Most of the tree planting season has concluded for Burns Lake with a successful planting season, despite the Covid delays and restrictions.
On June 28, Waterside Ventures wrapped up their planting in the region. Shaemus Hughes of the Waterside Ventures told Lakes District News that the planting went great and just as planned despite the Covid restrictions.
“It was the best season I’ve ever had. The crew I had was really respectful and hard working and seemed to be grateful that we actually did get to have a season,” said Hughes.
The company had a crew of 50 people, with 20 in town and 30 living at the camp. The crew didn’t have any signs of Covid nor did anyone need to be quarantined beyond the mandate. In fact, Hughes said that there was not even a single sick day taken and except one planter who had to quit due to an old football injury, everyone was there present, everyday.
“We planted 37 work days for a total of around 2.5 million trees. We don’t plan on doing any summer planting but I do have some brushing starting July 7. It should go until the end of the month,” said Hughes.
Brushing or brush cutting is cutting out all of the trees that are competing with the trees that have been planted. According to Hughes, brushing usually happens a few years after a block is planted. However, the deciduous trees such as aspen or alder grow faster and compete with the crop trees such as pine or spruce.
“They need to be cut down in order for the crop trees to grow faster and be more successful. We do that using a brush saw or chain saw,” he said.
Provincially, a total of 310 million trees were planned to be planted and blocks were scheduled for reforestation this planting season throughout the Nadina Natural Resource District. Hybrid 17, another company that was planting this season in and around Burns Lake was planning to plant around 5 million trees from May to the end of June.
They have also just finished their planting season this weekend after planting about 5.1 million trees. The company had 68 planters and two supervisors for this planting season.
Lasse Lutick, owner of Hybrid 17 said that although the planters made good money, and it was a good season for them, it was really tough on the upper management due to the Covid restrictions.
“It was very difficult not ever going in to town for planters but we managed to keep people happy. We had a commissary, where we provided them with everything they need,” said Lutick, who did several runs in to the village to buy things for the planters, right from food to foot cream and several special requests.
Despite the difficulties however, Lutick agreed that it was a successful season.
“I don’t know if I made any money but we planted the trees, nobody got injured, nobody got Covid, so I feel that pulling that off was actually very difficult and we managed to do it, so it was successful over all,” he said.
The planting season had a slight delay this year and also had several restrictions in place in terms of the tree planters’ interactions with each other and others in the community. While Hybrid 17 had a successful, but stressful season due to the Covid restrictions, Waterside Ventures’ Hughes felt differently on the matter.
“I’d say it was a very successful season and if anything, the covid thing made it better. I feel it brought out more compassion in everyone because we were all in this together and we all wanted a successful season so that we are able to plant next year. It seemed like nobody wanted to go home because they would just be going back to sitting at home with nothing to do,” said Hughes.