswick by NBIP (New Brunswick International Paper Co.). The work was done by Ashley A. Colter’s Diamond Construction Company. Camps were built to house 200 people.
Background: Spruce Budworm and the Stearman
The companion site to this Stearman Archive gives the background as to why the Province of New Brunswick fought the spruce budworm and why Stearmans were chosen to apply the insecticide. See Spruce Budworm and Spray Aircraft in the New Brunswick Context: 1950’s to 1980’s.