No logging activity is scheduled for the Upper French River region on Crown Land outside French River Park.
Logging activities took place in the summer of 2009 west of Wigwam Channel. On still days the whine of machinery from chainsaws and the large processor saw was audible over 5 km away. This area is accessed by East Road from Monetville. In the summer of 2010, cottagers reported 4-wheelers accessing the south shoreline near island cottages south of Sandy Island.
Map 1 shows this area as Fryer Block 43. Fryer Block 47 was not logged but has been shifted to the 2009-19 FMP. Note the road labeled Bertram Extension which accesses the area south of Sandy Island.
Map 2 shows an area south of Satchels Bay, which has also been shifted to the 2009-19 FMP
April 19, 2009
The planning process for the Nipissing Forest 2009-19 Forest Management Plan (FMP) is nearing an end. For 2 years, Nipissing Forest Resource Management Inc. (NFRM), which holds the licence to harvest timber on Crown Land in the Nipissing Forest, has been engaged in a detailed planning process. This process includes the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), a variety of technical and First Nations representatives, and the Nipissing Forest Local Citizens Committee (LCC) of which Dave Minden is a member representing cottagers. The FMP process is required by the Sustainable Forest Act, the law that regulates logging in Ontario. The plan is written by NFRM and approved by MNR which administers the entire forest management planning process.
The FMP was approved on March 26 2009 by the Regional Director of MNR, and we are now in a 30-day public inspection period when members of the public may review the entire document and make final comments. The inspection period runs from March 27 to April 25 2009.
Cottagers in the Upper French River area should be aware of the following:
One of the biggest controversies with the 2009-19 FMP centred around the village of Restoule, which is about 15 km southeast of Satchels Bay. Residents of Restoule were opposed to one particular forest access route (called Hawthorne Drive) and did not want logging trucks to pass through the village. NFRM continues to negotiate with a private landowner to access Hwy 522, which runs south of Restoule. Eventually, Dokis FN might also haul logs via this southern route.
In a related issue, logging trucks coming from the north of Restoule will continue to haul, but may be under timing restrictions. Due to the proximity of the Sand Lake Road to Restoule Provincial Park, log hauling will not be permitted during the summer tourist season. This may have an impact on logging operations in Patterson Township.
If you would like to view the current 5-year plan (2009-14), or the Annual Work Schedule, or be on the mailing list for all public consultation please contact:
3301 Trout Lake Rd.
North Bay ON P1A 4L7
The windstorm of July 17, 2006 will be remembered as an extremely destructive storm especially in the French River region which was one of the hardest hit areas. From Chaudiere Lodge to Sandy Island, vast numbers of trees (including pine, birch and poplar) were felled and the landscape was changed. Other hard-hit areas included the west end of Lake Nipissing, Verner, and Mattawa. In total, over 10,000 ha of forest were affected and the results will be seen for many years. Amendments to the 2004-09 Forest Management Plan were made to salvage the timber in some areas; some took place in Patterson Township. This photo was taken on the Sandy Island trail north of Tall Pines Camp Aug. 20, 2011, five years after the windstorm.
The Nipissing Forest extends from just west of Lake Nipissing to Mattawa and from Trout Creek north to Marten River. The forest that is on Crown Land is managed by Nipissing Forest Resource Management Inc. (NFRM) under a Sustainable Forest Licence granted by the MNR. This licence requires the company to carry out timber harvesting and forest renewal and maintenance activities necessary to provide for the sustainability of the Crown forest, as defined under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act. NFRM is also responsible for preparing Forest Management Plans, Annual Work Schedules, Annual Reports, and other documents.
The company oversees all forest management activities on the Nipissing Forest and monitors operations to ensure compliance with all requirements. NFRM allocates regions (called blocks) of the forest to companies that carry out the actual logging operations. The Ministry of Natural Resources provides direction, sets requirements and standards, and approves forest management activities. Independent audits of these activities are regularly carried out. None of these regulations apply to private land.
Companies such as Tembec, Georgia-Pacific (formerly Grant Forest Products), Goulard Lumber, and others carry out logging activities on the Nipissing Forest. Dokis First Nation and Fryer Forest Products Ltd. are allocated blocks of forest south of the French River and south of Lake Nipissing. Details are outlined in the 2009-19 Forest Management plan and Annual Work Schedules.
Dokis Road – There are safety concerns regarding large haul trucks on the narrow Dokis Road and subsequent increased costs for maintenance.
Historical and Traditional Trails – Trails that have been used historically can be protected by an AOC (Area of Concern) where a buffer is created to leave the trail intact. The Hobson family identified trails, and modifications to the plan were made.
