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June 03, 2013

In New Brunswick stump-jumping is a favorite activity in clear-cuts. Government pushes to have the sport more widely accepted.

Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced this morning that the sport of “stump-jumping” is to be included in the next NB Summer Games to be held July 8-15th.

“This is a huge coup for the well-loved NB sport,” says Minister Bruce North- pole.

For those not familiar with the sport, stump-jumping takes place on clear- cuts and involves two main skills: 1) jumping from stump to stump as quickly as possible without falling and 2) long-distance jumps involving clearing as many stumps as possible.

Stump-jumping can be traced back to the 1970s when clear-cutting New Brunswick’s forests became common practice. Families began attending community picnics in clear-cut areas and over time stump-jumping became a traditional competitive game.

“Some people have potato sack races and such,” said Felix Austead, a local villager who is widely credited with inventing the sport of stump-jumping, ”but when I saw all those unused stumps just sitting there in a huge wide open space, the wheels started turning.”

The sport really took off thirty years ago when DNR handed regulation of Crown Forests to the industries logging them. “Since the policy has been to harvest all the oldest, mature stands as soon as possible and to replace the natural forest with tree plantations, the forest floor now is comprised of tree stumps all very uniformly spaced – perfect for the sport of stump-jumping,” said Austead.

Northpole believes that other jurisdictions will be looking to New Brunswick as a model for how to combine forest management policies with other pursuits.

“Stump-jumping is just one of many ways that our department has been working with community groups in building a province of which we can all be proud,” said Northpole.