The Current Logging
Plan for the Spanish River
All photos will expand when you click on them
The canoe routes and portages are to a large
degree not detailed in the plan and thus will be destroyed by the logging activity.
At the bottom of this page is an excerpt from the letter that I wrote in response to the
MNR in Espanola.
Detail: Below is the current logging plan that has been filed by Domtar, for the area
from Chapleau right down to Cartier. That plan is a six-volume document (plus about 15
lbs. of maps) that can be viewed at the MNR office in Espanola and in the MNR Info centre
in Toronto's Queen's Park. I have submitted a critique to the Ministry of Natural
Resources that points out shortcomings. Should we be concerned? You
bet! All the planning is done from offices, based on what the computers have stored. If
something needs protecting, but it is not in the computer, even the best planning rules
and sympathetic planners will draw up instructions to the field workers to log it.
I have been told that the field workers can adjust the work if they discover something
that needs protecting - if they recognize it during their work. I believe it is unfair and
unrealistic to put the onus one the folks that operate the machines. These folks are on a
tight plan, work under adverse conditions, and have head office breathing down their necks
demanding they "produce".
Here's the Overview Map, and note that areas to be logged
are marked in green (I guess that makes it psychologically more palatable). To locate
the Spanish River, start from the bottom right corner and go diagonally north-west into
the next square where you can make out the obvious shape of the Elbow at the Spanish
River. Use your river maps to interpret what this plan will mean and expand the map on the
left by clicking on it. The map is about half a Meg large and will take 2 minutes to
download using a 56KB modem, under good network conditions.
Green: This is the prime area to be logged
Reddish Brown: Contingency Harvest Area - not sure what that means
Ochre: Area to be re-seeded
Black: Highway Corridor
Purple: Secondary Road Corridor (there are some new roads proposed)
Shaded: Area not covered by Plan (e.g. towns, and in green: prov. parks)
(To see the areas that have been logged already, click here for the Previous Logging Plan by E.B. Eddy)
|From the critique of the Spanish Forest Management Plan 2000 to
A. The FMP does
not protect canoe routes and portages adequately.
Even though some are in the plan, most canoe routes
and portages are missing. Thus, canoe routes and portages cannot be
protected by Domtar staff as they dont know about them, the MNR cannot manage
protection of these values, and reviewers of the FMP cannot verify whether the FMP
protects adequately. Also, the reserve along portages and lake
shores is inadequate to protect from blowdown and view deterioration. Last
not least, the use of motorized vehicles on and near
portage trails destroys the character and even the surface of the portage trails.
These are significant shortcomings because:
|Ontarios laws recognize the need to protect portages (e.g. the Ontario
Public Lands Act, in section 65(4), specifically guarantees the right of passage over
|canoe routes and portages have historic value as the original access routes to
lakes and rivers, as long distance highways that allowed cultural and commercial
interchange between native tribes and eventually the opening up of the country to the
|canoe routes and portages can be considered to be part of the native values that
the plan tries to protect|
|the existence and preserved state of canoe routes and portages will be a major
criteria for successful future resource based tourism. As it stands, the plan curtails
future growth of such activity.|
To address this shortcoming, the FMP should be
|map all 18 specified routes and their portages,
|add the areas other portages that can
be identified from available documentation (e.g. Dept of Lands and Forests Map No
32a, 1947, Sudbury Area Canoe Routes map 77A) |
|increase the reserve along portage trails and lake
shores adjacent to canoe routes |
|put measures in place that stop ATVs from travelling
on portage trails|
These updates need to be integrated into the FMP, and its maps updated to
establish reserves and modified zones.
Other shortcomings of the FMP
1. ATVs as a significant threat to wilderness
values are inadequately addressed in the plan.
Unless a serious effort is made to stop ATVs, the intended protection of
lakes and natural areas will not work. The prescribed controls for vehicle access look
inadequate to me as I often encounter portage trails that are chewed up by ATV traffic.
Especially, the combination of pick-truck and ATV overcomes the plans intend to stop
motorized access. Effective measures against misuse of ATVs would include sufficient
funding for enforcement of the rules and significant fines to offenders, including the
impounding of vehicles.
2. The lack of native input is deplorable.
I understand the reasons for lack of input and that it is a difficult job to
reach agreement. But unless some consensus has been reached with the native communities,
this part of the plan lacks credibility.
3. The parks that are defined in the Ontario Living
Legacy Plan are not adequately protected.
The allowances for these parks are not generous enough and hem the park in at
the lowest possible denominator. E.g., the Spanish River Park is given the narrowest
possible protection along the shore lines of river and lakes. Given that the
implementation of these parks will happen after cutting begins, staff from the Parks
Ontario should review the FMP and define a temporary reserve that will protect larger
areas and the viewscapes before logging destroys these areas.