Historic Sites of Manitoba: Pineland Forest Nursery (Sandilands Provincial Forest, RM of Reynolds)
When the Manitoba government assumed responsibility for natural resources in 1930, it began to plant trees in provincial forest reserves using seedlings from four nurseries around the province, at Birch River, Carberry, Marchand, and Shilo. In 1953, all but Marchand were closed when the government opened the new, larger Pineland Forest Nursery, on a 128-hectare site alongside the Whitemouth River near Hadashville, under the operation of the Forestry Branch in the Department of Natural Resources.
The focus of the nursery was primarily on hardy coniferous trees such as Jack Pine, Red Pine, Scots Pine, White Spruce, and Black Spruce. Seeds were extracted from cones collected in the wild, kept in cold storage for up to ten years, then grown out-of-doors or, as of the early 1970s, in greenhouses until ready to be transplanted. Trees from Pineland went to industrial forest sites around Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Minnesota, as well as to other government agencies, cottage associations, woodlot owners, Christmas tree growers, retail landscapers, utility companies, mining companies, soil conservation authorities, and the general public.
In 1962, Pineland supplied a quarter-million trees for private woodlots and to farmers for their shelterbelts. Total annual production of bareroot seedings rose to between 7 and 8 million through the 1980s. Production of container stock in greenhouses commenced in the early 1980s and, by the mid-1990s, about 13 million seedlings were grown annually.
By the 1990s, as the provincial government focused on debt reduction, seedling production decreased markedly. The nursery was converted to a Special Operating Agency, able to bid on external contracts for seedling production, in April 1995.
In the early 21st century, the demand in Manitoba for tree seedlings declined as a result of decreasing demand for wood pulp used in making paper. Closure of the paper mill at Pine Falls in 2009 meant fewer trees were cut so fewer seedlings were needed to replace them.
In May 2018, the government announced plans to close the nursery by the end of the year, with speculation that its seven acres of greenhouses could become available for a cannabis-growing operation or other horticultural ventures. None of these possibilities have come to fruition so the nursery stood vacant at the time of a 2022 site visit.
Superintendents / Managers
Photos & Coordinates
A Packsack of Seven Decades by Hadashville Women’s Institute, 1970, pages 45-46.
Annual Reports, 1995-2017, Pineland Forest Nursery, Legislative Library of Manitoba.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 11 January 2023