Articles

WOLVERINE PRESENTATION TO DRYDEN LCAC

Submitted by Penny Ratushniak, Dryden LCAC Chair

The Dryden and Ignace Local Citizens Advisory Committees (LCAC) met for their annual Christmas dinner in Dryden on Dec. 14th, 2016. The key note speaker was one of our own members, Dwaine Brown, a local and avid trapper. Dwaine provided an interesting, entertaining and thought provoking talk on his recent involvement with the study on the Gulo gulo, better known as the Wolverine. The Wolverine is the largest furbearer in the weasel family secretly found in the boreal forest. Currently in Ontario, the Wolverine is considered a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 so no hunting or trapping of the Wolverine is allowed. Dwaine’s talk challenged the provincial process that put animals on the threatened species list and explained how this impacts active trappers. Dwaine indicated that there are Wolverine in the area based on this study, and unintentional catches in traps over the years. Dwaine is a passionate furbearer manager, and one of our newest Dryden LCAC members, who is working on a redesign for a safe easy escape trap for wolverine when they are unintentionally caught on the trap line.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry District Manager has brought together members who collectively possess a wide range of experience and/or knowledge in many resource areas such as First Nations interests, naturalists, tourism and recreation, trappers, forest industry, hunters and anglers, and municipalities to name a few to create the LCAC. The purpose of the two local citizen committees (Dryden and Ignace) is to provide advice to the MNRF District Manager. We are able to do this by talking and listening to the public and various interests groups regarding forest resource management. We encourage everyone who has an interest on the Dryden, Wabigoon and English River forests to participate in the forest management planning process and/or contact one of your LCAC members if you have any resource management related questions.

 

Avid Local Mountain Biker Gets Involved With Forest Management Planning

Posted by on Feb 26, 2018 in Articles | 0 comments

Submitted by Penny Ratushniak

Steve Semeniuk is a newer member of the Dryden Local Citizen’s Committee (LCAC) serving his second year on the committee.  Steve is a long time Dryden resident who was born in Dryden and has lived in Dryden his whole life.  For the past 39 years, Steve has worked at the Dryden mill as a Steamfitter/Millwright.  Outside of work, Steve is an avid mountain biker which has taken him through trails in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and the southern U.S.A.  One particular trail system Steve uses all year round and maintains on a regular basis is the Ghost/Mavis Lake Trail system.  Steve admits that this particular trail is one of the reasons he joined the LCAC.  He wants to ensure that recreation areas on Crown Land are made aware of and protected during the Forest Management operational planning process in the area.

In the past two years, Steve has learned much about Forest Management Planning and how the planning and operational concerns are worked through with forestry companies and government and then presented to the LCAC.  He has also learned how diverse the forestry users are in the area, such as forestry workers, trappers, Indigenous communities, recreationalists, and hunters to name a few.    Steve wants to continue to learn about forest management and help residents bring any questions or comments forward to the Dryden Local Citizens Committee.

Steve encourages all users of the forest and the general public to take part in the Forest Management Planning process by dropping into the 2019-2029 Wabigoon Forest Management Plan Operations Information Session at the Best Western Plus Dryden Hotel & Conference Centre on Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. or in Ignace on Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 at the Northwoods Motor Inn from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  This is an opportunity for anyone to get involved and review the strategic direction and proposed harvesting, road construction, and renewal activities for the next ten years on the Wabigoon Forest.  It is also an excellent opportunity to meet some planning team members and LCAC members and discuss any areas of interest you may have to share.  Steve, along with the rest of the Dryden Local Citizens Advisory Committee encourages all interested people to take part in this public opportunity.

Looks Like We Missed a Lake

Posted by on Jan 4, 2017 in Articles | 0 comments

Looks Like We Missed a Lake

by Chris Marchand – The Dryden Observer

As spring sweeps across our landscape a bit early, some residents are already returning to find some of their favourite backcountry haunts not exactly as they left them.

Last week I met with a local outdoorsman who was disturbed to find a well-frequented campsite and access point at Trot Lake, north of Dryden, is now surrounded by a clearcut right to the water’s edge of the small ‘splake’ lake — stocked with hybrid trout.

Whenever you look into a story like this you are led to the same inevitable conclusion — members of the public need to become diligently involved in the early stages of the land-use planning process if they wish their cherished recreational sites to avoid such a fate within a managed forest.

As harvesting activity moves closer and closer to our backyards, it has never been more important to register those things which we value on the landscape to decision makers who I dare say, need help seeing the forest for the trees.

Where the public sees beaches, trails, campsites, lake access points and eagles’ nests, decision makers aren’t tasked towards identifying those values — they must come from us.

