Peter Schleifenbaum lives as a German emigrant in Ontario. He is late for an interview. "Excuse me, I got into a swarm of bees yesterday. I went to the doctor this morning to get histamines prescribed. ”And indeed! One of his eyes is swollen. "Is that the danger that work in the forest poses?" I want to know. "No," says Schleifenbaum. "I wanted to harvest the honey, and I disturbed the bees." As a consolation that we cannot take pictures of him, he gives us a glass of honey.
As a German emigrant in Canada
Peter Schleifenbaum has an unparalleled career as a German Emigrants in Canada behind. At the age of eight he inherited one of the largest forest areas in Canada from his father. The 40.000-hectare piece of forest borders Algonquin Park in Ontario to the south. It once belonged to a baron from whom Schleifenbaum's father bought the forest. Loop tree that comes from the Hochsauerland comes from, studied forestry in Germany and didn't really want to emigrate. But then his sawmill in Canada ran into economic difficulties. So he decided to emigrate to Canada with his wife and two daughters. A wise decision, as it turned out. Today he manages the Haliburton Forest to about 40 percent forestry and 60 percent touristic.
Trees can be used for many things
The forest area of Haliburton Forest contains not only hundreds of thousands of trees, but also about 70 lakes. He wants to manage this piece of forest profitably in the long term. Therefore, the forest manager decided to use the trees for tourism in addition to selective tree harvest. He came up with a few things for that. In its forest is one of Canada's longest treetop trails. If you want to visit it, you have to cross a lake in a canoe. Then, secured with a rope, he can walk about ten meters above the ground on a wooden board between the treetops. It is quite an experience to walk around in the canopy of the trees in Haliburton Forest. However, you should be free from giddiness.
A several hundred kilometer long network of paths leads through the Haliburton Forest. There are hikers and quad riders in the summer. In winter, you can go snowshoeing, snowmobiling or cross-country skiing on the snowy roads through the woods. With a little luck, you might even see a moose or a bear in these regions. And if you're out of luck in the wild, all you have to do is visit the Wolf Center of Haliburton Forest. There, a whole wolf pack waits for the visitors.
Wolves in Haliburton Forest
"How do you get a pack of wolves?" I ask Peter Schleifenbaum. "It's very simple," he says. "You get it for free." And he tells how he received a call from a wildlife park in western Ontario a few years ago. Its owner wanted to retire. He had a pack of wolves on his property, which he wanted to hand over to good hands. Peter Schleifenbaum's forests were an ideal area for the timber wolves. After careful consideration, Schleifenbaum built his Wolf Center. Today this is an enclosure in which the wolves have a large area at their disposal. There they can lead an almost natural existence. Even if they are now fed by Schleifenbaum's employees, they lead a free life with enough exercise.
Once a week, Haliburton Forest invites visitors to the wolf howls. Then you lure the animals with wolf howls and wait for them to join in the wolf song. A special experience.
A submarine in Ontario?
Because he knew his forest well, Peter Schleifenbaum also wanted to know more about the depths of his lakes. To explore this, he contacted the company that had built the research submarines for Jacques Cousteau. From her, he had a submarine constructed for his inland lakes. With all the federal permits, the submarine eventually sailed and took visitors into the depths of the waters on its forest grounds - to the delight of the tourists.
Until the Ontario Labor Office took action. "We were convinced that if we had permits from the federal authorities, this shouldn't be a problem," says Peter Schleifenbaum. However, that should turn out to be a misjudgment. Employment officials were uncomfortable with a submarine in the Ontario lakes. Therefore, they looked for provisions that could be applied to it. However, they did not find anything at first. Until they came up with the idea, “If we don't have any laws for submarines, then we'll take the diving regulations.” So the pilot of the submarine was given a diving suit while the passengers sat next to it in casual clothing. After all, they no longer wanted to expect this from the pilot. Therefore, the submarine trips have been stopped for the time being.
A German emigrant in Ontario
But Peter Schleifenbaum doesn't let setbacks slow him down. He now teaches forestry at the University of Toronto and is a Canadian professor. He manages his forest area sustainably with a view to future generations. He also runs a tourism company. Not a bad track record for an eight year old boy who once inherited a wooded area in Canada, right? A German emigrant and his success story.
With this article we participate in the Heldenwetter blog parade "travel encounters".
Source: own research on site and interview with Peter Schleifenbaum, with the support of Tourism Ontario
Text: Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline