BAFIA (Bancroft Area Forestry Industry Association) is a group of forestry enthusiasts working collectively to promote education and awareness of our local forest industry and boosting our sector’s profile in the local area.
In 1995 The Bancroft Area Stewardship Council was formed. The Council was spearheaded by the Ministry of Natural Resources. The council was made of forest industry representatives, environmental representatives, hunters, snowmobilers and representatives of any group that uses the forests in the Bancroft area. The stewardship council promoted wise use of the forest on private land. The forest industry at that time did not have any organization locally to deal with issues or education of the public or promote good forestry practice among the industry. The stewardship council thought forming an industry association would be wise to help sustain the industry in the long term. From that idea the stewardship council met with industry representatives and formed BAFIA in 1997.
Prior to 2009, BAFIA met to educate both industry workers and the general public to promote the forest industry in the Bancroft area. In 2009, BAFIA incorporated in order to be eligible to apply and access funding for the forest industry and to support its educational programs.
BAFIA collects a nominal annual membership fee from individuals who want to support the forest industry in the Bancroft Area.
BAFIA holds an Annual General Meeting in the Spring to inform the membership of the past and of the future activities of the forest industry in the Bancroft Area.
BAFIA elects a Board of Directors at the Annual General Meeting to oversee the operations of the association.
- Serve as a community of forestry workers and enthusiasts to unite with a common goal of long-term sustainability and vitality of the forest industry in the local area
- Provide information and input on environmental and other local issues as an organized voice for the forest industry
- Raise awareness about the importance, benefits and feasibility of sustainable forestry and best practices to ensure healthy forest for the future
- Create and deliver educational programs for our youth
- Promote the growth of forest industry jobs, with education for new and existing workers
BAFIA has a track record of successful community events, educational programs, and participation in larger forestry iniatives such as the Canada-wide 50 Million Tree Program. Connecting and helping people learn about forests and forestry practices is at the heart of everything they do.
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
BAFIA holds an AGM in Bancroft to provide members and guests an opportunity to share and voice any concerns about what is happening in the forestry world, along with presentations by guest speakers and local forestry professionals providing updates on new projects and developments in and around Hastings County. The AGM is always paired with a dinner and often musical entertainment from local talented musicians. We held our most recent AGM in May 2022 with over 50 local attendees.
Support for Tree Planting Initiatives
BAFIA is the delivery agent for Forests Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Program, a tree planting program supported by the Government of Canada, corporate sponsors and donors. It increases forest cover by making tree planting easier and more affordable for property owners and municipalities. Locally, the program has planted approximately 200,000 trees over the last 8 years.
Eagles Nest Trail Building Support
In 2016 BAFIA supported the Eagles Nest trail network in Bancroft which was improved through a grant from the “Canada 150 Fund” by the Department of Canadian Heritage. BAFIA provided a letter of support for the funding application and one of BAFIA’s members Freymond Lumber Ltd. generously donated $1,000.00 in lumber to contribute to this project. Trail improvements include signage which provides trail users the opportunity to learn about the ‘Algonquin Story’ and the history of this area. BAFIA assisted with creating educational signage about trees in Eagle’s nest Park.
In 2012 BAFIA organized the first “Forestry Day” and it has since become one of our flagship programs. It is a free bi-annual event designed for middle school children (grades 7 & 8) in the area with the objective or providing students a clear picture of how forest management and sustainable harvest methods are performed in Ontario, particularly Hastings County. This is accomplished through hands on activities that provide students opportunities to appreciate the science and diversity of forest ecosystems and wildlife and the efforts by the forest industry to extract resources while protecting and sustaining these systems. There are also examples of local forest products and wood-workers to connect students to their use of forest products in everyday life.
Forestry Education Initiatives
Young people learn about forest management and native tree species in Hastings County during events such as Foresty Days and the Nature Connects Program.
Recognizing Long-Time Family-Run Forest Industries
In 2015, BAFIA created a list of Long-Time Family-Run Forest Industries in Bancroft. BAFIA recognizes the many benefits of Multi-Generations of local ownership.
- Shaw Family – Pembroke, Ontario
- McRae Family – Whitney, Ontario
- Murray Family – Madawaska, Ontario
- Heideman Family – Eganville, Ontario
- Hokum Family – Killaloe, Ontario
- Neuman Family – Palmer Rapids, Ontario
- Martin Family – Harcourt, Ontario
- Freymond Family – Bancroft, Ontario
- Jan Family – L’Amable, Ontario
- Wilson Family – Madoc, Ontario
Spruce Lake Trail
In 2013, Engineers declared that the Spruce Lake Trail Bridge in Bancroft needed to be closed or replaced. The bridge provided the only access to Crown Lands for resource industries and for recreational users; but neither the Municipal Government nor the Provincial Government had money to replace it. In 2014, BAFIA applied and received over $100,000.00 of funding from the Federal Government to replace the bridge on the behalf of all of the users of the forest. BAFIA purchased a new steel bridge and had it installed in the Fall of 2014.
Contributed to Bancroft Forestry Mural
In 2011, the Town of Bancroft encouraged the creation of murals to show some of the history of Bancroft. BAFIA commissioned Allan C. Hilgendorf to create a mural that depicted early forestry operations that took place on a Bancroft landmark – the Eagles Nest rock formation. Allan completed the Forestry Mural and it was installed on the South wall of the Vance Motors building in Bancroft in the Summer of 2011.
Forestry Educational Infographic Placemats
To celebrate National Forest Week, Uncle Perry’s Restaurant in Bancroft showcased our educational infographics as laminated placemats. They received positive reviews with many customers requesting to take them home. As a result, the restaurant asked to keep them on their tables beyond National Forest Week. Click on the image below to view the full placemat.