So, after a few generations of living alongside resource extraction, it should be suitably driven into our thick skulls by now that the onus is on the public to tell them where these special places are.

So why aren’t we?

Well, to be fair to the public, the consultation process isn’t all that fair to the public.

I would expect the MNR to disagree with that statement, given that they really do make every effort, in their own way, to keep the public informed on harvest plans. They run ads, host meetings and invite residents to view what they’re working on.

The problem, as least as I’ve experienced it in the past, is that the information presented is so laden with esoteric industry concepts, jargon and abbreviations, it is very difficult for the layperson to process in a meaningful and enlightening way.

Having emerged from one or two public land-use planning open houses with my brains oozing out of my nose and ears, it becomes very easy to find an excuse to never put oneself through that again.

In effect, places some people care about — like Trot Lake — get missed.

But what if there were a group between the public and the MNR to help facilitate interaction and bridge that gap between a rolled out map full of curious symbols and coloured crosshatching and somebody’s favourite camping spot or walking trail?

Hold that thought… it appears someone has already had this idea.

And God bless the Local Citizens’ Advisory Committee (LCAC) — a group of volunteers who willingly wade neck-deep into the weed-choked swamp of forestry/government newspeak to gain an understanding of the systems and the MNR perspective.

The LCAC states its purpose is to provide advice to the MNR District Manager and assist in the preparation of forest management plans.

Maybe I got this all wrong, but I happen to think the LCAC would better live up to its title by refocusing on advising the public about areas included in harvesting plans. They might borrow a few ideas from the Dryden Cultural Mapping Project as a way to gather anecdotal data on where recreational or other values exist on the landbase, by marking a spot on an online map. That data could be used to offer alerts to groups and individuals when areas of interest fall within future forest management plans.

With the cooperation of the MNR, their website (drydenlcac.ca) could be a repository of useful maps and information for hunters, anglers, campers and Crown Land users of all kinds — a valued link between land managers and users.

The concept of a local citizens’ advisory committee is a great idea that I think has yet to really explore its potential. If greater public participation is genuinely desired in land-use planning then simplicity, ease of access and community engagement should be the goal of the LCAC.

– Chris Marchand

Cut to shore guidelines short explanation

Posted by on Jan 4, 2017 in Articles | 0 comments

Cut to shore guidelines short explanation

In the new Stand and Site guide there is a cut to shore prescription that allows for a more natural disturbance pattern that mimics the result of a fire.  A fire would burn right to the shore of a lake and allow a younger forest to grow adjacent to the lake.  A lot of birds and mammals need this younger age class and water interface for their habitat.

The cut-to-shore prescription can be applied to a lake where the trees are at least 35 years old or older, or the trees are at least 10 m tall.  Up to 50% of the shoreline can be harvested on small lakes which are 100ha or less and up to 10 % of the shoreline on large lakes.

The cut-to-shore is not allowed on steep slopes or areas where adequate forest is not present around the rest of the lake.   Other criteria such as tourism or public concerns are also considered when determining where the cut-to-shore prescription is applied.

Forest Tenure Modernization in Ontario

Posted by on Jan 4, 2017 in Articles | 0 comments

Forest Tenure Modernization in Ontario

With approximately 85 billion trees, our forest asset is the envy of the world. It sustains a $12-billion industry and delivers hundreds of thousands of jobs to hundreds of communities across Ontario.

Why change the current system?

This modernization process, which was initiated in 2009, will make the system more flexible, and responsive to today’s fast-changing economic environment. It will help put Ontario’s Crown forests to work for all Ontarians.

Today’s forest tenure system originated about 100 years ago. It is based on a model that essentially gives many primary wood-using mills responsibility to manage Ontario’s forests while they also receive their long-term wood supply from Ontario.

In many areas of the province, this system limits opportunities for entrepreneurs, access to timber, and, in some cases, jobs and investment. The most recent economic crisis magnified these problems. Facing a rising dollar, global competition, and a crash in the U.S. housing market, mills idled and some shut permanently. People lost their jobs, leaving an indelible scar on some northern and rural communities.

And while this happened, timber was left unused. In many instances, government had to intervene to ensure new entrants and other operating companies could access this unused wood. One lesson is clear: Settling for status quo costs us all.

What’s changing?

As a first step, the Government of Ontario passed the Ontario Forest Tenure Modernization Act, 2011. This legislation enables the first changes required to implement tenure modernization. Next, Ontario is transitioning to new tenure models: Local Forest Management Corporations (LFMCs) and Enhanced Sustainable Forest Licence holders (Enhanced SFLs). These models will help make the allocation and prices of Ontario’s wood more responsive to market demand, create new opportunities for entrepreneurs, and facilitate greater Aboriginal and local involvement in the forest sector.