Some Large White Pines in the Deep River / Chalk River Area
This pages comprises photos and approximate measurements of some large white pines - Pinus strobus - in the Point Alexander, Deep River, Chalk River, Petawawa Research Forest area of the upper Ottawa Valley. It is not a comprehensive list; rather, it is a compilation of some data we have collected about some of our favorite trees. We are certain that there are many other worthy white pines out there.
The Eastern White Pine is the provincial tree of Ontario Many fine specimens of this majestic tree are to be found in the upper Ottawa Valley.
Quoting I.C.M. Plaice in 75 Years of Research in the Woods:
Until 1840, the region supported magnificent stands of red pine and white pine. For the next 30 years, though, demand of the British market for square pine timber and ship masts led to highly selective cutting of the best trees ... By 1870, most of the original pine stands in the [Petawawa] Military Reserve had been logged for these products. Timber sales ... led to the removal of all of the remaining large accessible red and white pine for sawing into lumber for the Canadian and American markets [by about 1890].
Settlement of the eastern half of the Military Reserve began in the 1880s. Extensive fires accompanied logging and land clearance. In 1868, for example, fire burned from the Ottawa River to Lake Traverse on the upper Petawawa and in 1876, a careless river-driver was blamed for fires that ran through the back country from the Petawawa to the Bonnechere River. On the forestry station itself, six major fires occurred between 1860 and 1917 — it was the last fire that gave rise to many of the aspen and jack pine stands northeast of Highway 17. Little of the area escaped fire completely and many parts were burned several times. Thus most of the present forest has originated after fire, logging and clearing. The most conspicuous effects of burning were the replacement of almost pure stands of red and white pine on light soils by mixtures of aspen, white birch, red maple, balsam fir, white spruce, white pine, and red pine.
Consequently few, (and probably none), of the original mature white pines remain. Most of the large local white pines are post logging, settlement and fire. While they are large and majestic trees, most have trunk circumferences at chest height of 8 feet or less (80 cm diameter). These are large trees, but none challenge the original growth white pine tree in Haliburton County that has a diameter of 172 cm (213 inches in circumference) [at Dividing Lake?].
But there are some large white pines out there. These, no doubt, were smaller trees that somehow managed to escape the settlers, the loggers and the fires. Pines as large as 127 cm in diameter (157 inches circumference) have been measured in the Petawawa Research Forest, but we have no knowledge whether such trees still exist.
(There are several other white pines in the area that we need to check out for inclusion on this page — that we are aware of and probably even more that we aren't! However if we set this page aside now, it may never see the light of day. So our plan is to check out these trees later and then revisit this page.)
We report circumference at chest height measured in inches, rather than diameter in centimeters, because the former is what we measure. Also, the conversion between circumference and diameter based on π is only strictly correct if the cross section is truly circular. I have no idea whether "real" foresters worry about that or not.
John Laird Farrar (1995), Trees in Canada, Fitzhenry and Whiteside Limited and The Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources, Canada.
I.C.M. Place (2002), 75 Years of Research in the Woods, A History of Petawawa Forest Experiment Station and Petawawa National Forestry Institute, General Store Publishing House, Renfrew.
Dan Strickland (1991), The Trees of Algonquin Park, The Friends of Algonquin Park.