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6/25/2018 9:47 am  #1

Wood from up North

So here is an open question .. .see if you can make sense of it ...

I was at an Ontario Park recently (not Algonquin but close) and bought some firewood ... I have not been impressed with the quality of the firewood the last few years so I asked if this was dry .. they responded something like "yes its really good wood .. we get it shipped in from up north" ...

In the meantime in this park there are literally trees that have died and fallen over and many others that the ash borer has killed and need to come down right in this park ... I wonder about the logic in shipping wood down form "way up north" vs. cutting dead wood in the park?  I get the fact that they want to keep things in a natural state but does it not seem silly to not at least take some of the dead stuff from the ash borer rather than up north   


6/25/2018 10:02 am  #2

Re: Wood from up North

Cost as much as anything, but also just practicality. They're not going to send park employees out into the forest scavenging for dead trees. That would be super expensive and impractical on the scale any Ontario park needs. Plus those dead trees become nutrients for the next generation of the forest, so you wouldn't really want to do that even if you could. 


6/25/2018 10:36 am  #3

Re: Wood from up North

There is no inherent value in the firewood being harvested "up north". Following the parks own emphatic messaging to not move firewood it really should be sourced as locally as possible. That would also contribute to true sustainability.

You could also argue that local sourcing of firewood is an important factor in achieving goals for maintaining ecological integrity. If firewood is being imported from significant distances, then while the ecological integrity within the relatively small area of the park may benefit, it is at the cost of impacting the ecological integrity of the locations where the firewood is being harvested. 


6/25/2018 11:18 am  #4

Re: Wood from up North

Hi Rob ... that's what I thought  too ... however Uppa is right in that a fallen tree does support a lot of species of animal and fungi, etc.  It's surprising how many salamanders you will find when you turn over a log. 

However the greater Ottawa area has been devastated by the emerald ash borer ... so there's ash standing dead everywhere ... and the parks are just as bad.  So to me when there are trees near the main roads that are dead or pretty much dead then why not cut them and sell the wood in the park?  You have to think that's better than shipping wood in or could save a few $$ for the parks ...

     Thread Starter

6/25/2018 12:31 pm  #5

Re: Wood from up North

Just to clarify, when I referred to sourcing wood locally, I didn't necessarily mean within the park itself. Southern Ontario has quite a few wood lots and it should be feasible for southern Ontario parks to source their firewood from relatively local sources. For example, the Pinery (which is a tree plantation itself) should be able to readily source firewood from within a 50 mile radius.

A couple of years ago, Kilbear culled most of the beech trees in the park in response to Beech Bark Disease infections.  Beech Bark Disease is an invasive from Europe.  

Beech is an extremely good firewood - even better than hard maple - but I have not been able to find any information on what was done with the culled trees. You would hope that they would have been cut and sold for firewood within Kilbear. Alternatively it may have been sold and milled as it can be a valuable hardwood for woodworking.

I think that example compares pretty closely to what you are asking with regards to ash. If the trees are being harvested anyway, then could the harvested wood be used within the parks. I expect that most ash that is harvested is being milled as it is considered quite valuable for many uses, including wooden canoe gunwales. That said, white ash does have a higher BTU rating than white birch which makes it a good firewood choice too. 


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