Legend of Radium, B.C.'s wizard woodcarver Rolf Heer to live on as a park

Rolf Heer is living in a trailer on his property in Radium Hot Springs as he begins rebuilding his home that was lost to a November fire

The memory of a popular but eccentric former resident of Radium, B.C. will live on after officials decided to turn his former property into a park.

The park will memorialize the life of Rolf Heer, the beloved character who for years defined the cultural spirit of the Columbia Valley in southeast B.C., and was known as the Radium Woodcarver.

Heer died in July 2020 after battling cancer.

The Radium Arts and Cultural Society crafted a plan, in tandem with Bassett’s Associates Landscape Architecture Inc., to create Woodcarver Park — Home of a Thousand Faces.

The park will be created on Heer’s former property, which once featured the attraction, just off Highway 93 in B.C.

Construction is planned to begin in 2022.

The park will feature what's left of Heer's woodcarvings, as his treehouse went up in flames in November 2018. Heer assumed he was at fault for the fire as he had forgot to completely put out a camp fire the night before.

The park will also feature a pavilion — shaped as a wizard hat — to honour Heer, and keep the presence of his character in the Columbia Valley Forest.

Valerie Bracken, president of the Radium Arts and Cultural Society says, “this park will be a space is for art, for community and remembering Rolf.”

For years, Heer welcomed people into his home to show off his stunning carvings and rooftop goats.

His house was even featured on an episode of HGTV’s Weird Homes.

Heer had always wanted his property — which he called The Home of a Thousand Faces — to be used as a public park after he passed away.

The Swiss-born Heer moved to Radium in 1979 at age 25 as a forester.

For the next 40 years, he created a collection of woodcarvings that made up the walls of his wooden castle, which he built by hand, by himself, creating makeshift wooden cranes and wooden winches when needed.

The Radium Arts and Cultural Society is searching for donations to meet the $1.1 million expense to cover the cost of constructing the park.

Anyone wanting to make a contribution to the Woodcarver Park Fund, can do so online.