Ontario forest and tourism industries sign Resource Stewardship Agreement
July 7, 2022 By Jennifer Ellson
A Resource Stewardship Agreement (RSA) for the forest surrounding Hornepayne, Ont., has been signed between the region’s forest industry — Hornepayne Lumber and Columbia Forest Products — and the Algoma Wilderness Tourist Outfitters Association.
“Managing a forest sustainably is not just about considering the natural components of the forest ecosystem, but also considering others that use the forest,” Richard Groves of Hornepayne Lumber told CFI.
“The remote tourism business is a significant component of the economy in Northern Ontario. This RSA is proof that the two industries can manage the forest to meet the needs of both industries,” Groves added.
It is a milestone, as it is the first RSA to be signed during the implementation of the 2021-2031 Nagagami Forest Management Plan (FMP), the group said in a statement.
“This RSA is about two resource-based industries working together for mutual benefit,” stated Dan Bowes, Ontario woodlands and fibre resources manager at Columbia Forest Products. Bowes added that this will be used as an example for other potential agreements amongst the remaining twenty plus outfitters in the area.
The parties have been working together and will continue to work together in developing recommendations that will maintain a similar level of remoteness that existed prior to forest management operations.
One of the main objectives is to ensure that over the long term there is continued access to timber resources close to tourism values, provided that the value can be protected through the appropriate forest management prescriptions and access management provisions.
“The perception of being in remote wilderness is extremely important for the success of our business. That’s what our clients are looking for and why they keep coming back. Viewscapes from the lake are what gives our clientele the remote wilderness experience, as well as the sustainability of the natural resources — fish and wildlife — on which we depend,” said Betty McGie, a renowned and long-standing operator on Lake Kabinakagami/Kaby Lake.
The group said area of concern prescriptions and road use management strategies found within the Nagagami FMP, as well as other overriding land use decisions such as those documented in the Crown Land Policy Atlas and the Crown Land Use Harmonization project, protect the resource-based tourism values.
The RSA is another step to continue this dialog by working with each individual outfitter to develop site specific strategies to maintain the perception of wilderness that is so very important to their business.
“The forest industry is a key industry partner in Northern Ontario, and we also want to make sure that they are sustainable and viable into the future,” added McGie, who is also former president of Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters.
“We have to learn to be ‘business partners’ in the resource management planning if we are to be sustainable into the future,” McGie told CFI.
The group said forest industry stakeholders recognize that Ontario is a world-class wilderness tourism destination, and likewise the resource-based tourism industry recognizes the necessity for forest industry sustainability.
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