October 2011

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OCTOBER 18, 2011

FOT expands logging oversight

Friends of Temagami's dogged pursuit of the upcoming 10-year logging plan for the Timiskaming Forest brings protection to two canoe routes, a park and a conservation reserve.

FOT put in hundreds of volunteer hours and plodded through the complex planning process. It sought a reduction in the high rate of logging near three parks, but got little from industry or MNR.

"A canoe route is an awful damn hard thing to protect these days," says Alex Broadbent, FOT's president.

It appealed the plan to the Ministry of Environment and requested an environmental assessment. In lieu of that, MOE ordered changes to the Timiskaming Forest Management Plan. MNR and industry must reduce logging next to the Makobe-Grays River Provincial Park and Makobe Grays Ice Margin Conservation Reserve, and must put buffers on the west Willow Island Creek canoe route.

The order removes a 90-hectare cut adjoining Makobe-Grays Park and the conservation reserve. The west Willow Island Creek canoe route gets temporary protection so FOT can seek permanent designation through a separate MNR process. This route has been there for thousands of years, but requires a bureaucracy to grant its survival.

The group will submit a work permit request on west Willow Island Creek, but it is not stopping there. It will seek designation of 14 unrecognized canoe routes across Temagami.

The Mendelssohn Lake canoe route got full protection from MNR and industry during the review of the plan, but only a 20-metre buffer between the clearcuts and shoreline. That's four canoe lengths.

Protection is a spongy concept with MNR and industry, one that never means the same thing from one MNR district to another, or between a reasonable person and a forester. It doesn't matter if that forester works for Ontario or industry.

In MNR's Temagami district, all canoe routes in Hap Wilson's Temagami Canoe Routes (1978) book are protected with at least a 30-metre buffer. In Temiskaming, they don't adhere to any record of routes. Even many designated routes do not automatically get buffered.

Lakes and water bodies along canoe routes in Temagami get 120-metre protection on shorelines. In Timiskaming, it is, apparently, 20 metres four canoe lengths.

"That's not even an ecological buffer," says FOT campaigner Bob Olajos. "To their way of thinking that's being generous."

Consquently, the only place guaranteed an ecological buffer in the Timiskaming Forest is inside a park or conservation reserve.

Timiskaming Forest is licensed by Ontario to Timiskaming Forest Alliance, a cooperative of Georgia Pacific, Eacom Timber and other corporations. The area has little history of the oversight seen farther south and logging leans to big clearcuts, as practiced in the boreal forest found in the northern part of its land base.

FOT has expanded its oversight to the four districts that make up greater Temagami: Temagami, Nipisssing Forest, Sudbury Forest and Timiskaming Forest.

"For so many years nobody was advocating in Timiskaming," says Olajos. "Consequently they were able to get away with a lot in places that are close to the core of Temagami, like Mendelssohn, like Lady Evelyn Lake."

"Now they know we are paying attention."

  EXTERNAL LINKS:   Forest management plan

  MAP:    Managed forests



OCTOBER 10, 2011

Fall colours

   SATELLITE IMAGE:   October 10


Photo: Brian Back speaking out at Queen's Park against old-growth logging in Temagami, 1989

OCTOBER 5, 2011

Brian Back speaking at FOT on 1980s battle

Brian Back, Ottertooth's bottle-washer-in-chief, will speak at the Friends of Temagami's annual general meeting on the 1980s battle to log Temagami.

Back is the former executive director of the Temagami Wilderness Society.

The meeting will be held at Smoothwater Outfitters on October 29. (See more info here.)


        Friends of Temagami


Back (right) speaking at Queen's Park in 1989. A 250-year-old pine cross-section is in the background.

Photo: wedding of Hap Wilson and Andrea Turner

Hap Wilson weds
Above: bride Andrea Turner, Hap Wilson, and his son, Christopher. The groom wore full Celtic regalia. And he looked good in it.



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