Managing the forest at Camp Kintail is an important task, but it might be something you have never thought about. When Theresa & I started directing the camp we added a line item to the budget for trees for $1,500. Each winter we purchase trees through the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority‘s special tree planting program. This allows us access to native species trees at an excellent price. This year we have purchased:
- 10 white cedar
- 10 white spruce
- 10 sugar “hard” maple
- 15 autumn blaze maple
- 10 bur oak
- 10 red oak
- 10 sycamore
- 10 white birch.
These native species trees will be planted in spots that suit their soil type, moisture tolerance and shade/sun preferences!
The cedar forest is mature at the camp, so it has been important to diversify and update the forest. This year it is more important than ever, as we have cut down 50 dead ash trees all ready, and we need to cut down another 50 within the next year. All of the ash trees are infected with the Emerald Ash Borer and have died. Many of them are starting to rot and deteriorate, posing safety concerns. We had to have a specialist cut several down that were right beside the yurts, as one was threatening to split and land directly over 2 of the yurts. The arborist fastened chains around the tree going up to keep it from splitting. He had climbed about 100 feet up and planned to limb the tree but it was not in good enough condition. He cut it down and dropped it right beside the yurts, no damage at all! This was likely the tallest tree on Camp Kintail’s property. Most of them we can cut ourselves, and we have had some wonderful volunteers come and assist. We have been splitting the wood and have at least 3 years of firewood split at this point.
With the new hiking trail running through most parts of the forest at the camp, it makes the forest more accessible to guests. You will be able to enjoy some nice viewpoints on the trail of Lake Huron, Kerry’s Creek and the ravine along the creek. We are working on tree identification signs along the trail, with some benches for rest and viewing spots. We would like to add some bird feeders and bird houses, and would welcome donations of them to add along the trails. Any types are welcome, you can purchase ones we have picked out on our wish list on our website, or purchase or make any type of house or feeder and we will put it up.
The forest at Camp Kintail is an underrated treasure. Entering the canopy as you walk on the cabin path, going down through the trees to get to Lake Huron, sitting in the chapel and watching the light dance off the trees or the sounds as they move with the wind. Some of the first trees I planted have grown to 50 feet. It makes me happy to walk around and see kids playing in the shade of a new tree.
– Johnathon “Mercury” Lee