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A WALK IN THE WOODS – By Don Cameron: A rare opportunity to explore woodlands

Peter and Pat Spicer, Nova Scotia's 2017 Woodlot Owners of the Year.
Peter and Pat Spicer, Nova Scotia's 2017 Woodlot Owners of the Year.

TRURO, N.S. – There is an open invitation for people who would like to enjoy a walk in the Spicer woods.

This Saturday, Sept. 30, a special field day at Spencer’s Island, Cumberland County will appeal to those that like the woods and the multiple forest resources within.

It will be especially valuable to those who own forestland and have an interest in learning about options available for managing their land. 

The public field day is being organized by DNR, Athol Forestry and other partners to recognize the 2017 winner of the Nova Scotia Woodland Owner of the Year Award, Peter and Pat Spicer.

The Spicers own 1,600 acres of impressive woodland in Spencer’s Island, located near Advocate, home of Cape Chignecto Provincial Park. The field day runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be something to interest visitors of all ages and experience.

The woodland has been in the Spicer family for seven generations. Peter’s father, Max, was a well known and respected forest manager and character.

This unique woodlot was a major supplier of high quality wood products to the shipbuilding industry that once operated in Spencer’s Island. It continues to provide social and economic benefits for the Spicers and the community. In fact, visitors will see large stands of very large, old-growth red spruce forest throughout the property of which the Spicers are rightfully proud.

After Max died, Peter took over managing the property, approximately 14 years ago after retiring from his busy teaching and coaching career. He and Pat started managing it as a business known as Seven Gulches Forest Products. It has been an incredible journey for both Peter and Pat, and their two adult daughters.  

The diversity of the Spicers’ stunning woodland creates opportunities to manage for values and products ranging from large healthy red spruce timber to cross country skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, and wildlife viewing and photography

The Spicers have an objective of maintaining an uneven-aged, healthy forest that is both productive economically but also provides many ecological and recreational benefits for the long term. As a hands-on every day woods manager, Peter is aware of the value and opportunities on their land and follows best management practices for each unique area. With a keen interest in learning about woodlands and forest management, the Spicers have a wealth of knowledge to share about their experiences and hope their woodland can serve as an example for others.

Visitors will be able to tour the Spicers woodland by foot, or via vans, which will continually circulate the woodland roads. Anyone who currently owns woodland, or hopes to do so in the future, will be able to see and learn about things that might be of us.  There will be more than 20 stations set up around the property focusing on a wide variety of topics including: wildlife, large and small forestry equipment, conservation, silviculture treatment demonstrations, forest harvesting, portable sawmill, wood carving, woodlot owner groups, local history, local available services, helicopter, geology, motorized and non-motorized recreation, forest insects, wildfire, forest ecology, and others.

Visitors can travel at their own pace and visit as many stations as they like. At each, visitors can join in discussions with local experts and share woodland management knowledge. There will be a lunch at the large tent at noon, for $10 each, as well as presentations, and prize draws.

The property is located in Spencer’s Island, Cumberland County, opposite #5006, Highway 209, and signs will be posted.

See and learn more about the Spicers’ woodland by visiting the DNR website at:  or by calling 902-893-6415.


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