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URGENT Forestry cut on the Peninsula - Action required by June 6th!

What is happening The Ministère des Ressources naturelles et des Forêts (MRNF) is planning a significant forest cut on the peninsula located at the heart of our community. In addition to selective cutting of large swaths of forest, this cut will entail the bulldozing of wide roads and turnaround points for large logging trucks. Based on the impact of previous, smaller cuts in Green Bay and Silver Bay, the plan for this much larger cut poses significant risks to our ecology, lake water quality (sedimentation, milfoil, etc.), public security (break-ins using the new roads, RVs parking, ATV rallies), and overall degradation to the quality of life of Barkmere’s citizens. The size of the planned peninsula logging, which is many times larger than previous cuts, will have major impacts on a majority of lake residents.

Not only is this peninsula central to the ecological health and the heart of our community, this same area has been the focus of joint work by the Town of Barkmere and the Municipality of Montcalm for the creation of a protected area of biodiversity.

What you can do As a community, we need to speak out now. The greater the number of comments and feedback the MRNF receives, the better our chance to shape the outcome of this planned cut. The MRNF has opened public consultation on the integrated forest management plans of the Laurentians region. How to submit your comments and questions Click on the link below to access the MRNF website, where you can zoom in on Bark Lake to add your comments directly to their interactive map for planned logging:

Comments can be written in English or French, and we encourage participants to leave as many comments and/or questions as possible. They have not made this process easy, but DON’T LET THAT DETER YOU! Here are two options to help you troubleshoot

See the impact with your own eyes We have set up File Sharing for pictures and videos from previous cuts. Feel free to upload your own images, or send them to us at Background Negative impacts of previous cuts Logging in the Laurentians has become a major industrial operation and bears little resemblance to romantic notions of loggers with hand axes and a team of horses. Today, logging is done with huge harvesting machines, which can weigh up to 55,000 lbs and gouge huge tracks through the forest, leaving behind a wasteland of slash and slope erosion. For anyone who may doubt these impacts, we invite you to see it with your own eyes by exploring the pictures and video of the damage caused by the 2022 Green Bay cut. The devastation is clear, and leaves little doubt that there is a lack of oversight for logging companies subcontracted by the provincial bodies entrusted with protecting the environment, citizen welfare, and sustainable development in rural municipalities. These bodies include the MRNF, the chief Forester agency, and the Ministère de l’environnement (ME). In comparison with Europe, other provinces, and the US, Quebec’s forestry industry does not “play by the rules” (read the April 22, 2022 article How Québec’s abandoned logging roads are damaging lakes, rivers and streams — and putting wildlife at risk by Sylvain Jutras, Professeur titulaire / Full professor, Faculty of Forestry, Geography and Geomatics, Université Laval).

Flawed MRNF consultation process The call for public consultation has been flawed, rushed, and secretive. The process began on May 11, 2023, and will close in less than one month on June 6, 2023. Although a call for public feedback has been made, the MRNF has not acted in good faith by providing the most crucial and pertinent information about the cut - i.e., we have not been made aware of the actual areas targeted for this cut, nor any information on the timing of road construction and logging operations (we do not even know what season this will take place), or how long it will take (months, years?).

Special characteristics of the peninsula cut zone & potential impacts This peninsula is not just near and dear to our hearts; this unique area is central to the ecological health of our community (this is why the area was demarcated for the creation of a protected area of biodiversity by our town council, in conjunction with the Municipality of Montcalm). What makes it so special?

  • Unique flora & fauna found in the mixed uplands and many permanent streams & wet zones. This is substantiated by the Ministère de l’environnement itself, which indicates that such areas should be excluded from proposed cut zones

  • Its close proximity to the Jackrabbit Ecological Reserve

  • Its location at the heart of Barkmere residences - the peninsula is a critical buffer zone, and typically located only 40’ from cottages on the lake. As seen in the 2022 cut (see picture with ‘pins’ of cut limit & cottages in Green Bay), the proximity of the cut will result in major noise pollution, erosion of soil, and nutrients into the lake. Post-logging, we also anticipate (based on experience of previous cuts) an increase in thefts, ATV activity, and unlicensed RVs setting up, as seen at Hart lake off Silver Bay.

What can be done? The government is sensitive to large numbers of citizens commenting on their consultation process. Our aim is to trigger further consultation with the Town of Barkmere by forcing the MRNF to respond to our citizen feedback, in order to shape the outcome. This could entail;

  • Reducing the area of the cut

  • Delaying the cut

  • Ensuring that the cut happens in Winter, not in Summer

  • Mitigating ecological impacts and maintaining quality of life for residents

Key Links We have identified the below links as resources to help you better understand the MRNF’s mandate, as well as provide feedback as part of their public consultation process. At the moment, the key resource is the MRNF’s interactive map showing planned logging in the province, and on which the public can submit feedback via comments pinned to the map until June 6, 2023.

As previously stated, the MRNF has not made this process easy, but DON’T LET THAT DETER YOU! Here are two options to help you troubleshoot:

  • Previous consultation report on the 2021 Goulden cut (Lac au Brochet / North side behind Green Bay). This report lists the various comments received / themes of concern & MRNF responses, and is a great resource for Barkmere citizens to use as the basis for their comments in the present consultation process. As shown in this previous report, the more responses filed and the more consistent the comments, the more weight given by MRNF to public input.

  • Citizens can make formal Requests for Information from the MRNF. In the Lac au Brochet consultation, there were 188 comments but only 29 requests (which generally are more involved and/or require more work/time for a response from the MRNF). Further, most of the comments were from associations and municipalities rather than individual citizens – if individual citizens were to respond, it might give pause to MRNF.



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