BULLETIN: OCT. 7, 2015 – VICTORY!
At an October 7 meeting between our group, and representatives from MNRF and Greenmantle Forest Inc., the Greenmantle representative announced that the cutting plan for the remainder of Block 415 has now been modified to exclude the entire hillside facing Prelate Lake’s east end. The cut will be confined to the other side of this hill, as our group requested. Cutting will also be carried out during winter months, when there will be less disruption for the cottagers, and less soil disturbance leading to potential mercury release into the lake.
All involved in achieving this result have learned the value of public input, and the necessity of robust public consultation for forest management – preferably early in the planning process. It took effort on the part of our group, and on the part of MNRF and Greenmantle Forest Inc., to achieve agreement so late in the process – but it was accomplished, to the credit of all.
We thank everyone who has assisted in saving the hillside facing Prelate Lake.
BULLETIN: SEPT. 15, 2015 – The results of our group’s own water sampling at five different locations around Prelate Lake have been received from ALS Environmental in Thunder Bay. Exciting and significant news – Prelate Lake contains no detectable mercury! This makes matters as crystal clear as Prelate Lake’s waters – Prelate Lake must not be subjected to potential mercury contamination from the proposed clear-cut.
Below, you may click on the Report’s five pages (pages 2 and 3 are the actual testing report, while 4 and 5 give data on control samples, a necessity of lab work). Results for all tested locations were >0.0000050 mg/L, or below the lab’s detectable limit.
You may download the Report as a PDF: Prelate Lake Water Testing Sept. 2015
BULLETIN: SEPT. 9, 2015 – A meeting took place today between concerned Prelate Lake cottage owners (& their supporters), and representatives from MNRF and Greenmantle Forest Inc. Positions and concerns were clarified on all sides. On the subject of potential mercury contamination, it was learned that MNRF does not customarily test before-and-after mercury levels in lakes whose watersheds have been clear-cut. Thus, solid assurances could not be offered by MNRF or Greenmantle regarding this concern, or the odds of contamination, despite any mitigation practices embodied in the cutting plan.
The key MNRF representative, on hearing the strong views of those in attendance, on both the mercury issue and other effects on the beauty and wildlife habitat of the lake, has committed to considering limiting the clear cut to the east side of the hill in Area 415 – which would mean that the west side of that hill, facing Prelate Lake, would not be cut. The potential earliest cutting date has been moved forward to October 16.
BULLETIN: JULY 20, 2015 – Greenmantle Forest Inc. has stated their intentions to begin clear-cutting operations on or after Sept. 16, 2015 on the hillsides surrounding Prelate Lake, in the popular recreation area southwest of Thunder Bay. With so much forest at their disposal, why must they cut in full view of established camp properties? Additionally, research demonstrates that mercury is released from the soils of clear-cut areas into adjacent waterways – Prelate Lake cottagers and visitors drink the lake’s water and eat its fish. Only public opinion, voiced to elected representatives and the media, has a hope of stopping this activity at Prelate Lake and other recreational areas prized by Ontarians for generations.
What are Our Concerns?
Citizens for NWO Deciduous Forest Protection is the initiative of a group people concerned about commercial forest management practices in Northwestern Ontario, Canada – in particular, these two issues:
1) Forest destruction in established recreational areas (for example, Area 415 of the Lakehead Forest, in the natural/recreational area southwest of Thunder Bay). We have recently learned that in addition to the loss of the trees, clear-cutting causes significant release of mercury from the soil into waterways adjacent to the clear-cut. This release is greater than that caused by a forest fire. For more specific information on this, see the PDF:
2) The destruction of large expanses of Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Forest (predominantly deciduous, and in short supply in Northwestern Ontario) and its replanting with conifers
When Did We Begin?
This initiative was formed in 2013 when a Thunder Bay resident and camp owner at Prelate Lake began to inquire into questionable commercial forestry activities taking place in the popular recreation area of lakes and forest southwest of Thunder Bay.
What Do We Hope to Achieve?
1) The immediate suspension of cutting activities in the remaining forested area of Area 415, and any other scheduled cuts in the area’s predominantly deciduous forest. A commercial forestry company, Greenmantle Forest Inc., plans the imminent cutting of deciduous forest almost to the water’s edge at Prelate Lake, which will destroy the natural beauty of the lake enjoyed by generations of Ontario campers. This is in the context of widespread clear-cutting of the area in the last 20 years, altering vast expanses of natural deciduous surrounding forest – much of which has been replanted with coniferous trees.
2) We wish to promote public inquiry into, involvement in and monitoring of commercial forestry activities in Northwestern Ontario as managed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Our particular concern is the destruction of our limited area of Great Lakes-St.Lawrence deciduous forest. Northwestern Ontario is home to only a small amount of this rich ecosystem (the Boreal Forest sits to its north). It is our observation that the process of approval and execution of Forest Management Plans is failing to protect the interests of Ontarians in the preservation of ecologically sound forests and the recreational and other opportunities they provide.
To Contact Us:
To offer support or information, please email Don Stacey at firstname.lastname@example.org.