Thunder Bay

New forestry roads in northwestern Ontario show how wood moves around

A proposed amendment to the Nagagami Forest Management Plan highlights how wood moves around northwestern Ontario much more than before — meaning logs that used to go to the nearest town, sometimes need to move from one forest unit to another before being cut into lumber.
More roads are proposed for the Nagagami Forest near Hornepayne, Ont., which will allow logging trucks to haul wood to mills farther away, but also avoid driving on provincial highways. (Erik White/CBC)

A proposed amendment to the Nagagami Forest Management Plan highlights how wood moves around northwestern Ontario much more than before — meaning logs that used to go to the nearest town, sometimes need to move from one forest unit to another before being cut into lumber.

Nagagami Forest Management Inc., the organization that manages the forest around Hornepayne, Ont., wants to make some major amendments to the existing plan, including the construction of new roads. Those roads would allow wood to move along forestry roads, instead of along provincial highways.

The improved road network means logs would be more easily moved between the Nagagami, Big Pic, Magpie and White River forests. The area in question stretches west of Manitouwadge to east of Dubreuilville.

Traditionally, logs from the Nagagami Forest would be allocated to the sawmill in Hornepayne. Now, the mill also has wood allocated from the Magpie forest, which traditionally fed the mill in Dubreuilville. 

Closures of mills in many communities in northwestern Ontario mean wood allocated to one mill is now allocated to mills in surrounding communities, as in Hornepayne. The mill in Dubreuilville closed in 2008.

The new roads also allow the wood to move to the closest community, said Rick Groves, the Manager of Government Relations for Hornepayne Lumber and White River Forest Products.

He said some of the changes with the new roads allow wood from the northern section of the White River forest to be used in Hornepayne, while fibre from the Magpie forest will get shipped to Hornepayne, without having to be trucked on provincial highways.

The new roads will save log haulers up to 120 kilometres of driving, and also allow logging companies to stay off provincial highways, resulting in cheaper fuel costs as well.

Groves said it is all part of a long-term strategy created by the owners of the two mills, who did not have a comprehensive plan earlier on how to move wood from one forest to another.

In addition to benefitting industry, the amendments would allow access for people to hunt and fish in the area, while also opening up sightseeing opportunities.

The public can view and comment on the forest management plans until April 21, 2019 at ontario.ca/forestplans.

About the Author

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now