The old desert of Larose Forest

The Prescott-Russell area is full of interesting recreational activities and thrilling stories just waiting to be told. The Law has prepared a selection of five places in the region that are somewhat unknown and deserve more attention. To visit with family or friends. Today, the old desert of Larose Forest.
S were you before being renamed as it is known today, the territory of the Larose Forest has already been nicknamed “Bourget Desert”?

Hard to believe considering its millions of trees and its incredible variety of fauna and flora, but true.

It is well known that the forest industry was the most important livelihood for the people of Eastern Ontario in the 19th century. It is this industry that brought the first French Canadians to eastern Upper Canada at the beginning of this century.

The village of Bourget, where the Larose Forest is located today, was named in honor of Bishop Bourget who, anxious to keep the French Canadians and discourage them from emigrating to the United States, made the active promotion of settlement in Eastern Ontario during the 1840s.

There would have been more than fifty species of trees growing here, home to many types of insects, birds and animals. This fauna provided food for a small indigenous population.

The region was however the scene of so much deforestation that in the 1920s, the cutting of forests and trees of all species left a vast sandy space that was nicknamed “the desert of Bourget”.

Millions and millions of trees were planted and the place became Larose Forest.
Millions and millions of trees were planted and the place became Larose Forest.
COURTESY
Since that time, millions and millions of trees have been planted and the place has become the Larose Forest, named because of its founder, Franco-Ontarian agronomist Ferdinand Larose.

More than just a forest

Today, Larose Forest covers more than 11,000 hectares. More than 200 kilometers of roads and trails crisscross it. It is possible to practice many outdoor activities throughout the year. Sports that can be enjoyed include hiking, cycling, mountain biking and horseback riding in the summer, and snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, fatbike riding and dog sledding in winter.

The forest is also crossed by the South Nation River and many small streams. The plantations initiated by Ferdinand Larose reach nowadays more than 25 meters in height. It includes coniferous plantations, wetlands and mixed forests.

It is also home to a wide variety of wildlife, ranging from titmouse to moose. Several wild flowers can also be spotted, as well as many scattered mushrooms everywhere.

The forest is owned and managed by the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR). South of the village of Bourget, it is about 50 kilometers east of Ottawa.

To date, more than 18 million trees have been planted, making Larose Forest the second largest community forest in Ontario.

Discover the origin and history of the Island House in Hawkesbury. This 200-year-old heritage building is now home to the Le Chenail Cultural Center and a host of Francophone cultural and artistic events.

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