Thousands of trees to be planted in northern Saskatchewan

Local company tentree announced they will plant 7,000 trees in the Lac La Ronge Provincial Park in partnership with the provincial government.

Tentree plans to plant 7,000 trees in the Saskatchewan forest thinned by 2015 fires

Locals from the Lac La Ronge and Prince Albert areas will assist tentree and the provincial government with the tree planting. (Submitted by tentree)

On Thursday night, Saskatchewan company tentree announced its plans to plant 7,000 trees in the Lac La Ronge Provincial Park in partnership with the provincial government. 

Last summer, the Lac La Ronge area was severely burned by the wildfires that ravaged the north. Entire sections of the forest were decimated. 

Details of the revitalization project were revealed during the first night of Saskatchewan Fashion Week. 

As a brand that plants trees, that's what we're experts in. We're not looking to fight fires, we need to wait for the storm to settle and to assess the area.-Arthur Kononuk, creative director, tentree 

Creative director Arthur Kononuk said they weren't expecting the project to take off so quickly, because of how big the idea and the collaboration efforts were, but it did.

"We were able to find a perfect opportunity to launch it at Sask. Fashion Week."

The Lac La Ronge Provincial Park was badly burned in the 2015 wildfires. (Submitted by tentree)

They've collaborated with non-profits and other brands before, but this is tentree's first partnership with the government. 

In the early stages of the project, tentree employees and government officials toured the damaged northern forests.

The tour through the barren sites was emotional for Kononuk.

"It felt a lot different than watching it on TV or watching it on your computer. When you go and drive through these places that were burnt down, and all that remains are charred trees, it's an extremely eerie feeling and an overwhelming experience."

However, the experience was also exciting for Kononuk and his colleagues because they understood reforestation would be possible.

"We have hope for the future." 

The Wildfire Capsule

The company is familiar with an environment-focused business model as they plant 10 trees for every item sold. 

The newly released Wildfire Capsule is a line of 700 t-shirts and posters. Sales from this line will result in the new Lac La Ronge trees. Kononuk says the series stands out because every shirt and every poster is unique.

Burnt trees taken from the Lac La Ronge area were used to create the designs. 

"They're printed basically with a spoon and a hand," Kononuk said. 

Local company tentree plans to plant 7,000 trees in the Lac La Ronge area, to fill in the areas burned by the 2015 wildfires. (Submitted by tentree)

They worked with local business Articulate Ink to find a way to make the concept happen. The logistics of how to get the tree prints onto the items was the most challenging part of the project, he added.

The process isn't digital, and it demanded intensive labour as well as particular technique. 

"It's an interesting way to commemorate the loss of the trees, but also a sign of the future for the reforestation efforts that we're going to be helping stimulate."

The plan

Planting will take place this summer, around early June.  The chosen team of planters live in the Lac La Ronge and Prince Albert area.

The majority of trees will be planted in the campground areas. A location listing will be available online.

The species of trees and the locations were determined by the Ministry of Environment. 

"Working with tentree on this project has been a great opportunity for the Province," Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Mark Docherty said in a press release. 

"Though the boreal forest naturally regenerates itself, this opportunity to kick start the growth will be beneficial for the visitors of Lac La Ronge Provincial Park, who love the beauty and serenity that the forest environment offers."

Each item featured in tentree's Wildfire Capsule line is unique. (Submitted by tentree)

Kononuk said they planned with tourists in mind, noting they want to fill in the sparse spaces and restore the natural privacy that was once offered by the trees. 

He noted the goal is to stimulate and supplement the vegetation growth that has already begun naturally. When tentree first toured the area, they noticed there was evident signs of regrowth just months after the wildfires. 

"Wildfire will clear out millions and millions of trees, but it is a natural occurrence and it will regrow."

Wildfires to the west

The company has been focused on Saskatchewan, but they've already fielded questions about Fort McMurray. 

They shipped boxes of clothing donations to the evacuees on Thursday, and Kononuk said they will wait for the situation to cool down before they act.

"As a brand that plants trees, that's what we're experts in. We're not looking to fight fires, we need to wait for the storm to settle and to assess the area."

He noted some proceeds from the Wildfire Capsule project will go to the victims of the Fort McMurray fire.

The website for the new line launches at 12:00 a.m. CST Friday. 

In 2012, tentree found success on CBC's Dragons' Den and they were offered an investment of $100,000 for their environmentally-friendly clothing line.

The brand has since branched out and can be found in more than 350 locations in Canada.