British Columbia

Prince George park home to new series of tree carvings

If you feel you're being watched in Cottonwood Island Park in Prince George, you're not paranoid: you're just seeing the work of carver Elmer Gunderson.

Elmer Gunderson carved new faces into park trees this week after a first batch a decade ago

One of the 15 or so faces carver Elmer Gunderson made in the trees of Cottonwood Island Park. (Elmer Gunderson/Facebook)

If you can't see the forest for the trees, don't worry — in Cottonwood Island Park in Prince George, the forest looks for you.

That's because dozens of faces have been carved into the trees by artist Elmer Gunderson. 

"I think it was around 2005, the mayor at the time, Colin Kinsley, he knew I was a carver and asked me to go down to Cottonwood Island park and put a few faces in the trees," Gunderson told Radio West host Audrey McKinnon.

In addition to the faces, Gunderson carved little "condos," as he calls them, into the trees. (Elmer Gunderson/Facebook)

"Since then, Mother Nature's taken a couple of them and sent them down the river, so … now I'm back putting new ones in."

The intricately detailed faces are about the size of the palm of your hand. Some are in plain sight, others are off the beaten path. He estimates there are about 15 carvings in all.

Gunderson says it's been fun watching people go on "scavenger hunts" to find all of the faces he's carved.

"It's just so heartwarming to see the expressions on their faces when they look up and see these different things in the trees," he said. "Everyone's been so helpful and rewarding to me and encouraging me and thanking me. You can't describe it."

With files from CBC Radio One's Radio West

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: A gallery you won't want to leaf: carver puts faces in trees of Cottonwood Island Park