Ontario is improving access to Crown lands by spending on community access and forest roads. It should allow improved forestry management and increased economic opportunities for remote communities according to an MNRF news release.
Ontario is providing over $74 million under the Provincial Forest Access Roads Funding Program to improve community access and forest roads.
The forestry industry uses community access and forestry roads for their operations, including harvesting and reforestation on Crown lands. The province, in partnership with forest companies and local operators, carefully plan and maintain a combination of primary and secondary access roads throughout Ontario.
Community access and forestry roads are a vital component of the infrastructure used to access Crown lands. These roads benefit a wide range of communities and groups by providing access to some of the most remote areas of the province, increasing economic opportunity, including:
- Indigenous and local communities
- Mining, utility and railway companies
- Tourism operators
- Hunters, anglers and trappers
- Campers, cottagers and the general public.
These roads also act as crucial routes for emergency preparedness, fire response and evacuation.In 2005 the government set up the Provincial Forest Access Roads Funding Program as a way for the government to contribute to the costs to build and maintain these public access roads in Crown forests.
Annually, over 20,000 km of forest access roads on Crown lands are maintained by the funding program. This includes many bridges and other stream crossings that are repaired and replaced annually, thereby reducing environmental and safety concerns.