Hope Blooms in Piney, Manitoba

Photo: istockphotos

In the summer of 2008 a fire broke out in southeast Manitoba. The blaze consumed more than 3,400 hectares of timber in the Sandilands Provincial Forest, located in the rural municipality of Piney. It was concluded that it was ATVs that caused the spark which started the huge devastating fire, which occurred only 3 years after a previous loss to the natural space due to 150 km per hour winds in 2005. The winds destroyed 180,000 cubic meters of mature pine forest in and around an 800 hectare area surrounding the community of Sandilands, located within the rural municipality of Piney in Southeastern Manitoba, were destroyed.

But hope is not lost, this area is on its way to recovery. To assist in the reforestation process, The Enterprise Rent-a-Car Foundation is funding a planting of 50,000 trees in Piney.  Annually, Enterprise plants 1 million tress across North America and in Europe as part of its 50 million tree pledge (50 million trees, 50 years).  The forest in Manitoba is the latest project that Enterprise Rent-A-Car and its Canadian partner, Tree Canada, identified as an area in need of reforestation.

Piney plays an important role in Western Canada’s ecosystem. The area acts as the Red River Basin watershed’s protector, and thanks to this newly planted forest, it’ll trap water and snow and release it slowly into the lakes and streams of Manitoba.

Though the Department of Fisheries and Oceans reports that phosphorus in the Red River Basin have increased by 50% over the past ten years.  The increasing phosphor concentrations in surface waters raise the growth of phosphate-dependent organisms, such as algae and duckweed. These organisms use great amounts of oxygen and prevent sunlight from entering the water. This makes the water fairly unlivable for other organisms.

There is hope that as reforestation continues, the damage can be reversed.