The desert that became Larose Forest

No one can deny the importance of Larose Forest for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell in Eastern Ontario. The forest covers a vast area, has a rich history and an interesting biodiversity and is one of the most popular spot in the area for outdoors activities. However, the forest is mostly unknown outside of Prescott-Russell.

Which is a bit of a shame, because the forest deserves to be better known. First, because it has a particular history. At the beginning of the 20th century, soil erosion wreak havoc on many farmlands of the area. Between the villages of Casselman, Limoges and Bourget, some of these lands were abandoned, because they had become non-suitable for agriculture. What was called “Bourget Desert” was slowly spreading.

Larose Forest
Under the tall pines of the forest

The agronomist Ferdinand Larose offered a solution to the problem. He suggested planting conifers on the abandoned farmlands to slow down the erosion. By 1928, more than 6,000 red pines were planted.

Nowadays, Larose Forest (named after the agronomist) is one of the largest man-made forest in Canada. It covers an area of over 26,000 acres and is home to a fairly diverse flora and fauna. Its majestic pines, planted in a straight line, almost make it looks like a natural cathedral.

In winter, it is possible to ski, snowshoe, and even dog sled. In summer, it’s a nice area to hike, trail run or practice fat bike. There are parking spots near Bourget and Limoges.

Larose Forest in winter

But what I like the most about the forest is the fact that the trails are rarely busy. I can walk there for kilometres without meeting somebody. There have been different plans over the year to build some infrastructures (like an ecotourism centre) in the forest, but none have become reality. Yet. Larose Forest is therefore still a hidden gem, just waiting to be explored!


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