Old-Growth Forest Destroyed, Along With Government's Environmental Promises
(Sudbury). The Minister of Natural Resources has recently admitted that the largest old-growth red pine forest in Canada, and possibly even the world, will be opened to logging in the near future. In response to a letter by a concerned citizen, Minister Ramsay has stated that the forest reserve designation for Wolf Lake will be removed and that “the new land use designation would likely permit forest access, harvest and renewal.”
The Wolf Lake old-growth forest is located along the Chiniguchi waterway, north-east of Sudbury. A part of the unique Temagami region, Wolf Lake contains old-growth red pine trees up to 300 years of age. In 1995, the Ministry of Natural Resources stopped the allocation of timber at Wolf Lake to protect the forest. However, last year the Ministry indicated its intention to remove the forest reserve designation so that mining exploration in the area would be better able to draw investment.
“What we’re seeing here is pressure from the mining industry to remove forest reserve protection from Wolf Lake” explained Mike McIntosh, Chair of the Friends of Chiniguchi. “This will eventually lead to the harvest of old-growth pines in the area. If logging is allowed to proceed at Wolf Lake, an ancient ecosystem will be lost.”
The Liberals have been campaigning on their green initiatives, yet they refuse to grant permanent protection to the old-growth red pines at Wolf Lake. The area’s forest reserve designation is scheduled to be removed sometime in the next year. Old-growth red pine forests are an internationally endangered ecosystem, and concerned environmental organizations believe that the Minister of Natural Resources must grant permanent protection to Wolf Lake.
“It is unconscionable to allow this rare ecosystem to be destroyed,” stated Catharine Grant, Earthroots Forest Campaigner. “If the Liberals are a green as they claim to be, they must maintain Wolf Lake’s forest reserve status. The public will not stand for the destruction of one of the world’s last remaining old-growth red pine forests.”