This wood will eventually end up in stores, garages, basements or other containment areas to be used as a heat source at a local home or cabin. This wood has been cut by the end-user or purchased for a nominal price.
When I worked for the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development on a work term with the Getting the Message Out program we promoted local entrepreneurship. One company, Newfoundland Firewood Ltd., located in Port Blandford, NL comes to mind when I think of our forest products.
The company produces bags of birch in small bags that are big enough for the fireplace or to roast marshmallows by a campsite fire. Consumer’s are willing to pay a premium for convenience. I remember last summer, when I tented at Gros Morne National Park. I purchased firewood at the campground, paying $8.00 for a very small bundle of wood. However, I only have a small car and when fully packed with camping gear, there isn’t much room left to carry firewood. Plus, wood can provide for a messy clean-up in the trunk.
This convenience factor would especially appeal to urbanites that live in areas allowing backyard fires or travelling to rural regions for incredible outdoor experiences. His products are available at parks and gas stations, which is a good complement to get product in the end consumer‘s hand.
However, I have yet to see much firewood on the Great Northern Peninsula sold this way? Is there a market, since there appears to be an abundance of wood in view along the highway? I know many people have backyard fires and there is a growing number of travellers using the highway. Will Newfoundland Firewood Ltd. enter the marketplace or will some other entrepreneur explore the business case of the Great Northern Peninsula and parts of Labrador?
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- Traditional Firewood to Heat our Homes (liveruralnl.com)
- Transition Towns?…the future for Rural Newfoundland (liveruralnl.com)
- Become self-sufficient in firewood – Telegraph (dddmacc502.wordpress.com)
Newfoundlander’s & Labradorian‘s have always depended on forests. The trees were used to build temporary residences for the first seasonal planters, which would eventually led to permanent settlement. Domestic firewood remains in high demand, and is the primary heat source for many of our homes or cabins in rural Newfoundland & Labrador.
To combat high energy costs, several weeks of the winter season would be dedicated to cutting domestic firewood to provide a source of heat for next winter.
I remember helping my father in the forest. We would pack up the sleigh full of cut wood and bring to the hillside near our home. During the summer, it would be my job to pack up the firewood into long rows (tier) with sufficient space to permit air to flow. This created a proper seasoned wood.
The process of cutting firewood is very time-consuming and can be costly considering you must pay a government permit, have a ski-doo with sleigh, a chain saw, gas and many human hours of packing and re-packing. A piece of firewood may move 6 or 7 times from when it is first cut to when it reaches the wood stove for burning.
Electricity only came to my neighbouring communities in the 1960’s, so this was a necessary heat source. Especially since winters were much colder in the past than they are today. Many residents, especially seasonal employees ensured they had enough wood to last through those long winter nights. I only wish that I possess the skill set that my father did for woodcutting. Today we purchase our firewood locally to support a continued growth of the rural economy. However, I still enjoy the exercise that comes with packing and re-packing the firewood. When it is part of the routine, it does not seem such a daunting chore.
The comfort one gains from the warmth of firewood and kindling coming through the floor is to much satisfaction. Firewood is a renewable resource and a good source of heat. It came in handy yesterday when the power was out. My home was nice and toasty, even with the temperatures still in the negative degrees.
There is more opportunity to be realized from our local forests. I will be attending a Forestry Conference – Rural Revitalization From Our Forests (April 13-15, 2010) and will keep you posted. If you would like to attend visit www.mfnl.com.
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