Mcrae Lumber Company, Whitney Ontario

Rock Lake: 1957-1979

Aerial view of the mill at Rock Lake
The Rock Lake Mill was situated on the old OA&PS
Railway line about 32 kms south of Highway 60
inside Algonquin Park.

With the cut complete in Southern Bruton Township the mill was moved and rebuilt on Whitefish Lake. Although initially very little had changed since the days of the Airy Mill as time passed the Rock Lake Mill underwent a number of changes.

A loader with forklift stacking lumber outside the mill.
The boardway; where lumber was sorted and piled

The rock lake mill showing the smoke stacks and bark burner, as well as piles of logs.
The Rock Lake Mill with Centennial Ridges in the background.

The drive toward mechanization and the movement toward a scientifically proven sustainable harvest were the two most important on-going developments. The time at Rock Lake saw the origins of new products such as wood chips and new machines such as hydraulic loaders and skidders. The implementation of these new machines signaled the end of an era. No longer were horses required in the bush.

“Old timers claim that the disappearance of the horses changed the camps more than anything else in lumbering history.”
The last horses worked in the bush at Lemon Lake in 1962.

1974 and 1975 were tumultuous years as they saw the creation of the Algonquin Park Master Plan and the Algonquin Forestry Authority, respectively. The McRae Lumber Company, under Donald McRae, worked proactively with the Ministry of Natural Resources and AFA to ensure a future for the forest industry in Algonquin Park that revolved around sound science, sustainable harvests and ecological integrity.