Tour of Renfrew County

Ottawa Valley Section Tour of Renfrew County

On May 19th, a week before the devastating storm that struck Southern Ontario and western Quebec, a small group of Ottawa Valley Section members organized a much anticipated one day tour of forest related sites around Renfrew County. Organized and hosted by Dave Lemkay, the group included OVS Councilors George Bruemmer and Jim Farrell, Rod Smith and Leo Hall, a long-time forest landowner, manager, and forestry entrepreneur.

Our first stop was at Kerry Foods International Kerry Taste and Nutrition Ingredients and Expertise | Kerry, a global multi-national food company with headquarters in Ireland. A number of years ago they bought Ensyn’s Ensyn – Renewable Fuels and Chemicals from Non-Food Biomass. – Home pilot plant operations in Renfrew. Kerry has transitioned the manufacturing process to focus more on food related product (eg: liquid smoke) but continue to produce liquid bio-fuels on contract to the former owners.   It is a very impressive facility that takes Quality Assessment/Quality Control very seriously and represents a truly high value-added wood fibre product.

Our next visit was to a local second/third generation valley sawmill, Raymond Bell and Sons Lumber Ltd  Raymond Bell & Sons – Ottawa Valley Wood – A Directory of All Things Wood . As a small family owned and operated sawmill, they have weathered many storms and while demand and prices are pretty good right now, adequate log supplies, particularly cedar, is an ongoing issue.

During an excellent lunch (highly recommended) at the Granary Schnitzel Haus   The Granary Schnitzel Haus Restaurant (, led by Leo Hall we ventured into a very stimulating discussion of some thorny and complex  issues like forest carbon pricing and trading, forest certification and the economics of private land forest management.  Leo clearly was well equipped to lead these discussions, having been hands on in managing his family’s 6,000 acres of local forest (tree planter, tree marker, cutter, equipment operator, timber seller, forest measurer, analyst, and monitor …you get the picture). We visited 4 different sites that illustrated his highly informed approach to forest management…from intolerant hardwoods to red pine plantations with a utility pole product as the ultimate high value goal.  It was both inspiring and humbling to see the obvious commitment and pride that Leo and his entire family has for his forests and their determination to ‘do the right thing’ in terms of responsible forest stewardship.


Leo presenting multi decade data on the productivity impacts of a number of harvesting approaches. Jim, George and Rod listening intently.

Leo in front of red pine plantation  he helped establish when  he was 7 years old.

It was a great outing and discussions have already started on planning for another to see the sites we couldn’t fit in on this one.


– Jim Farrell, OVS