| Sep 02, 2010

In their submission to the Ministry of Natural Resources concerning the proposed five-year forest management plan for the Mazinaw-Lanark Forest, the Skootamatta District Ratepayers Association pointed to eight concerns they have about some proposed logging in the vicinity of Skootamatta, Sheldrake and Pringle lakes in Addington Highlands/North Frontenac.

Then they asked for a one-year moratorium on logging near the three lakes.

The first point made in the submission, which was written by association member Gordon Birnie, concerned the “viewscape” from the shoreline on the lakes. Birine said that in order for the viewscape on the lakes to remain that of pristine wilderness, a minimum of 350 – 500 metre buffer on all crown land is necessary.

Water quality – In some locations, such as Jacques Bay and the Narrows on Skootamatta Lake, the water depth is as low as 12-15 feet, and any potential run-off from logging could exacerbate the already elevated phosphorous levels in those locations.

High Density areas – where there is a high number of lakeside residents, the association would like to see the crown land set aside from cutting to maintain the wilderness experience and property values that residents have enjoyed over the years.

Logging roads – The concern was expressed that new logging roads, particularly in some areas adjacent to Skootamatta Lake, would attract more ATV traffic and “accelerate and already higher incidents of break-ins in this area.

Municipal Roads – The association is concerned about impacts on municipal roads from logging trucks, given that the roads are funded by ratepayers, and logging on crown land does not yield any revenue for the municipalities.

Biodiversity – The association is concerned that no studies on the impact of logging in the vicinity of lakes on biodiversity have been done, and they have commissioned a study, for which they will be seeking financial support from the MNR and the Lanark Mazinaw Forest Inc.

“Old Growth Forest” – There are mature stands of pine at certain locations, which the association would like to see protected.

Beaches and Public Campsites – the association would like to see a logging buffer around all crown land beaches and campsites in the territory.

In the concluding section of his submission on behalf of the ratepayers’ association, Gordon Birnie wrote: “The SDRA requests a 12 month moratorium (or until we reach a firm agreement) on any crown land logging within one kilometre of the shoreline of Lakes Skootamata, Sheldrake and Pringle.

“This moratorium provides Lanark Mazinaw Forest (LMF) with timely input that allows them to proceed with their near term crown land cutting plan in an orderly manner. We understand that LMF Inc. and their shareholders have a business to operate and we wish to continue to co-operate with LMF Inc. in a responsible manner.”

The final version of the Forest Management Plan for Crown Land in Mazinaw/Lanark forest will be brought to a public meeting this coming fall.

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