There was nary a frown – or parking space – in sight at the Algonquin Logging Museum on Saturday.
The 20th annual Algonquin Loggers’ Day hosted by the Friends of Algonquin Park, Parks Ontario and Algonquin Forestry Authority packed the museum on July 25.
More than 1,000 visitors made their way through the museum as part of the two-decades-old event.
Lee Pauzé, general manager for the Friends of Algonquin Park, said the museum and the annual loggers’ day were popular attractions in the park that drew visitors to the area.
“A lot of our visitors are returning. It’s become something they plan their holidays around because it is a signature event,” she said. “This facility is really great, but when you bring it to life, it’s even better.”
She said the event attracts not only campers and visitors, but also area residents.
“It’s a really neat event and a lot of them have backgrounds in logging and forestry because that’s what sustains these communities,” said Pauzé of the residents.
The event saw the museum’s 1.5-kilometre trail filled with costumed interpreters offering guided tours, history lessons, demonstrations and musical entertainment.
Pauzé said some interpreters were park staff, summer students or friends members, but many were also long-time volunteers with personal histories steeped in logging and forestry.
She commented on long-time log-squaring interpreter John Foreman.
“That’s what he does for a living,” she said. “He’ll be squaring this big monster log with an axe.”
The end product, she said, is a perfectly square piece of lumber, some of which are used as benches around the logging museum.
Interpreters such as Foreman, she said, are keeping traditional practices alive while sharing history with park visitors, many of whom are children accompanied by their parents.
“Whether it is historic logging or modern logging, the fact is it is a significant part of the park’s history,” she said.
And when the Friends of Algonquin Park partnered with Parks Ontario and the Algonquin Forestry Authority to establish the logging museum in the mid-1990s, complete with interpretive trail, historic artifacts, heritage buildings and stunning natural scenery, it was in an effort to preserve that history.
Pauzé said this year’s loggers’ day saw a boost in visitors, not only because it was the 20th anniversary of the event, but also because of a special partnership with Algonquin Forestry Authority, which had brought additional displays and guests as part of its own 40th anniversary celebration, too.
Displays incorporated modern logging, including present-day logger Jim Turney talking about equipment, harvesting and safety practices, and Algonquin Forestry Authority staff explaining the use of sustainable logging methods, forestry regulations and annual reforestation practices.
An Ensyn Corporation representative was also on site to talk about forestry bi-products, such as heating fuel, transportation fuel and liquid smoke used in a variety of popular food products, such as barbecue sauce and Doritos.