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LETTER: Prelate Lake struggle

To the editor: For almost two years, the camp owners of Prelate Lake have been engaged in a bitter struggle with Greenmantle and the OMNRF over the unnecessary destruction of the forest around our lake.

To the editor:

For almost two years, the camp owners of Prelate Lake have been engaged in a bitter struggle with Greenmantle and the OMNRF over the unnecessary destruction of the forest around our lake. Despite pleas and reasonable proposals, Greenmantle have informed us that they’re coming for our forest this fall despite our vehement objections.

It’s unfathomable to understand why this tiny piece of forest which means so much to the local campers cannot be spared the saws of the forestry industry. Is it the mandate of the OMNRF to clear cut every square inch of our forests, and, in particular, total destruction of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Forest Region of Northwestern Ontario?

The GLSLFR comprises a mere seven per cent of Northwestern Ontario Forests. Yet over the last 30 years or so, it has been decimated proportionately at a rate much higher than that of the Boreal forest. One can only assume that is the reason the forestry industry is now encroaching on areas around lakes with camps. I know from personal experience that a great preponderance of the forest in the immediate vicinity of lakes along the Northern Light Lake Road have been stripped.

Now that they've taken all of the trees that were uncontested, they are coming for the forests that have been cherished and appreciated by campers for decades.

However, when Greenmantle/ OMNRF send out notices with maps of the area outlining their planned clear cuts, they use ariel photographs taken thirty or more years ago, conveniently leaving out the real world scars of their activities.

Just another sneaky method to conceal the true effects of their operations.

If sustainability is even marginally considered in their planned activities, one would be lead to believe that certain portions of mature forest should be left standing to ensure sufficient animal habitat, preservation of biodiversity and carbon dioxide sequestration.

Accordingly, if sustainability accounts for anything in the forestry industry plans, why is it not possible/desirable to leave some of this reserve forest in areas appreciated by people?

Would it not be wise to achieve two goals with one simple decision by leaving the reserve forests in areas around lakes with camps?

Despite this suggestion, it would appear that our forests, in the eyes of the forestry industry, OMNRF and govt are nothing more than a store of cubic meters of fibre providing a few desperate jobs to create the illusion of economic prosperity and the resurgence of the forestry industry in Northwestern Ontario regardless of their questionable forestry practices. Let us not forget the lost contracts at Resolute Forest Products as a result of Greenpeace exposing the misdeeds of the forestry industry in our Boreal forests.

One would think that more negative press would be something to seriously avoid. Do the citizens of Ontario not have any vested interest/ownership of our valued forests?

What percentage of the forests are the citizens of Ontario entitled to? How much intact old growth forest will be left for present day appreciation and for generations to come? From what is happening now, it would appear that we’ll have to go to a park or private preserve to experience the beauty of an undisturbed old growth forest.

Over the last two years of correspondence, our local MPs, MPPs, OMNRF and Greenmantle have been kept informed of our discontent and opposition to this proposed Prelate Lake clear cut No.415.

We have offered reasonable proposals that would agree to a portion of the clear cut plan as long as Greenmantle kept their activities out of view of observation from anywhere on our tiny little lake.

Other than lip service from the OMNRF and Greenmantle, we’ve only received a reasonable response from MPP Michael Gravelle, who courteously directed and forwarded our concerns to MPP Bill Mauro, whom has been receiving all correspondence concerning this matter.

In two year of exchanges, Mr. Mauro has not found the time nor the interest to provide us with anything more than an advisement of the receipt of our messages.

Considering that Mr. Mauro is now at the helm of the OMNRF, he has the authority to arrange a fair and equitable solution to this problem.

Being the wise politician that he is, Mr. Mauro is in position to place a big feather in his cap by revising the forestry rules applied by the OMNRF. He would make a lot of friends and guarantee a lot of votes if he were to change the forestry practices to restrict forestry operations in the immediate vicinity of lakes with camps on them.

It could be his legacy to have been the man to have combined some of the designated forest preserves (if there is such thing) with the appeasement of the thousands of camp/cottage owners of Ontario by not permitting the destruction of forests around their lakes.

The ball is in your court Mr. Mauro. For more information, please visit our website and Facebook page.

D.B. Stacey,
Thunder Bay