Gordon/Barrie Island property owner plans for future Priddle Park

Laing Bennett, of Algoma-Manitoulin Forestry Services holds up one of the 12,200 young red pine trees along with white spruce that are being planted on property just outside of Gore Bay. Regen Natural Resources has been contracted to plant the trees as part of the 50 million tree program.

GORDON/BARRIE ISLAND—A Gordon/Barrie Island property owner is having more than 12,000 trees planted on his property just outside of Gore Bay. One of the main reasons for reforestation of the property is for future plans are to create “Priddle Park” to provide for public camping.

“Basically, the reason I’m having the tree planting done on the property is for reforestation, environmental and wildlife reasons as well,” Gore Bay resident Cole McLaughlin told The Expositor last week. “And this is being done for landscaping of the property as well,” he said, noting “the long-term goal for all of this is that I would like to make this area a public place for future camping. Gore Bay and area needs it.”

The tree planting will also benefit, “the Western Manitoulin Community Garden that uses property in the area behind the fire hall,” said Mr. McLaughlin. “The trees that Laing Bennett and others are growing will provide shade and cover when they are fully grown and we will be able to plant various other species of trees on the property here as well.”

“The goal in the future is to open Priddle Park,” stated Mr. McLaughlin. “My mother is a Priddle and my grandfather was E.F. Priddle, mayor in the Town of Gore Bay for many years (1942-1956, and also during 1959-1960).”

Mr. McLaughlin explained, “I was looking for a source of tree planting funding, and the 50 Million Tree program came up in my search. I contacted Laing Bennett, of Algoma-Manitoulin Forestry Services (AMFS). He used to work for the Ontario Paper Company which used to own property at Vidal Bay, some of the property on Cockburn Island and some other property on Manitoulin Island.”

“This tree planting initiative is part of the Forest Ontario 50 Million Tree Program which is the sponsors. We partnered with Forest Ontario, the project developer on this project,” said Mr. Bennett. “When we are contacted by a client, we identify an area and prepare a plan for it. If it is satisfactory to the owner of the property, we can go ahead and submit an application for approval (from Forests Ontario).

Some of the 12,200 young red pine and white spruce trees being planted on a property just outside of Gore Bay.

“One of the problems with most of Manitoulin Island is that there isn’t a lot of soil,” said Mr. Bennett. “But there is excellent soil on this site.”
“In this case, Cole McLaughlin contacted me. He prepared the property for the tree planting,” said Mr. Bennett. “The tree planting area is 14.5 acres and Cole is considering additional  in the future. The planting is done with the landowner’s objectives in mind. He wants this tree planting to be carried out for shade and habitat restoration and to provide a legacy for his kids and for climate change.”

“We’re planting red pine and white spruce,” said Mr. Bennett. “Getting the property reforested is the first step in the process, and the landowner can then have more diverse forest cover (trees) planted  over time. In the summer, these young trees will basically be hidden by the grass so that deer and other animals won’t see and get at them.”

“We have done close to 14-15 tree plants on the Island over the years,” said Mr. Bennett. “On Manitoulin Island, the last one we did was at Clover Valley a couple of years ago.” AMFS also carries out tree planting programs on the North Shore. Our company has been working on Manitoulin and the North Shore for the past 16 years.”

Mr. Bennett explained, “12,200 trees are being planted at this site. Work started earlier this week and will be done Thursday afternoon. The company that we contract to carry out this work is Regen Natural Resources.”

The Regen Natural Resources (RNR) company has been contracted out by Algoma-Manitoulin Forestry Services to plant 12,200 red pine and white spruce trees on a property just outside of Gore Bay. From left are Kyle Hardenbrook, Matt Dreifelds and Peetrylia Wreggitt of RNR.

A second tree planning session was to begin last weekend at a property in Evansville, with 20,000 trees to be planted added Mr. Bennett.

Peetrylia Wreggit, forest technician/managing partner in Regen Natural Resources, said that a fixed number of trees are planted per acre, with enough room provided for each tree to grow to its maximum size. The tree-planting crew works from 7 am every morning until about 3 to 4 pm every day.”

“The trees we use are grown in Dryden,” said Mr. Bennett. “The red pine are two years old and frozen and boxed, and the white spruce are one-year-old when they are frozen and boxed. Each large box contains a minimum 250 trees each.

“The young small trees spend the winter frozen in boxes, and in the spring they have to be thawed out before they are planted,” said Mr. Bennett. “It will take around 4-5 years before they become seriously visible, after planting. We will come back next spring and do a survival assessment of the trees and make sure they are growing properly. We will do another assessment in five years.”

Ms. Wreggitt told The Expositor, “our company is based in Sault Ste. Marie and we were established about 20 years ago. Brent Attwell and I became managing partners of the business. We are the project delivery agents. We plant the trees. We will be planting about 90,000 trees this year.”’

Ms. Wreggitt said site-marking is carried out on a property and about 800 trees are planted per acre.