A Toronto-based environmental group says the Ontario Ministry of the Environment has rubber-stamped a destructive logging plan.
Earthroots says the decision to do so imperils Temagami's backcountry.
Further details are included in the following news release issued by Earthroots:
Environmental group Earthroots' request for an environmental assessment on the Temagami Forest Management Plan was recently denied, allowing clearcutting in pristine areas to begin anew under the controversial plan. The group's request had stopped normal operations in Temagami for four months while the Ministry of Environment (MOE) considered it.
"We have been pushing for the full implementation of the Temagami Land Use Plan which includes integrated resource management planning and detailed planning for recreational and remote values," said Victor Lorentz, Earthroots Forest Campaigner.
"In rejecting our request the MOE is rejecting these values."
Earthroots' concerns dealt with the lack of recreation planning and high violation rates at access control points in Temagami. The Minister's decision did, however, order the MNR to monitor the effectiveness of their access control systems and report publicly on the results. MNR must also develop and use alternative measures of access control if a restriction is found to be ineffective, according to the MOE response.
"While we're happy there will be a higher level of accountability for MNR's access control measures, we feel these measures have adequately demonstrated their ineffectiveness already," added Lorentz. "According to MNR's own data, 45% of their inspections revealed a violation. That means that their roads strategy is not working and needs to be immediately improved."
"Temagami's backcountry is shrinking, contrary to land use guidelines. It will continue to diminish without action from MNR on integrated resource management as called for in the Temagami Land Use Plan," said Hap Wilson, Eco-tourism operator in Temagami.
"The government's commitment to Land Use Planning is in danger. The Temagami Land Use Plan was the template for land use planning in the rest of the province and Temagami is supposed to be under 'model management' by the MNR. If they're not taking land use decisions seriously here, I shudder to think what will happen in the rest of Ontario," added Lorentz.
Earthroots vows to keep up the pressure on the government to follow its own land use guidelines.