Sunday, October 03, 2004

Renfrew County Outdoor Woodlot Conference

Held at: the H. David Dick Property, 522 Scotch Bush Rd. Balaclava. Ontario (near Dacre).

Today Carroll and I attended this Conference. It was quite interesting, and operated like an outdoor workshop. It rained pretty hard in the afternoon so we huddled under an army tent undeterred. Got myself some chaps for chain-sawing and picked up some materials from exhibitors and suppliers such as the Ducks Unlimited, Ontario Woodlot Association, Forest Gene Conservation Association, Wetland Habitat fund and there were many others including commercial exhibits. We are both quite physically tired from much standing, walking over trees branches and twigs, and getting damp and cold so it is nice to be home.

The theme of the Conference was “Woodlot Sustainability in Action” and was organised by the Renfrew County Stewardship Council and the County Municipality of Renfrew.

There were sessions on White Pine Biology and Economics; White Pine Silviculture Treatements; Low Damage Logging; Poplar Management; and Utilisation of Balsam Fir and Cedar. This included walks up into the mountains to look at actual logging operations. Various types of operations were displayed including skidding of logs using a full sized Catapillar skidder, logs skidded by a team of horses, as well as a smaller low impact tractor with catapillar treads that I think is called a Forcat 2000, or looks like it anyway. The on site session ended with a demo of scarification using “barrel and chains”. Scarification is the process of disturbing the forest floor thus allowing new seeds to naturally germinate.

At lunch Algonquin College, Pembroke did a timbersports demonstration.

The overall approach of the conference was towards treating the Woodlot as a business and covered many practical business aspects.

The topography of the Renfrew area is quite different to North Gower with its beautiful hilly precambrian outcrops, while this area in North Gower is made up of basically gently sloping drumlins. Much of the Renfrew area is only good for woodlot unlike here were it is has been extensively farmed once the erratics – displaced rocks strewn all over and left behind by receding glaciers - are removed. The fall colours were at their best too.

Though we left cold and damp, it was definitely worth the one-hour drive down and back. I plan to go again next year.

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