A lot of new growth is taking root in the Larose Forest this spring.

The United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR), which owns and manages the 109.4/42 square mile property is in the midst of planting 50,000 new trees in the forest, which is located south of Bourget on the boundary of Clarence-Rockland and La Nation.

UCPR Director of Planning and Forestry Louis Prévost said 50,000 trees is the biggest amount for one year.  Normally, 35,000 to 40,000 trees are planted each year within the Larose Forest.

Prevost said the number of trees the UCPR plants in the forest each spring depends on the availability of planting space within the property.  He said that it takes two to three years to properly prepare a site for planting in order to maximize the survival rate of the trees being planted.

The tree species being planted are red and white pine, red oak, and sugar maple.  All of those are species which already grow in the Larose Forest and are native to eastern Ontario.

The UCPR has hired South Nation Conservation to oversee the planting work, which is being done by a private contactor.  The entire project is being funded from the UCPR forestry budget.  Prévost said that the seedlings cost $53,000 and the planting services cost $31,000.

Hoping for hiking

The trails in the Larose Forest are closed until May 15, as they are every spring during the thaw and mud season.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, Prévost said that the UCPR is in discussions with public health authorities to ensure that the trails are accessible for hikers, hopefully by the Victoria Day weekend. The UCPR is also going ahead with the construction of a new visitor centre at the Larose Forest this year.