Born, raised and educated in Germany, Peter and his wife Elke came to Haliburton in 1988 to take on the management of their family’s company the following year. With a PhD in forest history and forest economics, Peter’s focus was the vast timber resources of the company, which had been neglected for decades. But the task and operation at hand was almost purely tourism related, which was a new experience for him. His lack of previous exposure to common tourism operations allowed him to think outside the box and venture into some of the innovative tourism products Haliburton Forest is known for today. While Peter managed operations, Elke worked as the bookkeeper/controller and animal care giver, while raising their two daughters (Anna & Minna).
But for over 20 years, Peter never lost sight of his true calling: the forest. Being patient and continuing to work the land — putting in place the foundations for a sound forestry venture, the greatest achievement of which was Haliburton Forest’s certification as Canada’s first sustainable forest under the international FSC standards in 1998 — his opportunity arose in 2008. The forest industry was collapsing and mills were closing all over North America: a good opportunity for Haliburton Forest to build its own mill, and with it a number of value adding, wood-based ventures. Peter oversaw the development of these ventures and many others. Along the way, Peter and Haliburton Forest attracted a lot of attention, resulting in numerous commendations and awards.
Today Peter has retired from Haliburton Forest, but his heart remains with forestry in a very broad sense, expressed in his maintaining an adjunct professorship at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Forestry, which operates a very active research facility at Haliburton Forest.