Lalande Managed Forest
Eco-Lodge Game Farm in Tay Valley Township, Lanark County, Ontario

When a Tree Falls in the Forest

We will call you ... and please keep your chain saw sharp!

March 16, 2020 - Thank you to all the volunteers who made it out on the weekend  - you rock!  The tapping of the trees is now complete, thanks to an excellent crew who tapped the remaining 200 trees faster than we have ever seen before.  And a happy bunch of sap collectors collected approximately 260 gallons.  When we left the sugar shack last night, we finished pouring off the first few litres of syrup of the season, which is a beautiful light amber colour and very tasty.

Dick and Ben are heading up again tomorrow to start the process all over again.  Please let us know if you are planning on coming out so we can make sure we are ready for you.

I am sure that all of you are following the latest developments in COVID-19.  Please be assured that we are too, and are taking it very seriously.  A couple of important notes:

March 8, 2020 - The making of our favourite gooey, tasty treat is soon to happen, and we need your help as always.

Over the weekend, a brave crew tackled several tasks for the smooth operation of the sugar shack.  The road and sugaring trails are open, wood procured for the season, 250 pails are now collecting sap, and several repairs took place to some of the systems.  We are off to a great start to making the first maple syrup of the new decade.
We anticipate that we will have our first boil likely on Saturday or Sunday if the weather cooperates, which the long-term forecast suggests and can begin hosting volunteer sap collectors and boilers on Friday and throughout the weekend and the following week.  If you can make it, please let us know, so we know to expect you.
As always, please self-cater.  Please note that the road is experiencing early-season conditions, and we do suggest that you check with us before attempting to drive in.  As in the past, we may want to pick you up at Freedom Gate to save an expensive tow job, harm to your vehicle, and severe damage to the road base.  As always, this clears up later in the season.
Please let us know if you can make it - beds are on a first-come-first-accommodated basis, so please make your plans to us known now. 

March 25, 2019 - We need sap picker-upers this weekend.

Who's up for some sticky fun?


March 5, 2019 - Sugar Shackers!  Here we go for 2019!

What a winter - and who in this crew isn't looking for the sticky sweatness of spring that can only be found at Lalande Managed Forest?  And that oh-so-sweet taste of a Rusty Spiggot, enjoyed in the sugar shack or the sweetness of the tire d'erable for the kids?

We've had a great winter.  Many brave people cut wood, blazed the trails and made camp several times to get ready for making our favorite ingredient.

But we need help. 

This upcoming Saturday, the Sugar Shack is opening.  We need wood cutters and splitters, and runners/stackers to ensure that when we start to boil, we will have ample wood.

After the wood cutting and splitting, we will start tapping trees.

Currently, the road into the camp is NOT PASSABLE.  Do NOT attempt to drive in.  Call Dick in advance.  As per last year, there will be a parking lot just down the road from Freedom Gate.

Again, DO NOT try to drive in!

Aug 28, 2017 - Over the last few years, I focused on the transition of Lalande Managed Forest and Eco Lodge Game Farm to ensure that both entities are sustainable well into the future.  At this time last year, I sold Pierre 100 acres which allowed me to give the remaining land, buildings, and equipment to Chantal when I die.

Sustainability of both aspects of the farm – the managed forest and the hunting program – we’ve come to know are among many of my passions.  I know that both Pierre and Chantal will continue to manage both, bringing new ideas and a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm.

For the hunting part, as landowners, Pierre and I agreed that Pierre will take on the role as Huntmaster, assisted by Chris, who has been helping me for almost 10 years.  The role of a Huntmaster is challenging – and I will be offering Pierre advice and guidance in learning this complex role.

As Chris mentioned in a recent email, since the beginning of the deer hunt, most years I’ve subsidized the hunt.  Going forward, Pierre, Chris and I are working to reduce our expenses while keeping hunting dues the same.  We hope that we will not only provide the same hunt experience but a better one for all hunters.

Please drop in the camp on Saturday, Sept 26 during our weekend for a corn roast to help me celebrate this transfer and for me to thank Chantal, Pierre, and Chris for taking on their new roles.

Any transition is difficult, full of unknowns.  I have every confidence that Chantal, Pierre, and Chris will not only continue what I started but will breathe a wind of positive change for the next generation.


April 23, 2017 - Hello, Sugar Shackers!  Farewell to another great season of maple syrup production at Lalande Managed Forest.

We had a great year again, and we produced about 250 litres of syrup, which is slightly above our average yield.  Our quality control this year was excellent, and we managed to keep the evaporator spotless, and rotation of sap made sure that we only had the freshest sap to boil.
Over Easter weekend, we pulled all the buckets and spigots and cleaned the sugar shack.  We are ready to go for next year - but we will be calling out for a wood cutting crew in January or February 2018.

April 1, 2017 - Hello, all sugar shackers!

The sap is flowing steady and we're boiling a fast as we can.  As of today, we're still producing light syrup, which is unusual for this time of the year.  The last measure of sap coming off the trees gives us a 4% sugar content which is high - and a good sign for runs of sap to come.
We need weekday sap collectors.  Monday and Tuesday appear to be good days to collect.  Please let us know if you are available to come help us out. 
The road to the camp is currently off limits to anything but our farm vehicles, and you will see all cars and trucks, including 4WD vehicles parked at Freedom Gate.
Do not attempt to drive to the sugar shack.  The frost is coming out of the road and it is not uncommon for us, at this time of the year, to close the road to all vehicular traffic until it clears.

March 27, 2017 - Hello everyone, and thanks to all who stayed back today to allow us to fix the problem of stuck vehicles on the road.

The road is now OPEN again!  Hurray!  The weather cooperated and it was an easy fix.
A friendly reminder that at this time of the year the road into the sugar shack can be it and miss.  If you THINK you can make it because you have a four-wheel drive vehicle with excellent winter tires, it is important to make sure your vehicle is actually in 4WD.

March 26, 2017 - URGENT:  Please note that if anyone is planning on going to the sugar shack over the next couple of days, the road is CLOSED until further notice for ALL traffic.  

Currently, vehicles stuck on the road, of all various types, sizes and capability, and none of our equipment can make it in or out.
Please refrain from attempting to reach the camp until you hear back from us.

March 21, 2017 - Have any of you seen the weather forecast for tonight for the Ottawa Valley and Lanark County?  If not, crank your heat, throw a few logs of ironwood in the fire and get your slippers on.  It's going to be COLD.

But out at Grampa Chief's sugar shack, all is warm and toasty!
Lots of activity happened during the frigid March Break.  Lots of wood was cut and split, thanks to advance wood cutting crews that braved the cold and snowy winter to cut dead standing cedar in one of our ponds.  A signing crew was active in making signs to better identify the trails so no one gets lost in the bush: we can't have THAT happen again.
Given the long-term forecast, it looks like we're ready to gather sap this upcoming weekend.
Who can join us?  Or let me ask it another way - who WANTS to join us?
A reminder to prepared to be self-sufficient with food and refreshments.

March 3, 2017 - Hello, fellow sugar shackers!  Grampa Chief's Sugar Shack is opening next week - just in time for March Break!

We have a full program planned - so beware for those that have committed.  We will work you to the bone.
The long-term weather forecast is telling us that it is unlikely we will collect sap or boil next week.  But there is a lot of work to do - tapping trees, trail marking, logging, cutting, splitting and piling wood - essential getting to our operations and getting us ready to boil the liquid gold all of us covet.
Your help is a big part of making it happen, and we're delighted to help you experience it all.
As a continued camp tradition, we are happy to provide essentials such as basic kitchen equipment, drinking water, condiments, plates, bowls, cutlery, coffee, tea, sugar, beds, limited blankets and bedding.  Please come prepared with your own food, libations and bedding. We would appreciate it if you would take your garbage and recycling home with you and continue the camp tradition of cleaning up after yourself and leaving it better than you found it.
Dick and I really appreciate your volunteer efforts, and we can't wait to see you.

October 29, 2016 - Finally, after so may phone calls, emails, lunches, discussions at the camp etc & etc with all of you, Dick and I finally sat down to compare notes, share our discussions yesterday and today, and I think we have the beginnings of a plan for the 2016 deer hunt. 

There is no shortage of deer.  This year is year 1 of a massive food plot at Freedom Gate/Filip's Field and does are spotted there every time we head in and out of camp.  We've seen deer at the Dance Hall, the Hump Back, the Gorge, the Rookery and sightings of a monster buck that we're not telling you about.  This buck is massive.

Our challenge this year as hunters is that we're going to need to hunt.  We only have one antlerless tag for the two weeks.  It is a strict buck only hunt until the end of the first week and only for a couple of days.  Strict camp rules will apply - unless  you can confirm horns DON'T SHOOT. 

