The Friends of Temagami attend important forestry meeting in Sudbury

Desired Forest and Benefits Meeting Sudbury Forest Management Unit April 11, 2018

For Immediate Release

By PJ Justason

The Friends of Temagami (FOT) had the opportunity to attend the Desired Forest and Benefits Meeting for the Sudbury Forestry Management Unit on April 11, 2018. It was only made possible through an invite from a member of the Sudbury Local Citizens Committee (Sudbury LCC) Viki Mather. Otherwise, this meeting touted as the first of many ‘public consultations’ in the Forestry Management Planning process (FMP) is not open to the public.

PJ Justason, President FOT and Alex Mathias, Director FOT were in attendance. Alex Mathias was primarily in attendance representing the Temagami First Nation (TFN). Members of four First Nations were present, including TFN. Several members of the Sudbury Ministry of Natural Resources (MNRF) Sudbury Planning Team, several representatives of Vermillion Forest Management (VFM) planning team, and many others representing the Sudbury LCC, including their invitees. Unable to attend was the Sudbury District Manager Ross Hart due to other commitments. 

The overall objective of the meeting was to set out the objectives for the Sudbury FMP (2020-2030), a five stage process that thats approximately 2 years to complete. The general topics included: Social, economical, forest diversity and provision for forest cover; silvercuture (ensuring harvested areas are appropriately regenerated after harvest or other disturbance); ecologically sustainability (a balance of all of the above).

The meeting was very positive for all involved, with a few hours of meet and greet prior to the formal meeting, including a dinner in between. PJ Justason FOT, Alex Mathias TFN, Mark Lockhart VFM, Tim Lehman MNRF, as well as others were able to have some great discussions! Some discussions were very agreeable, in particular concerning open and honest communication between all parties involved; as well discussions about getting together to go and see the areas, both harvested areas and undisturbed natural areas. Mark Lockhart VFM and PJ Justason have developed a good, open, communicative relationship, and have both committed to continue to foster that relationship. Mark has offered to come before the FOT Board of Directors to speak to FMP. FOT has welcomed the offer and will be facilitating the opportunity in the very near future.

There were many contentious discussions as well, yet all were done in a wonderful, respectful way. VFM, MNRF, and FOT all understand our missions and objectives. FOT stands diametrically opposed to those of VFM and MNRF, and continues to do so. Of particular note:

FOT asserts that anything and everything should be done to protect large intact, undisturbed landscapes, there are only a very precious few left, eg. Solace Wildlands. VFM contends they have been granted licence to manage Crown Land Forest, including the obligation to do so. FOT has suggested the ‘management of forests’ does not need to be only harvesting, VFM disagrees.

FOT asserts road access is highly problematic to the protection of large intact undisturbed landscapes. Biodiversity, wildlife habitat, and over all protection all fall dramatically and dangerously with road access. VFM claim they need to road infrastructure to access and harvest the resources. Hence, why FOT is advocating for the protection of undisturbed landscapes.

A particular concern has come up from the MNRF’s new development in the Forestry Resource Inventory (eFRI), the way in which the forest age and make up are identified for harvest. It is a complex process, one that even the MNRF and Forest Management Companies are still trying to figure out and decipher. The short explanation is that it is not identifying Old Growth forest for the protection outlined by MNRF policy. FOT plans to continue to inquire and ensure this issue is rectified.

You will be seeing more from FOT on a couple of these issues:

Solace Wildlands is under threat of being identified for harvest in the upcoming Sudbury FMP (2020-2030). We plan to do all we can to protect this last vestige of large undisturbed forest. Stay tuned…

The access to the Solace Wildlands is intended to come the way of the Turner Road. A brand new primary access road that runs 20 - 25kms trough from Twinkle Lake to Solace. Construction has already begun, and it is not at all pretty. You will be hearing more from the Friends of Temagami on this!


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