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COLUMN: Opportunity to explore woods on Spencers Island


By Don Cameron All are invited this Saturday to a special field day at Spencers Island, Cumberland County, to enjoy the woods and the multiple forest resources within.

It will be especially valuable to those who own forest land and have an interest in learning options for managing it. 

The public field day is being organized by DNR, Athol Forestry and other partners to recognize the 2017 winner of the Nova Scotia Woodland Owner of the Year Award – Peter and Pat Spicer. The Spicers own 1,600 acres of impressive woodland in Spencers Island, near Advocate and Cape Chignecto Provincial Park.

The field day will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a relaxed drop-in-when-available format. There will be something to interest visitors of all ages and experience. The woodland has been in the Spicer family for seven generations. Peter’s father, Max, was a well-known and respected forest manager and character.

This unique woodlot was a major supplier of high-quality wood products to the shipbuilding industry in Spencers Island. It continues to provide social and economic benefits for the Spicers and the community. In fact, visitors will be able to see large stands of very large, old-growth red spruce throughout the property of which the Spicers are rightfully proud.

After Max died, Peter took over managing the property, approximately 14 years ago after retiring from his busy teaching and coaching career. He and Pat started managing it as a business known as Seven Gulches Forest Products. It has been an incredible journey for both Peter and Pat, and their two adult daughters.  

The diversity of the Spicers’ stunning woodland creates opportunities ranging from large healthy red spruce timber to cross country skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, and wildlife viewing and photography. The Spicers have an objective of maintaining an uneven-aged, healthy forest that is both productive economical but also provides many ecological and recreational benefits for the long term. As a hands-on everyday woods manager, Peter is aware of the value and opportunities and follows best management practices for each unique area. With a keen interest in learning about woodlands and forest management, the Spicers have a wealth of knowledge to share and hope their woodland can serve as an example for others.

Visitors will be able to tour the Spicers’ woodland by foot, or via vans which will continually circulate the woodland roads. If you currently own woodland, or hope to do so in the future, you will be able to see and learn about things that might be of use to you. There will be more than 20 stations around the property focusing on a variety of topics including: wildlife, forestry equipment – large and small, conservation, silviculture treatment demonstrations, forest harvesting, portable sawmill, wood carving, woodlot owner groups, local history, local available services, helicopter, geology, motorized and non-motorized recreation, forest insects, wildfire, forest ecology, and others.

Visitors can travel at their own pace and visit as many stations as desired. At each station, visitors will have the opportunity to join in discussions with local experts and share woodland management knowledge. Everyone is invited to the large tent at noon for lunch (at a cost of $10 each), presentations, and prize draws.

The property is located in Spencer’s Island, Cumberland County, opposite #5006, Highway 209. Just look for the signs.

See and learn more about the Spicers’ woodland by visiting the the DNR website at: novascotia.ca/woodlandaward or by calling 902-893-6415.

 

Don Cameron is a regional forester with the Department of Natural Resources.

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