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New Brunswick's Lumber Industry

In full support of United Nation's declaration that 2011 is the International Year of Forests, New Brunswick has chosen to centre its annual Heritage Week on the theme of Celebrating Forests for People.  As the province celebrates its exceptional forests, attention should also be drawn to another unique aspect: heritage sites.  With over 1500 registered historic sites, New Brunswick's efforts have made noteworthy locations more accessible to Canadians.  Naturally, as a province with a wealth of specific natural resources, New Brunswick has several prominent heritage sites that encompass the history of its forestry.

For New Brunswick, the lumber industry has always played a major economic and cultural role.  Quality timber is a staple resource throughout the province's history; each era can be viewed in terms of its significant relationship with the industry.  Though the use of wood has evolved over time, its necessity has remained consistent.  From tall pine ship masts to house frames and furniture, wood has serviced New Brunswick both locally and internationally through an effectively executed export system.

As a versatile natural resource, New Brunswick lumber has serviced many different uses over the years.  Perhaps one of its most significant historical functions was in partnership with the shipbuilding industry.  Not only did New Brunswick contain a vast supply of valuable lumber, but it also had access to methods and technology to process the wood.  At times, there were ships made almost entirely of New Brunswick lumber exporting loads of even more New Brunswick product.  What is sometimes referred to as the "GoldenBeaubears Island Shipbuilding NHS/LHN Construction-Navale-a-l'Ile-Beaubears Age of Sail", the nineteenth century took full advantage of the extensive New Brunswick forests.  Remains of shipyards such as Beaubears Island NHS highlight the economic importance of shipbuilding during the nineteenth century.  Perfectly situated along the Miramichi River, Beaubears Island NHS was the second largest shipbuilding centre in New Brunswick during its time.  With so much of the population employed in the lumber and shipbuilding industry, shipyards such as this were incredibly significant to nineteenth-century New Brunswick.

Certainly one of the most well-known historical operations that fuelled New Brunswick's success in lumber industry is the method in which logs were transported through connected waterways - more commonly referred to as log driving.  The combined efforts of the traditional log driving system and local mills produced enough processed wood to export any surplus.  Such rivers as the Tracadie are representative of the expansive water network of that at one time would have been filled with freshly harvested logs each spring.  Located along the Former Foster Mill Site/Site de l'ancien moulin FosterTracadie River is the Former Foster Mill Site, an excellent example of the lumber industry's influence on local New Brunswick areas.  During its prime in the early twentieth century, the Former Foster Mill Site provided many jobs for local residents as well as newcomers in search of stable employment.  The economic boom that followed can be credited to the mill's success.  As a result, numerous additions were made to the surrounding area such as new residential buildings, logging camps, public facilities, and an expanded railroad.

In modern times New Brunswick has continued to Glenwood Provincial Park/Parc provincial Glenwoodvalue its forests for their industrial worth as well as their environmental importance.  The Heritage Week theme of Celebrating Forests for People is an example of New Brunswick's ongoing environmental projects.  Similar to the goal of the United Nations, New Brunswick's Heritage week will draw attention to forestry issues. Currently, New Brunswick has numerous protected areas evenly distributed throughout the province as well as nine provincial parks and two national parks.  Accessible and well-maintained, New Brunswick's parks are attractive destinations.  For example, residents and tourists alike can enjoy Glenwood Provincial Park's natural beauty.  Established in 1935, Glenwood Provincial Park is the first of its kind in New Brunswick.  Efforts to expand both conservation and protection are evident through local and government support, consequently increasing the appreciation of forests and their resources.

In partnership with various internal organizations, New Brunswick's forestry policies are extensive and influential.  A major environmental collaborator that works with the provincial government is New Brunswick's native population which consists of 15 First Nations communities.  Together, the two associations collaborate in forest management agreements.  Native specialists work closely with the government to sustain environmental goals without withdrawing support from the thriving lumber industry.  In November, 2010, the Government of New Brunswick held a provincial Forestry Summit to address critical issues to ensure future success as well as to strengthen the biggest sector of their economy.  Hopes are high that the coming years are a positive experience for the forests of New Brunswick.