COLUMN BY DON CAMERON – A walk in the woods
Karl and Faye Crawford's property in Scotsburn, Pictou Co., earned them the Central Region Woodland Owner of the Year Award. It will be open to the public on Saturday.
CUTLINE: Karl and Faye Crawford’s property in Scottsburn, Pictou Co. earned them the Central Region Woodland Owner of the Year Award. It will be open to the public on Saturday. SUBMITTED
It’s impossible not to love Karl and Faye Crawford’s property in Scotsburn, Pictou Co. There is something for everyone to appreciate: the expansive view of Prince Edward Island from the hilltop, the beautiful craftsmanship of their 250-year-old wood home and nearly 140 hectares (345 acres) of forested area including mature stands of spruce, pine, hemlock and tamarack.
The 187 hectares (463 acres) are an outdoorsman’s paradise due to the Crawford’s committed maintenance over the past 34 years to creating trails, wildlife habitat, and various silviculture and harvesting treatments.
It is for this commitment that Karl and Faye were named by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as the 2013 winner of the Central Region Woodland Owner of the Year Award.
And this weekend it will be open to the public to view. More on that later.
Hailing from Abercrombie, Karl believes owning woodland is one of the best investments one can make and encourages woodland owners to get out and enjoy their land.
One of the major benefits that he and his family have enjoyed over the years is using the property for recreational purposes such as cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and ATV’ing. In fact, Faye and Karl greatly enjoy daily drives throughout their network of property trails.
It is easy to see how much joy the Crawford’s have had living on their land while scanning through their old photo albums. The day-to-day activities on the woodland are meticulously recorded (with much thanks to Faye, Karl’s wife of 45 years).
A memorable event for the whole family, which also includes sons Kevin and Kris, was collaborating with Ducks Unlimited to release nearly 300 wood ducks in pond habitat on their woodland; an act that significantly contributed to the re-establishment of wood ducks in the province. The sons now manage Adventure Motors, which was started by Karl in 1992. It provides the family convenient access to ATVs and snowmobiles for exploring their woodland in all seasons.
The sheer volume of work that has been completed is impressive, as well as the flawless hand-saw pruning – a technique Karl has perfected while pruning thousands of crop trees. His future forestry plans include additional pruning, harvesting of mature stands (which he does on an as-needed basis) and some understory planting to promote development of un-even aged stands of long-lived species.
Already having accomplished so much, the Crawford’s remain busy with maintaining their forests along with 21 head of highland cattle and seven llamas.
Despite having some regrets about past management choices, they have a clear vision for their woodlands future. As Karl puts it, “forestry is such a long process; you can’t go back and re-do it, but you can learn from your experience.”
With a keen interest in learning about woodlands and forest management, Karl has a wealth of knowledge to share about his experiences and hopes his woodland can serve as an example for others.
This Saturday, the Department of Natural Resources, in conjunction with Karl and Faye, is holding a public field day and tour.
Visitors will have the opportunity to see and participate in a large number of interesting things including horse logging; portable sawmill; snowmobiles, ATV’s, and trailers; wildlife issues; wildfire prevention and suppression; conservation law enforcement; Protected Areas of Nova Scotia; Ecological forest management; wood furniture design and creation; tree carving; geology; Ducks Unlimited display; small scale woodland equipment; a variety of silviculture treatments; cultivating Christmas trees; forest insects and diseases; and various Pictou County organizations.
In fact, there are 29 different stations or activities for people to see. The highland cattle and llamas will also be popular attractions. Don’t forget to bring your camera.
A special feature of the field day is the unveiling of a noiseless, electric side-by-side off highway vehicle, which is the first one in the industry.
The format of the field day is informal. It begins at 9 a.m. Visitors can visit stations they wish to see at their leisure. There will be a pork chop barbeque dinner prepared by the Scotsburn Fire Department and community at a price of $10. Following some fine local entertainment by Katie Gunn and a brief ceremony, the site touring will continue until 4 p.m.
The location of the Crawford’s field day property is 873 Hardwood Hill Road, Scotsburn (GPS 0510569; 5058715).
For more information, call 902-893-5629, or visit: www.gov.ns.ca/natrwoodlot/woya.
Don Cameron is a regional forester with the Department of Natural Resources. He lives in Truro.