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Subject: RE: Wakimika Triangle logging

Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 15:47:41 -0500

From: richard.primeau@mnr.gov.on.ca

To: [email removed by editor]  

3301 Trout Lake Road

North Bay , ON P1A 4L7

Tel:  (705) 474-5550

Fax:  (705) 474-5500

March 5, 2002

Dear Mr. Gillen:

Re:   Temagami

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding timber harvesting in the Temagami Crown Forest Unit.  Your comments indicate that you may have been provided with information and claims that are unsubstantiated and/or in error.

The forest stands in blocks 29, 30 and 46 scheduled for harvest in the 2002-03 Annual Work Schedule were approved in the 1999-2019 Temagami Forest Management Plan (FMP). These blocks were subject to a full and comprehensive consultation process, which included input from public, local citizens, First Nation, industry and environmental organizations through information centres, advertisements and mail-outs. The FMP fully conforms to land use decisions detailed in the Temagami Land Use Plan (TLUP). 

Harvesting was planned in these blocks because, due to the fire suppression strategies of the previous 50 years, there is a need to substitute the forest replacement aspect of fire with harvesting activities.  This continues the cycle and natural succession of a forest stand through removal, regeneration, growth and maturity and ensures that white pine will continue to be present on the landscape in the absence of fire.  It is Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) policy that all harvested stands are renewed in a timely fashion and that the long-term sustainability of our forests are maintained or enhanced.

We are not aware of any evidence to support the claim that only 1% of the existing old growth red and white pine remains in Ontario .  In Temagami, over half of the existing old growth red and white pine is located in protected areas and reserves where timber harvesting is not permitted.  The remainder of these stands are managed in accordance with the provincial Conservation Strategy for Old Growth Red and White Pine Forest Ecosystems (MNR, 1993) which directs that the management priority is the regeneration of pine and the maintenance of old growth characteristics for future old growth stands.

There are no old growth white or red pine stands scheduled for harvest in blocks 29, 30 or 46.  However, one of the objectives in the FMP is to increase the area of red and white pine forest in the management unit. Blocks 29 and 30 have been identified as prime candidates for white and red pine renewal, as evidence suggests it supported greater levels of white and red pine in the past.

Through the implementation of the TLUP in 1997, the "protected area strategy" was completed.  Old growth pine protected in Obabika River Provincial Park is only part of 1,350 km2 of contiguous forest in parks and conservation reserves in that area.  MNR is not aware of any scientific evidence that supports the suggestion that harvesting in stands adjacent to old growth red and white pine stands will have any detrimental effects. 

Pine marten and pileated woodpecker are not threatened in Temagami.  The unprecedented levels of mature and old growth forest protected in parks, conservation reserves, skyline reserves and areas of concern have ensured that their populations will thrive.  Furthermore, these harvest areas will create new areas of mature and over-mature habitat for these species in the future.

Harvest blocks (29, 30, 46) are in Special Management Area #43 and Integrated Management Area #47 of the TLUP.  Forest management activities are a permitted use in these areas. These blocks are regulated by the Crown Forest Sustainability Act (CFSA, 1994), and its over 50 associated manuals and guidelines.  These associated guidelines are designed to minimize the environmental impacts of forest harvesting practices. 

The clearcut silvicultural system is not environmentally destructive, as the tree species planned for harvest in these blocks require large disturbances to regenerate, and have adapted to such for millennia.  Implementation of this harvest system also requires retention of large areas of no-cut peninsular and interior patch reserves and individual trees for wildlife, viewscape protection, biodiversity and natural forest structure.  In addition, all age classes of white and black spruce and jack pine present in the block will be represented in the reserves. Timing restrictions and restrictions on operating areas are in place to protect the tourism and remote recreation values. 

The planned access to harvest blocks 30 and 46 are along the Red Squirrel Road (not the Red Squirrel Road Extension) and the Bob Lake Road.  Neither the Red Squirrel Road nor the Bob Lake Road have ever been abandoned.    The Red Squirrel Road has been used throughout the current FMP for harvesting, renewal and tending activities.

Although the TLUP policies for conservation reserves do not explicitly deal with the construction or upgrade of roads, public motorized access is generally not permitted within conservation reserves within the TLUP area. Where the TLUP is silent, policies from Ontario's Living Legacy - Land Use Strategy (1999) apply.  The Land Use Strategy states that "existing roads can continue to be used, but new roads for resource extraction will not be permitted, with the exception of necessary access for mineral exploration and development.".

The TLUP is available for viewing and downloading at the following internet site  http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/temagami/tema.html.  Again thank you for taking the time to contact us. I trust this information is of assistance to you.


Dave Payne

District Manager

North Bay District


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