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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Red Pine House: Forestry Education Centre

Midhurst | by Ian MacLennan  

County of Simcoe has the largest municipally-owned forest network in Ontario at 33,000 acres and growing.

Midhurst/September 24, 2019--Warden George Cornell was joined by fellow County Councillors, staff and area forestry partners on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 to unveil Simcoe County Museum's latest attraction--The Red Pine House: Forestry Education Centre.

The new building aligns with the County's #Green&Growing forestry program and pays tribute to the region's deep-rooted forestry history. The Education Centre features an exploration area for children ages 3-9, where children can learn about different elements of Simcoe County Forests, and provides information on the life of a tree--from seed to harvesting. The Centre also includes historic artifacts such as a tree planter, seed board and double bitted axe, among other pieces. Interpretive panels depict the chronological history of the forests of Simcoe County, beginning with the Indigenous use of the land, European settlement and the exploitation of the forests in the 1800's and early 1900's, and the subsequent conservation efforts led by the County and area partners. Details about the ongoing Kirtland's Warbler endangered species habitat restoration initiative are also highlighted.

In 1922, the County of Simcoe became the first municipality in the province to sign the Government of Ontario's Agreement Forest program. Since its inception, the Simcoe County Forest has become the largest municipally-owned forest network in Ontario spanning almost 33,000 acres across 150 properties. More than 20-million trees have been planted and all County forests are considered working forests, which provides revenue to the County to reinvest into forestry initiatives and land acquisitions.   

Materials for Red Pine House were provided by the Haliburton Forest and acquired by the County from Forests Ontario as part of a fundraising initiative.

"The County is proud of its forestry roots and ongoing efforts to grow and expand our forestry program," said Warden George Cornell. "It's National Forestry Week and I encourage residents to visit one of our many forest tracts and check out The Red Pine House to learn more about our deep forestry history."

Simcoe County Forest Quick facts:

Growing forests                                                                      

Largest municipally-owned forest network in Ontario at 33,000 acres and growing
3,000+ new acres of forest purchased by the County since 2010
150+ properties across Simcoe County
20M+ trees planted within the Simcoe County Forests
Includes 4,000+ acres of wetlands, streams and valleylands
Healthy living

Estimated ecological value of $34M annually
700+ km of trails are managed through partnerships with area clubs
Open to the public for recreational activities
Working forests benefiting the economy

2,000+ acres thinned annually to maintain forest health
All forestry revenues reinvested back into the forest
$35,000 annual contribution to local tree planting
Leaders in invasive species management


Photo courtesty County of Simcoe:  Warden George Cornell and County Forester Graeme Davis, with support from County Councillors,  mark the grand opening of the Simcoe County Museum's The Red Pine House:  Forestry Education Centre with an official log cutting ceremony.

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