Thunder Bay

Attracting wildlife, developing trails part of property management in rural Thunder Bay

If you have a few hectares of rural property, but really don't know what to do with it, Jeremy Innanen has a solution.

New business can develop plans from one to hundreds of hectares

Jeremy Innanen, the owner of Innanen Outdoors, says he can help rural property owners design and build trails, create wildlife habitat and attract wildlife to specific areas. (Submitted by Jeremy Innanen)

If you have a few hectares of rural property, but really don't know what to do with it, Jeremy Innanen has a solution.

Innanen, who owns Innanen Outdoors, said he saw a need to give landowners some help with trail development, creating habitat, or growing food for horses and livestock.

"A lot of people own semi-rural properties and own chunks of land that really do fully enjoy having that property. So, giving them all the tools and the knowledge to help them, provide them with their property dreams," he said.

Innanen said the idea of tailoring a property to attract specific animals, like white tailed deer, is more popular in southern Ontario or the midwest U.S.

"Your property gets utilized at different times of the year regarding travel of animals and the reason why they use those areas," he said, noting that after a site visit, he could have a decent idea of where and why particular species would use a particular piece of land.

"The [food] availability at certain times of the year for certain browsing and grazing wildlife species such as whitetail deer. Obviously our moose are part of that. And grouse, black bears, everything basically that travels along our backyards of northwestern Ontario utilize different forms and plants for different times of the year."

Innanen Outdoors uses small pieces of farm equipment to help habitat or ideal growing conditions for hay, as part of its land use management services. (Submitted by Jeremy Innanen)

Innanen said he uses some small farming equipment, as well as soil sampling to determine the best use of land, be it for specific wildlife, or for growing food for horses or wildlife. He said the increasing cost of hay for many horse owners has him determining the best areas for pasture.

For people who don't hunt or do not own horses or other livestock, Innanen said rural properties can be designed to simply attract more wildlife for viewing.

He said part of the business will develop trails, highlighting natural features. In the winter, he also has the ability to groom cross-country ski trails.

"It's an enjoyable experience just to be out in nature and see more animals and have more animals in my property."

Innanen Outdoors, a new company in Thunder Bay, Ont., can help rural property owners determine the best use for their land, including wildlife habitat and trail building. (Supplied by Jeremy Innanem)

"So implementing those techniques to attract that wildlife and increasing my odds of always seeing them on my property is kind of what gave me the idea of I'm sure a lot of other property owners would like to have the full enjoyment of utilizing their property in this way."


Jeff Walters

Former CBC reporter

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff worked in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario.