Posted by: John Munro | November 5, 2010

Publications and Reports by John Munro

Munro, John A. Public Timber Allocation Policy in Newfoundland. PhD Thesis for the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Graduate Studies. 1978.

Abstract

Early public timber allocation policies were percieved by many in Newfoundland to be having a continuing influence on forest management policy. A thorough review of these policies and the resulting development of forest industry had never been undertaken. It was decided to carry out such a review by testing three hypotheses on past timber allocation policy. These hypotheses are stated as follows: the pattern of use of the coastal forest resource was established centuries ago by transient fishermen and early settlers and this has had a profound influence on public timber allocation policy; early government timber allocation policies for the forest sector of the interior of the Island and Labrador were a giveaway; and the early timber allocation policies led to undue concentration of ownership of the interior timber resource of the Island of Newfoundland.

These hypotheses are evaluated by examining the historical record to determine the evolution of earlly timber allocation policies and the subsequent development of the forest resource. The influence of early settelment on timber allocation is established by a literature review which documents traditional attitides and uses of the coastal forest resource. An extensive review of timber allocation legislation and a search of government records was undertaken to establish early timber allocation policies and the results that were achieved in terms of forest-based industrial development. Examination of the historic record allowed a judgement to be made on the extent to which the forest resource of Newfoundland and Labrador has proven to be intramarginal, marginal or submarginal in an economic sense. This provided the basis for the evaluation of the second and third hypotheses.

The study concludes that the attitudes of early settlers towards the use of the forest resourcs have had a profound influence over public timber allocation policy. The existence of the ‘three mile limit’, a band of common property forest around the coast of the Island, is identified as a direct result of this influence. The importance and special function of this part of the forest resource should be recognized in an explicit statement of forest policy by the government.

It is also concluded that the early timber allocation policies for the forests of the interior of the Island and Labrador were not a giveaway of economic rents at the time. Initially the government tried to capture more economic rent through higher charges but, in order to encourage development, it was forced to lower its fees and extent the term of timber licenses from 21 to 99 years. This was because much of the resource was found to be marginal or submarginal for the developments that were initially undertaken.

While considerable concentration of ownership of the forest resource in the interior of the Island of Newfoundland did occur, this was the result of a rational reallocation of timber licenses from economically nonviable to economically viable developments. Scattered resources, which had proven to be submarginal for small scale development, later proved to be intramarginal when combined into large limit areas for major pulp and paper mills.

Finally it is suggested that the policy since 1949 of encouraging further large-scale forest development be questioned and more emphasis be placed on using available intramarginal and marginal resources to preserve and expand existing forest industry. While historically the forest resources of Labrador and remote parts of the Island have proved to be submarginal, the prospects for these resources to support viable industries should be reviewed periodically to see if further attempts should be enncouraged.

Munro, John A. Pitprops and Pulpwood – A History of Export Wood Operations in Newfoundland and Labrador, 1898-1992. Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods. St John’s. 2001.

This is a history of an interesting and bygone era, the Newfoundland and Labrador export trade in pitprops and pulpwood. These products left, first the Colony, then the Province – unprocessed. That is, except for being harvested, having bark removed and being cut lengthwise to certain dimensions, they were shipped in a raw state. The pitprops were used as tunnel supports, mainly in the collieries (coal mines) of Wales, in the Unites kingdom. The pulpwood was shipped as raw material for newsprint mills in the United Kingdom and other countries.

Munro, John A. Historical Overview of Forestry Developments on the South Labrador Coast.
Paper prepared for Coasts Under Stress, Newfoundland and Labrador. 2002.

Munro, John A. The Munros of Glenwood Newfoundland, (A History of the Family of Alexander Munro and Julia Pelley). 70+ pages. Published by JamJam Press, Halifax, NS, 2008.

For more information on the above, contact J. Munro at 902 431 5499.

The Caribou in the Room

By John Munro

In the early 1960’s I was working as a Forester for the Newfoundland Forest Service (later the Newfoundland and Labrador Forest Service). I had just graduated from the University from New Brunswick in the spring of 1961 and was new on the job, with a lot to learn. My learning started in earnest with the onset in June of one of the worst forest fire years in the history of the Island of Newfoundland. We fought fires in various parts of the Island all summer and well into the fall. That winter we were involved in assessing the damage and preparing for next year.

While Labrador had been spared major fires in 1961, there was concern about the potential for major future outbreaks and the Forest Service needed to strengthen it’s presence there. There was also increasing interest in developing the forests of Labrador. It was decided that a Regional Forester should be based at Goose Bay and I was assigned to go there in late June. I had a small office in the basement of the Happy Valley home of the Commissioner for Labrador, Mr. Gus Edwards. For fire fighting, all we had at the time was a small base camp and crew at North West River, one old pickup fire truck and an EPA Beaver Airplane equipped with water dropping tanks on it’s floats. There was also a supply of hose, five or six pumps, other assorted fire fighting equipment and a weather ststion. In the event it was needed, a Canso water bomber could be called in from Newfoundland. Luckily, 1962 was not a major fire year and we avoided any serious problems that summer.

My office was in Happy Valley but the fire crew and base camp were at North West River, which was about 41 kilometers away. This made for interesting traveling arrangements. I could drive from Happy Valley to the Goose River in an old Volkswagen truck we had, but there was no bridge across the river at that time. The Forest Service had a small flat-bottomed boat at the crossing and I could use it to cross the Goose and leave it on the other side. I would take the fire truck (which we left parked there) and drive to the south side of North West River. Then I would take the swinging cable car to the north side of the river and walk to our base camp. There was a small garage for the fire truck and boat near the cable car at North West River. Other people sometimes used the forestry boat for crossing the Goose River, but they always got permission first and always returned it to it’s proper place.

The fire crew at North West River that year consisted of Joe Foley, Chester Vey and C. Lethbridge from the Island, and Percy Chaulk, Joseph Nuna, Ponus Nuke, and Max MacLean from Labrador. The pilot of the Beaver was Lionel Clark, from New Brunswick, and Margaret Paddon of North West River was hired as the cook.

During the fall and winter I undertook to familiarize myself with the forest conditions in the Lake Melville area and this was how I got to know Percy Chaulk. He was kept on staff over the winter as a woodsman and guide. And, luckily for me, a fine guide and woodsman he was. One early trip with Percy was by canoe up the Goose River to assess the timber. This would probably have been in mid or late November. The first afternoon we got about 10 miles upriver as far as the Falls and camped there for the night. We expected to continue farther up the next day, but it started snowing overnight, the temperature dropped, and slob snow started to form in the water. We had to pack up and head back as fast as we could to Goose Bay, as the wet snow started turning into ice.

After winter set in, Percy and I made a number of trips with a double track skidoo and sled and one of these outings was to the Mulligan River area. Percy had lived at Mulligan Bay at one time and he still had a house there that we could stay in while we explored around. As I recall we set out from North West River about mid or late January of 1963 and covered the 40 kilometers or so over the ice of Lake Melville to Mulligan that day. We were well bundled up because of the low temperatures and the biting wind sweeping over the lake. We reached Mulligan and got set up in Percy’s house, which took quite a while to warm up. The next day we traveled up Mulligan River as far as the snow conditions would allow. It was early winter and one thing I learned, was at that at that time of the year in Labrador the snow tended to be soft, and even with good snowshoes, I would sink down pretty deep with each step, and sometimes, in really deep snow, went up to my waist. This going was really difficult in places for me with my snowshoes from the island but Percy fared better with his Labrador Beaver Tails.

Percy didn’t talk a lot, but he had a sense of humor. One day we were snowshoeing along and noticed some tiny tracks crossing the trail made by a small shrew or vole. Percy looked at me and said, “You know what that was don’t you?” I bit and said, “No what”. He grinned and said, “A Labrador elephant”.

There were some other hunters and trappers staying at Mulligan at this time and one evening Percy took me over to another house to meet them. I don’t recall any names, but there were about five local men who had obviously been out hunting, probably over to the Mealy Mountains. The first thing I noticed when we entered their cabin was a full sized frozen caribou lying on it’s side in the center of the room. We all sat around it, had something to drink, and talked about the weather, hunting conditions and probably told stories and yarns. The one thing we didn’t mention the whole evening was that caribou in the middle of the room!

I guess the others didn’t mention it because they knew I was from the Government and they were waiting for me to say something. I didn’t say anything because I was new in the Service and not too familiar with the wildlife regulations, especially as they applied to Labrador. Also, I was a guest in that house. I decided I better know what I was talking about before I brought up anything about the Caribou. So we sat around and enjoyed the evening and ignored that Caribou in the room. Percy and I left Mulligan the next day so I never did get to taste it.

John Munro
Halifax, NS

Percy-Kettle
Percy boiling the kettle, Mulligan 1963

Percy-Birch

Fire Tents
Fire crew Sleeping tents, NWR, 1963

Percy & Joe

Notes:
1. I thank Joe Foley, Louie Montague, Lionel Clark and Susan Felsberg for their help in the preparation of this article.
2. This was partly written from memory, so my apologies for any inaccuracies that may have crept in. JM

The picture below of Lomond, Newfoundland was probably taken in the 1920’s.
It was on a postcard. At this time Lomond was a thriving lumber town.

Lomond, NL

 

 

Some Newfoundland & Labrador Forest History Photos:


L>R: E Ralph, F Budgell, N Williams, ?, R Sheppard, M Vardy,H Deichmann,
F. Hayward, D Nichols, W Johnston, R Forward, W Dickson, ?, D Nickerson,
R Ellis, H Johnson, E Cumby. Photo by Bob van Nostrand, Section Secretary.
The meeting was held in the Badger area on Anglo-Newfoundland Development
Company Limits.

Forest fires have long been a part of the ecology of Newofundland
and Labrador. Below are a few operational pictures of the Forest
Service.

Above: In 1964, there was a major outbreak of lightening-caused forest fires in the vicinity
of Esker in Western Labrador. The Newfoundland Forest Srevice spent about a month
during July and August fighting these fires. Above, a Forest Service Canso Water bomber
lifts off from a Labrador lake with a load to drop on a fire.

Below: Forest Service Canso CF OFI at Esker Base, 1964

Above: Forest Ranger Gerry Garland and (?) from the Island take a break
while fighting fires near Esker.

Above: The Forest Service did other things besides fight fires. Here Ranger Earl Parsons
cares for young Caribou at Deadman’s Pond, Gander. This was part of a cooperative program with
the Wildlife Service to establish herds on offshore Islands like Merasheen and Fogo.

Below: Unloading Caribou at Deadmand Pond


Above: Ceremonies were held By the Provincial Government
in 1965 to mark the completion of the Trans- Canada Highway in
Newfoundland. The Forest and Wildlife Services provided an Honour
Guard for the ceremonies at Pearson’s Peak near Grand Falls
and at St. George’s.
Front Row: G Green, G Davis, H Short, F Morrisey, J Munro, R Carroll
Back Row: C Ryall, W Munden, H Goodland, B Jackson, B Porter, C Laing
Missing is W. Whiffen who took the picture
.


Above: Newfoundland Forest Service Staff meeting, Gander, 1965/66. Center, Secretary, Joan Coleman; on her
right, J. Doyle, Chief Ranger. On her Left, S. Peters, Deputy Minister, and E.B. Ralph, Chief Forester. Staff were
from all parts of the Island and Labrador.

Below
The Canadian Institute of Forestry has been active in Newfoundland and Labrador since 1956.
Here are a few pictures from annual field trips to acquaint members with forestry developments
in the province.

Above: CIF Field Trip to Upper Salmon Development, Central Newfoundland,
June, 1981
L>R: Eric Salter, B. Tulk, G. Carr, Ed Blackmore, Harvey Taylor, Bob van Nostrand,
Bill Fury, Hugh Schooley, John Hudak, Al Cook, John Munro, Bery Anstey, ?,
Driver.

 


Above: Fording Noel Paul, CIF field Trip, 1981

Above: Group of Foresters at the Canadian Institute of Forestry Field
Trip at the CFS North Pond Experimental Area, Central Newfoundland.
1982

Lewis Group

Above: J Stead, J Munro, R Rolfe, E Hancock, H Starkes,
G Collins, J Foley J Carpenter, A Fudge, A Kelley at Lewisport,
NL 1963, on the retirement of Mr. Jack Carperter as Regional
Ranger for the Nfld. Forest Service for Central Newfoundland.

 

Remarks by John Munro on receiving the Tree of Life Award, at the CIF Newfoundland & Labrador Section Annual Meeting at the Humber Valley Resort, on October 19, 2006

I am very pleased to receive this Tree of Life Award. To me it implies one is in a forest stand, supported by other trees and a root system for nourishment and mutual support.
This makes me realize how much I have benefited over the years from being part of the Canadian Institute of Forestry, both the Provincial Section and the National Office.

The 50 th anniversary of the CIF in Newfoundland also coincides with two important 50-year anniversaries for me:

First, in 1956 I enrolled in the two-year Pre-Forestry program that had just been started at Memorial University in St. John’s as a result of a recommendation of the Report of the Newfoundland Royal Commission on Forestry of 1955. The first forestry instructor was Finn Frost, a forester from Norway who had just been appointed the first provincial Chief Forester. There were six of us in that class:
Sam Chafe of Whitbourne; Lloyd Yarn of St. John’s; Bill Whiffen of St. John’s; Wilf Tuff of Gander; me originally from Bishop’s Falls and Bob Whitehorne from Millertown.
Our instructor in Dendrology in the second year was Bill Wilton, originally from Bonne Bay, of the Federal Forestry Service in St. John’s.
Second, and most important for me, 1956 was the year I started dating my wonderful wife and life partner, Lorraine Parsons, who I am happy and grateful to say is here with me tonight. It makes me think that the Section should consider instituting a ‘spousal award’.

Since Eric Earl called me about getting this award, I have been thinking about the history of the CIF in Newfoundland and the useful and enjoyable role it has played in our forestry community.

The CIF provided a forum for the foresters of all agencies and all parts of the province – Companies, Provincial Forest Service, Canadian Forest Service, Educational Instructors and others, to get together and discuss subjects of common interest;
It has helped promote understanding, networking and cooperation amongst us all through annual meetings, summer and winter field trips, mini – forums (or is it mini-for a!) and participation on forestry field projects;
It provides a social setting for us to gather and swap stories, jokes and generally have fun – I think fun has been an important part of the CIF role for us all;
It has helped improve public understanding and debate of forestry issues;
It provides a means for the forestry community to voice concerns on forestry issues to political and business leaders, Royal Commissions, Task Forces, the media, and schools;
It provides an interface between our forestry community and the rest of Canada and the world.

I am grateful and proud to be included with the others who have received this award. I’m not sure that I am as worthy as the others, but I will accept it anyway!

Thank You.
John Munro

Publications/Reports:

Munro, John A. Public Timber Allocation Policy in Newfoundland. PhD Thesis for the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Graduate Studies. 1978.

Abstract

Early public timber allocation policies were percieved by many in Newfoundland to be having a continuing influence on forest management policy. A thorough review of these policies and the resulting development of forest industry had never been undertaken. It was decided to carry out such a review by testing three hypotheses on past timber allocation policy. These hypotheses are stated as follows: the pattern of use of the coastal forest resource was established centuries ago by transient fishermen and early settlers and this has had a profound influence on public timber allocation policy; early government timber allocation policies for the forest sector of the interior of the Island and Labrador were a giveaway; and the early timber allocation policies led to undue concentration of ownership of the interior timber resource of the Island of Newfoundland.

These hypotheses are evaluated by examining the historical record to determine the evolution of earlly timber allocation policies and the subsequent development of the forest resource. The influence of early settelment on timber allocation is established by a literature review which documents traditional attitides and uses of the coastal forest resource. An extensive review of timber allocation legislation and a search of government records was undertaken to establish early timber allocation policies and the results that were achieved in terms of forest-based industrial development. Examination of the historic record allowed a judgement to be made on the extent to which the forest resource of Newfoundland and Labrador has proven to be intramarginal, marginal or submarginal in an economic sense. This provided the basis for the evaluation of the second and third hypotheses.

The study concludes that the attitudes of early settlers towards the use of the forest resourcs have had a profound influence over public timber allocation policy. The existence of the ‘three mile limit’, a band of common property forest around the coast of the Island, is identified as a direct result of this influence. The importance and special function of this part of the forest resource should be recognized in an explicit statement of forest policy by the government.

It is also concluded that the early timber allocation policies for the forests of the interior of the Island and Labrador were not a giveaway of economic rents at the time. Initially the government tried to capture more economic rent through higher charges but, in order to encourage development, it was forced to lower its fees and extent the term of timber licenses from 21 to 99 years. This was because much of the resource was found to be marginal or submarginal for the developments that were initially undertaken.

While considerable concentration of ownership of the forest resource in the interior of the Island of Newfoundland did occur, this was the result of a rational reallocation of timber licenses from economically nonviable to economically viable developments. Scattered resources, which had proven to be submarginal for small scale development, later proved to be intramarginal when combined into large limit areas for major pulp and paper mills.

Finally it is suggested that the policy since 1949 of encouraging further large-scale forest development be questioned and more emphasis be placed on using available intramarginal and marginal resources to preserve and expand existing forest industry. While historically the forest resources of Labrador and remote parts of the Island have proved to be submarginal, the prospects for these resources to support viable industries should be reviewed periodically to see if further attempts should be enncouraged.

Munro, John A. Pitprops and Pulpwood – A History of Export Wood Operations in Newfoundland and Labrador, 1898-1992. Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods. St John’s. 2001.

This is a history of an interesting and bygone era, the Newfoundland and Labrador export trade in pitprops and pulpwood. These products left, first the Colony, then the Province – unprocessed. That is, except for being harvested, having bark removed and being cut lengthwise to certain dimensions, they were shipped in a raw state. The pitprops were used as tunnel supports, mainly in the collieries (coal mines) of Wales, in the Unites kingdom. The pulpwood was shipped as raw material for newsprint mills in the United Kingdom and other countries.

Munro, John A. Historical Overview of Forestry Developments on the South Labrador Coast
Paper prepared for Coasts Under Stress, Newfoundland and Labrador. 2002.

Munro, John A. The Munros of Glenwood Newfoundland, (A History of the Family of Alexander Munro and Julia Pelley). 70+ pages. Published by JamJam Press, Halifax, NS, 2008.

For more information on the above, contact J. Munro at 902 431 5499.


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