Cutting Logging from Algonquin
After over 40 years of lobbying, the Canadian non-governmental conservation group CPAWS-Wildlands League is making progress in its goal to eliminate forestry operations in Ontario's Algonquin Provincial Park, one of the most popular canoe-tripping areas in North America (see C&K July 2009). In November, the Algonquin Forestry Authority—the consortium that manages and plans logging activities within park boundaries—agreed to up the total area off limits to logging to about 920,000 acres, just under half of the park's total area.
"We've been working on this for a long time—more protection in Algonquin along the way to a complete logging phase-out," says Evan Ferrari, CPAWS-Wildlands League's director of protected areas. "With this announcement we're another step closer."
Despite being Ontario's most popular provincial park, it remains the only one of the province's 631 protected areas where logging is allowed. To date, powerful logging interests groups have kept forestry in the park—albeit at reasonable levels compared to government-sanctioned harvesting on Ontario's public lands. The decision to expand the total protected area in the park will not decrease the volume of timber being harvested within park boundaries. However, Ferrari says it's a huge success from a conservation standpoint. "This moves us closer to protecting the ecological integrity of one of our country's most famous parks."