The forestry industry contributes substantial to the socio-economic benefits of the PARC communities through the harvesting of timber and the production of forest products, goods and services. Historically large volumes of softwood have been harvested mostly in the Duck Mountain as settlers first arrived and saw mills were set up in the area. The Burrows Mill built by Theodore Burrows at Grandview in the early 1900’s was very successful as the population grew to more than 8,000 residents. Although the mill is now closed, during this settlement era about 100,000 m3 were harvested annually for saw logs. By the 1970’s the harvest volume more than doubled and today it is expected that more than 450,000 m3 of hardwood and 200,000 m3 of softwood that is extracted from the Duck Mountain annually for existing forest operations.
Based on the CLI classifications for forestry, the region is composed primarily of Class 3 and 4 capacity lands, which is of high forestry significance; since there is no Class 1 or 2 forestry lands in Manitoba. Forest species are predominantly aspen parkland with some trembling aspen in low spots. Balsam poplar, white elm, green ash and Manitoba maple are common along rivers and on alluvial soils. At higher elevations there is a southward extension of the boreal forest which has a mixture of white spruce, balsam fir, jack pine, aspen and birch. Other species in the forest include bur oak, elm and Manitoba maple. There are a number of significant logging operations harvesting trees within the Duck Mountain Provincial Forest.
This forested land is primarily on Crown land and is associated with river valleys and sloping land in the Duck Mountain and Riding Mountain region, and provides the additional benefit of diminishing the potential for soil and water erosion. In particular, most of the Crown land outside of the Duck Mountain is concentrated in the eastern parts of the Municipality of Hillsburg-Roblin-Shell River (8,161 acres) and the northern areas of the Municipality of Ethelbert (25,000 acres). The Garland Forest Project located on the NW and NE half of 22-31-21W, north of the Village of Ethelbert, is an experimental managed grazing system of hardwood timber. The project is supported by Intermountain Conservation Group, Louisiana-Pacific, Manitoba Conservation, Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, the Municipality of Ethelbert and local producers.
The Duck Mountain Provincial Park is part of a larger forestry unit known as Forest Management Unit (FMU) Area 3. Commercial logging occurs in the park in the Resource Management Land Use category (LUC). About 61% of the park lies within this LUC, but only a small percentage is harvested each year. The communities are included in the Mountain Forest Section of Manitoba’s Forest Zone, specifically within the western portion of Forest Management Unit 10 (FMU10). FMU10 includes the area between the Duck Mountain Provincial Forest & Park and Riding Mountain National Park from the Saskatchewan border to Lake Manitoba.
Although there is privately held woodlots and provincial and federally owned forests in the region, much of the forestry activity for the area has been in the Duck Mountain Provincial Forest where there is an abundance of hardwood and softwood. Louisiana-Pacific OSB plant and Spruce Products both operate along the northern boundary of the Duck Mountain and employs most of the local loggers and haulers in the greater Parkland region. The northern areas of the Municipality of Ethelbert are dominated by Crown Land and an abundance of forested areas and there are 3,303 hectares (8,161 acres) of Crown land in the Hillsburg area.
The Duck Mountain, bordering the PARC region, was established in 1961 and is one of the four original provincial parks in Manitoba. The Duck Mountain Provincial Forest spans 3,370 km2 and the 1,424.3 km2 Duck Mountain Provincial Park, located in the Provincial Forest, is about 30 km to the north of the western portion of the Riding Mountain National Park. The forest is being managed for the extraction of forest products and some logging has been approved for the provincial park. Only 469 km2 of the park are prohibited from resource development such as logging, mining or drilling for oil. The mountain is part of the highlands in western Manitoba known as the Manitoba Escarpment. The terraced ridge separates the rolling plateau from the lowlands of central Manitoba. Baldy Mountain is 831 metres above mean sea level and is the highest elevation in Manitoba.
Manitoba Conservation oversees forestry operations in the park. Planning and implementation of forest harvest activities in areas approved for harvest is primarily the responsibility of Louisiana Pacific Canada Ltd., under license and from allocated annual private quota holders who carry out the logging in the park. Forestry activities are determined through processes such as Forest Management and Environmental Licensing. There are special conditions for cutting in the park such as; hauling and operation restrictions, access road limitations, road closure and buffers to distance recreation, wild life and viewscapes. Public input is achieved through Forest Management Plan and Annual Operating Plan Reviews. There are approximately 40 quota holders who are licensed to extract and sell timber in the area.
The forest in the Riding Mountain National Park is owned by the Government of Canada and harvesting is prohibited. However, some select cutting is done for general management near populated areas, trails, utilities and transportation routes.
Woodlot Forested Acres
|Rural Municipality||Productive Acres||Non-Productive Acres||Total Forested Acres|
|Total in Region||439,468,135||71,655,172||511,125,307|