Logging Roads and Security – Various roads are constructed during a logging operation. Many secondary and tertiary roads feed into a primary road, and landing sites (large open areas) provide areas to process trees into saw logs and to load large haul trucks. During and after logging operations, these roads may also be accessed, with or without permission, by the public on vehicles that include pick-up trucks, 4-wheelers and snowmobiles. Access is a major area of contention wherever logging is carried out on public land. With access is the increased threat of cottage break-ins and a change in the nature of a remote boat-access region. Arrangements were made by Cutter Forestry Consultants to eliminate public access to secondary roads.
Logging Road Use – The primary road currently goes from Dokis First Nation along the south shore to Hardy Bay. Please note these roads are not open to public use. Do not use them without permission from NFRM. (705-752-5430). Drivers of large logging trucks and forestry vehicles are not expecting other users.
The UFRCA was informed on August 3, 2003, that logging was taking place near the south shore of the Upper French River and the north shore of Marsh Bay.
Both logging operations are outside of the boundaries of French River Provincial Park. The UFRCA would like to thank George Hobson who brought this issue to our attention. The Hobson property on the south shore extends to the Park boundary and the logging operation and road construction abutted his property. Noise from road construction was very audible. He confirmed the logging activity and gathered a great deal of information and detail on the operations.
When the UFRCA confirmed this activity, the Executive knew that this would be an important issue and one that would need to be fully explored and communicated to our members. One of the first things the UFRCA learned was that the forestry in this area is managed by Nipissing Forest Resource Management Inc., based in Callander, Ontario.
The next step was to visit the logging operations. George Hobson took David Goodwin (2003 President) and Larry Smith (Vice President) on a four-hour tour of the entire logging operations at the beginning of September, 2003. During the tour, we were impressed with the quality of the operation, the different selection systems being used and the detailed consultation with the Ministry of Natural Resources. We also appreciated the time that Cutter Consultants took to answer a lot of our questions, which alleviated a lot of our concerns. We have also enjoyed continual dialogue with the MNR and Nipissing Forest Resource Management Inc. on the state of the current logging operations and the next 5-year plan (2004-09) being developed.
Our mission is to ensure that we have proper representation and consultation to ensure that our members’ concerns, issues, and needs are addressed.
The goal of the Forest Sustainability Act (1994) is “to provide for the sustainability of Crown forests and, in accordance with that objective, to manage Crown forests to meet social, economic and environmental needs of present and future generations”.
The UFRCA realizes that the issue of logging on the French River is a very sensitive issue. A lot of people have vivid memories about the logging issues and experiences in Temagami during the 1980s. However, several things should be considered when discussing logging in this region. No timber harvesting is done within French River Provincial Park. The width of the park, which is classed as a Waterway Park, is 200 metres at a minimum but is wider in many locations. This is not the first logging operation on Crown Land in our area. This area has been logged commercially on a rotational basis for over 100 years and Dokis has had a rich history in this. In years past, high-grading – taking only the best trees – was practiced; but it is now realized that this is not a healthy way to manage the forest. There is no clear cut logging as it was practiced in the past. Dokis Logging Company and Nipissing Forestry Resource Management Company (consultants) have on-going consultations with the North Bay Ministry of Natural Resources Forestry Office and follow the Forest Management Plan that was approved for this area. The plan includes “Areas of Concern” (AOCs) which are buffers around forest values where logging is prohibited and/or modified. Examples of forest values include environmental values such as the edges of lakes and streams, moose aquatic feeding areas, deer wintering areas, raptor (eagle, hawk, and osprey) nests, and social/human values such as canoe routes, snowmobile trails, cultural heritage sites, or historical trails. Marsh Bay is also outside French River Provincial Park. A Canoe Route AOC establishes a 30 m (100 foot) reserve along the shoreline and a 90 m modified zone.
The UFRCA has now become a very strong partner in working with the Ministry of Natural Resources, as well as having a continual dialogue with Dokis Logging Co. and Nipissing Forest Resource Management Inc. Before 2003, the MNR and Nipissing Forestry Resource Management were not aware of the existence of our association. Now, the MNR consults with the association on an on-going basis on all forestry issues that border or may impact the Upper French River.
After reviewing the proposed 2004-09 forestry management plan for the Upper French River, the UFRCA took part in its Dec. 3, 2003 public consultation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and John Cutter. The association was represented in these meetings by David Goodwin (President), Dave Minden (Secretary), Jim Hardy (member) and George Hobson (member). The meeting was very successful. The UFRCA representatives were very impressed with the recognition of all our concerns by both Guylaine Thauvette (MNR forester) and John Cutter (representing the Dokis Bay Indian Corporation). They went through all the maps in detail and provided us with copies. In addition, they also addressed and answered endless questions and concerns we had. They also followed up on our inquiries as well as our 3 main concerns.
As a further result, Dave Minden volunteered and was appointed in December 2003 to the Nipissing Forest Local Citizens (advisory) Committee and represents cottagers from the entire Nipissing Forest. The LCC meets monthly and makes recommendations to the MNR District Manager on a wide variety of forestry issues. Minutes are posted on the NFRM website.
Originally posted 10/1/2004; updated November 26, 2011.