Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner says the government should commit to end logging in its flagship provincial park.
In his 2013/14 Annual Report "Managing New Challenges" released today, Gord Miller pointed out that logging is banned in all of the other 338 provincial parks in Ontario.
“Algonquin is Ontario’s oldest provincial park,” says Miller, “and it’s high time that we brought it in line with modern values. Right now, it does not even qualify as a protected area under international standards.”
The Environmental Commissioner says there are more than two thousand kilometres of logging roads in Algonquin Park and several thousand kilometres more of abandoned ones.
“These roads cause a number of problems in the Park, damaging habitat, harming wildlife and acting as pathways for invasive species.”
The government recently reduced the area of the park open to logging, but almost two-thirds of Algonquin is still potentially open to timber harvesting. (See map above.)
Miller says logging in Algonquin is unnecessary, as there is an ample wood supply in the areas outside of the park.
“I am deeply disturbed that Ontario’s flagship park continues to receive the lowest level of protection of any of the province’s protected areas. This flies in the face of the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006, which says that ecological integrity should be the top priority for managing and operating all parks.”
The chapter “Cutting into Ecological Integrity: Commercial Logging in Algonquin Provincial Park” is on page 85 of the report Managing New Challenges which you can download at www.eco.on.ca.