When Darren Hudson first purchased land in Barrington, the seven-time logrolling champion lumberjack had a vision.
“I wanted to pass on the skillset that I possess,” said Hudson in a Jan. 5 interview.
That vision has grown into the Lumberjack AXEperience camp – a celebration of the history and heritage of the lumber industry in Barrington and in Nova Scotia. The camp allows young participants, and the youthful at heart, to try their hand at what Hudson calls the five essential skills: logrolling, tree climbing, axe throwing and competitive sawing with bow and crosscut saw.
The Tourism Industry Association recognized Hudson’s enterprise in Halifax this past November with one of eight Crystal Tourism Awards of Excellence. AXEperience won the Tourism Innovator Award.
“I was surprised, honored and flattered,” said Hudson of the award.
“I hoped something like (the nomination) would happen. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Hudson was honored for his innovative marketing and advertising, as well as for the uniqueness of the camp. CBC icon Rick Mercer spent a day with Hudson in 2014, learning the tricks of the trade, and a segment was filmed for The Ricker Mercer Report.
“This old lumberjack’s done pretty well,” laughed Hudson.
With the popularity of beards and flannel and the resurgence of the lumberjack as a favorite icon for toughness and masculinity, AXEperience offers an opportunity to celebrate the role that the lumber industry has played in provincial heritage. Hudson is a fifth-generation member of the industry and his passion is infectious.
“It’s really relevant right now, with so many people growing beards. This gives them an opportunity to prove their beard,” said Hudson.
Now that Hudson has the log rolling for lumberjack enthusiasts, he’s working to expand operations. He is currently working to open the Timber Lounge later in 2016 on Halifax’s Agricola Street: an indoor facility where patrons can learn and practice the art of axe throwing.
“It’s really a lot of fun. There’s nothing like the feeling of seeing the axe hit the target for the first time, that’s for sure,” says Hudson.
If the Timber Lounge is a chip off the AXEperience block, Hudson may be looking at another tourism award in the future.