Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

September 06, 2007 12:21 ET

O.F.A.H. Condemns M.N.R.'s Temagami Integrated Plan

Ministry fails local resource users by denying access

Attention: Environment Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor PETERBOROUGH--(Marketwire - Sept. 6, 2007) - In 1999, the Ministry of Natural Resources agreed with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) to amend individual park plans for wilderness class parks to allow hunting where there is demonstrated local public support. Ontario's Living Legacy Land Use Strategy contained the commitment that 'where there is local public support for hunting in wilderness class parks, this will be addressed in the parks planning process'. Despite this, the M.N.R. has failed to live up to its word and ignored the obvious public support for hunting during the Temagami Integrated Planning process, resulting in the loss of 72,000 hectares of hunting area in Lady Evelyn Smoothwater Park alone!

"During the public comment phase of the planning process, Ministry staff repeatedly heard from local residents who supported the maintenance of access and hunting opportunities in all of the areas under discussion, but clearly they failed to listen", said Rob Pineo, O.F.A.H. Forestry & Wildlife Specialist. "Our comments were ignored, the public was ignored, and staff made their decisions in isolation of the people most affected by their actions. It is clear that the public consultation process was a farce, and that staff had already pre-determined what the outcome of the consultations would be. This was a huge waste of taxpayers' money and nothing but window dressing".

Additional losses that resulted from the lack of understanding and lack of serious consultation by the Ministry includes loss of access to Jim Edwards Conservation Reserve; Crown land on the south side of Lady Evelyn Smoothwater Park; loss of 4,800 hectares of hunting area in Obabika River Provincial Waterway Class Park; a huge cost increase to fund the Ministry's plan to manage Crown land recreational facilities to the same standard as provincial parks; loss of motorized access trails through the banning of motorized access on portage trails; and the loss of public motorized access to 40,000 hectares on Bob Lake, East Lady Evelyn Lake, Jim Edwards Lake, North Yorston, Pinetorch Lake and Sugar Lake Conservation Reserves.

"Despite the fact that many of the participants in the Temagami Integrated Planning process told the Ministry that no changes should be made with respect to the management of Crown (publicly owned) land until scientific studies have been undertaken to determine if real negative effects have resulted from existing use, the M.N.R. refused the request. In doing so, Ministry staff abandoned the longstanding principle of making decisions about our vital natural resources based on science, in favour of political expediency. The process has resulted in a huge loss of use and access to our publicly owned natural resources and a complete loss of confidence in the ability of the M.N.R. to properly manage those resources", said Pineo.

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) is the largest non-profit conservation based organization in Ontario, with over 80,000 members and 655 member clubs across province.

Contact: Rob Pineo Dr. Terry Quinney
O.F.A.H. Forestry & Wildlife Specialist Provincial Manager, Fish &
(705) 748-6324 Wildlife
robert_pineo@ofah.org (705) 748-6324
terry_quinney@ofah.org
/For further information: Dr. Terry Quinney
Provincial Manager of Fish & Wildlife
(705) 748-6324/ IN: ENVIRONMENT, FISHERIES, MEDIA, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Rob Pineo, Forestry & Wildlife Specialist
    Primary Phone: 705-748-6324 ext. 240
    E-mail: robert_pineo@ofah.org