This year, we've ramped up our food plot and deer nutrition efforts and so far our work is paying off.  We're going in the direction we've wanted to go in for quite some time and we are already seeing fruits of our labour and investment in the herd.

Eco-Lodge Game Farm and Lalande Managed Forest has renewed vigour and a plan for the future, and all of you are part of it.  This hunt is going to be amazing and we look forward to sharing our plans for the future and having you share with us your ideas on how we can make the hunt better while we're together on the watch, while cleaning a deer, or after hunting at camp over a beverage.

October 16, 2016 - Hello, and first of all, my apologies for sending this out so late - deer hunting starts in just a few weeks!

I know that Dick and I spoke with many of you personally about the deer hunt, but now it is about time that we need to put the schedule into action and get hunters and meals planned.

Can you please let me know 1) when you plan on coming hunting, 2) what you would like to bring for a meal and 3) what tag you have.

So far, we have lots of buck tags, and not a lot of doe tags.  We're seeing both in the bush and in the fields and let's hope that the late start to the deer hunt will work in our favour, as well as the massive food plot this year at Freedom Gate. 

The new Grand Lodge (yet to be dedicated) is in full construction now and will likely be finished in time for the hunt.  It will be rather spiffy. 

March 29, 2016 - Help needed!  That was the result of a meeting held today between Grampa Chief and I while stuck in rush hour traffic this afternoon and had nothing else to talk about. 

There is sap to boil, sap to collect and maple syrup to be made.  Approximately 450 gallons of sap needs to be boiled, with an estimated 400 gallons in the buckets.  That’s a lot of sap and a lot of syrup to be produced.

We need work day warriors – those that have time during the week to come on out and help.  If you have some time on your hands, contact us here.

March 5, 2016 - Will Mother Nature cooperate?  That’s the million dollar question, and as we’ve experienced this year, anything can happen.  However, we are pleased to report to you that an intrepid Snow Shoe Reconnaissance Team braved the deep snow a couple of weeks ago and reported back that all is well at Grampa Chief’s Sugar Shack.  And today, our Senior Tappers and Syrup Masters drove right to sugar shack, on heated seats and coffees in hand.

If the weather forecast holds, on Tuesday morning Dick will be heading up to the camp to get ready for yet another sugaring season.  The initial plan for this week and leading in to March Break will be to continue gathering firewood for the evaporator and starting to tap trees.

As usual, more hands makes lighter (and more fun) work so if you are available please let Dick or I know so we can ensure that we are ready for you.  

October 5, 2015 - Hello everyone, Dick and I would like to report amazing success on our two work weekends with a lot of work being done.

On the August work weekend, lots of work was done around the camp on the new driving shed and on improving some plumbing issues.

On the "Shotguns and Work Boots" work weekend last week, we made some major electrical improvements, did some landscaping around camp, split and piled some wood, patched a boat, set decoys and we even managed to get some ducks and a goose.  Be sure to check out the website photo section for a few photos snapped during that weekend.

Please let us know what days you would like to book for the deer hunt and what meal you would like to bring and also what tag you have. 

We look forward to seeing you in the very near future!

September 22, 2015 - Reminder to all our members of our annual Shotguns and Work Boots event this upcoming weekend.  The time has come to prepare for the deer hunt and hunt some ducks during the opening of the waterfowl season in our district.  Come on out and let's have some fun!

May 25, 2015 - Can we repeat the fun and success of last year's deer hunt?  We certainly worked hard for the deer we got, and every time I cook some venison up, I think of just how great of a gang we have to hunt with.

Work weekends
Mark your calendars for August 22/23 and/or September 26/27 as we have an ambitious work plan once again.  A rebuilt Camp Watch (complete with wheel chair ramp) is perhaps in the works, as well as wood gathering, trail blazing and maintenance.  The September work weekend coincides with the opening of waterfowl, which opens on the Sunday morning, so clean your shotguns, bring some of your favourite bird shot and let's get some ducks!
Deer Hunt
A reminder to apply for your anterless deer tag.  Again this year, we are starting to take bookings as far in advance as possible.  First come (and first paid) gets priority booking and consideration for not receiving this year's FU award.
As always, Dick and I enjoy making the camp a little better each year and if it wasn't for your help, it wouldn't be both possible or nearly as much fun.  Please get back to us to let us know both about the work weekends and to book space for the hunt.
May 1, 2015 - The turkey hunt is on!  Over the last few weeks, we’ve been scouting for turkeys and have seen lots of sign and seen lots of hens and a huge tom – and we know that at this time of the year where there are hens the hunting should be good!
We’ll be out turkey hunting at Eco-Lodge Game Farm from May 14 to 17 inclusive in hopes of getting that big tom we’ve seen strutting around.  Please let us know if you want to come out as we have lots of space available.
April 19, 2015 - Today the last of this season’s maple was poured off the evaporator, finished, filtered and bottled.  Our weary maple sugar masters reported that they bottled 9.5 liters of dark syrup, the first dark of the season, totaling a complete batch of 205.5 liters of the best syrup anyone has tasted.
While it wasn’t our best season for production, it wasn’t for lack of effort and we’ll all have to ensure having a private chat with Mother Nature.  A big thank you to everyone that lent a helping hand, it seems that everyone that comes out does more than we ask of you and your efforts are very much appreciated.
The evaporator is now clean and shiny and ready for the 2016 season.  All the pails and spigots are off the trees, half of the pails washed, and the other half to go once we get rested up.  If you are able to come on out to help us with that, just let us know.
April 7, 2015 - HELP!  The sap has a mind of its own, and while it can run like crazy over the weekends, sometimes it can't wait and runs during the week.  Sap gatherers are needed urgently to lend a helping hand.  Please contact us to make arrangements, thanks!
So far we have 90 liters of syrup bottled and approximately 250 gallons of sap to boil, with about that much again on the trees.  Quality this year, as in previous years, is outstanding.
April 5, 2015 - Thank you to a great crew of volunteers that came out over the Easter weekend.  On Friday  approximately 35 volunteers came out to collect approximately 350 gallons of sap, and we made just about 25 liters of amazing Grampa Chief’s maple syrup.  What amazing weather and we hope everyone had a great time.  This weekend the sap collecting and boiling continues and we expect it to run hard into the next few days.

In other news, we are really excited to announce that last week our maple syrup became certified by Forest Stewardship Council, audited by the Rainforest Alliance

This means that the syrup we produce is to the highest ethical, environmental and forest management standards. 

Many of you have seen the FSC logo on paper products and the little green frog logo on many food products. You can read more about the certification on our Maple Syrup page.

Please let us know if you would like to come out to make some of this amazing maple syrup.

March 25, 2015 - Well, news we’ve all been waiting for – the sap is finally running!  Sap will be collected for the first time on Thursday and Friday and with any luck we will start boiling on either Saturday or Sunday.  
As usual we always appreciate sap collectors, wood gathers, boilers and helpers of all sorts.  Please let us know if you are available to come out to give us a hand.
Please check our Twitter feed on the left side of our webpage frequently as this is how we will send short little updates from the farm, or subscribe to our Twitter feed directly.
March 22, 2015 - Spring may have officially arrived on the calendar yet it has not shown any evidence of spring-like weather.  Despite freezing temperatures and snow storms since our last update, we've had a great number of volunteers and we want to thank several helpful hands, thanks to whom we have enough wood for this year.  Our crews also tapped approximately 350 trees, cleaned the sugar shack and all buildings and did lots of repairs.  We are truly ready for what may be a massive and fast sap run.  It is always nice to see old and new faces pass through Freedom Gate and come up the long winding road into the sugar bush.  As always, please let us know when you would like to come on out to help make Grampa Chief's Maple Syrup.
March 8, 2015 - It's been a looooooooong winter.  Now that the temperatures have reached negative single digits it is very apparent that Dick brought some warm weather back from the Caribbean last week.  We will begin sugar shack preparation starting this week, Wednesday and Thursday, March 11th and 12th and continue over the weekend and into next week, starting the afternoon of Friday, March 13th for March Break.  Planned activities include tree tapping and gathering wood.  Please let Dick or Chris know if you can come out to help as we sure could use it.  As always, we look forward to seeing you, making memories and making pure artisan Lanark County maple syrup.
February 11, 2015 - Lalande Managed Forest and Eco-Lodge Game Farm appoints a Poet Laureate. Darius is a seasoned sugar shacker and an intrepid bush trekker; all while looking to his older brother to show him how to become an apprentice hunter at Eco-Lodge Game Farm. A participant at Lalande Managed Forest of over 4 years, he shows great promise as he navigates the bush, picks up more than his weight in sap and is renowned for his skills in getting an ATV really stuck in the mud. Darius recently composed two impressive poems about his experiences. Lalande Managed Forest welcomes our first official Poet Laureate and anticipates more creative words from Darius in the future. Here is his work.
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