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The County of Renfrew owns 51 separate tracts of land covering over 15,800 acres (6,200 hectares) that is managed by a full-time Forestry Division. The County started acquiring abandoned farmlands in the 1950s that were better suited for forest than farming, in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources. The County of Renfrew entered into its first forest agreement on December 3, 1951 with the acquisition of 90 hectares in Westmeath Township. Land acquisition throughout the County continued until the 1970s and culminated in a total acquired area exceeding 6,200 hectares. On April 1, 2000, the County assumed full responsibility for these properties.
The County of Renfrew owns 51 separate properties (tracts) within 10 municipalities in 20 geographic townships. The tracts range in size from Tiny Tract at 10 hectares, to Pershick Tract at 545 hectares.
County of Renfrew properties are divided into two broad categories, productive and non-productive lands. Productive means lands capable of growing timber crops; non-productive means all other land types, such as swamps, lakes and rock outcrops. 84% of the 6,247 hectares is productive forest land, with the remainder in wetlands, water and other non-productive lands. The forests owned and managed by the County of Renfrew have achieved Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification (FSC® C018800) through the Eastern Ontario Model Forest’s Forest Certification Program. The FSC® is an international, membership-based, non-profit organization that supports environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests.
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44 of the 51 tracts are readily accessible by public roads; the remaining 7 tracts can only be reached on foot, by all-terrain vehicle or through private property.
In 2011, County of Renfrew forestry staff completed a comprehensive forest management plan that guides forest management activities, outlines permitted uses, and creates a strategic direction for the future use and development of the County’s forested lands. This Forest Management Plan, approved in April 2012, was an update to the 2006-11 Forest Management Plan.
In February 2007 County of Renfrew Council accepted a report entitled “The Development of a Trails Strategy” and tasked the Forestry Division with implementing the recommendations contained in the report. The Forestry Division has since instituted regular inspections of existing trails (K&P Corridor), worked with citizen’s groups interested in developing trails within the County, and is actively pursuing opportunities to acquire abandoned rail corridors for new trail development. K&P Corridor Management Plan
The Forestry Division assists local municipalities with their own forest management needs, including disaster recovery, forest inventory, management plans and timber sales when requested to do so by a County municipality. As forestry is a predominant industry in the County, the Forestry Division acts as an advocate for the industry when issues arise that may affect it. The Forestry Division also assists educational institutions and the general public with information and assistance when requested.
The County of Renfrew's Economic Development and Forestry Divisions have compiled a user-friendly and interactive directory of wood producers in the Ottawa Valley. Visit us online at www.OttawaValleyWood.com
The Renfrew County Forest is regarded as a “working forest” where forest management activities take precedence over all other activities. However, County forests are open to many forms of recreation, including hunting, fishing, hiking, skiing, snowmobile and ATV touring and nature appreciation. County By-law 92-09 restricts certain activities on the County Forest, including camping, open fires, and dumping, among other things.
Section 5.3.8 (page 46) of the Forest Management Plan details the County’s position on hunting in County Forests. In summary, hunting will continue to be permitted within the County forest. Hunters are required to be licensed and obey all regulations governing their sport, including seasons, bag limits, safety, etc. Only portable or temporary tree stands will be permitted. Bear baiting (the practice of using bait to attract bears to facilitate hunting) requires that the hunter have a Land Use Agreement with County of Renfrew to ensure the safety of staff that may be working in the area. Please see Section 220.127.116.11 (page 47) of the Forest Management Plan for further information.