Midhurst Forest Station, 1922 – 1993

Majestic stands of pine…become a ghostly landscape of pine stumps, worn-out pasture and weedy, second growth.

 

 

The superintendent’s house, Ministry of Natural Resources, Highway 26, Midhurst.

Excerpt:

Midhurst Forest Station (Established 1922)

Great majestic stands of pine. That’s the way it was in the early 1800’s. But the settlers and lumbermen were a rugged, tough breed, and the tall trees fell to the axe.

By 1875, the entire area of the Midhurst Forest Station had not only been cleared, but had become a ghostly landscape of pine stumps, worn-out pasture and weedy, second growth. For, as the land was stripped of its magnificent stands of white pine, the sandy soil lost its protective carpet of pine needles.

Before the end of the century, foresters, farmers and politicians were promoting the belief that trees must be brought back to stabilize the eroding soil. And, it was now obvious that the pine lumber resource was indeed exhaustible…

…In 1904, the Ontario Government established its first Forest Tree Nursery at the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph, and a year later, handed out 10,000 free trees for planting on private land.

At this time, E.C. Drury, a farmer at Crown Hill, was actively interested in conservation, and a staunch supporter of the program of reforestation proposed by E.J. Zavitz, a forester full of ideas and energy….

…That same Fall (1921), Charlie Wattie, Reeve of Vespra, put through the deal of the county and province, to purchase the original 1,000 acres of the nursery and adjacent reforestation area for fifty cents an acre. Today, the property totals an area of approximately 2,000 acres.

Mary Russell

A History of Vespra Township, The Vespra Township Council, Allan Anderson & Betty Tomlinson Anderson, Editors, 1987, p. 150-1.

— Image: Postcard, Les Stewart

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