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PostPosted: December 13th, 2012, 9:59 am 
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A friend has sent this. Do you see any problems with the proposed changes?
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MNR is proposing to remove the need for work permits for several activities....in their effort to reduce the workload on an ever smaller work force. Here is a clip:

Proposals to Replace Work Permits with Rules in Regulation or Registration with Rules in Regulation

i) Category: Rules in Regulation for Activity

Explanation of Category: Proponents would no longer be required to obtain work permits for activities in this category but would be required to comply with rules set out in regulations under the Public Lands Act. Projects that do not comply with the proposed rules would require a work permit.

Affected Work Permit Requirements:

• Maintenance dredging
• Restoring, repairing or replacing an existing erosion control structure
• Relocation of rocks and/or boulders for boating and swimming access
• Minor maintenance to trails, water crossings or roads
• Mechanical removal of native aquatic vegetation for swimming or boating access
• Mechanically removing invasive aquatic vegetation


The details are on http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-Extern ... d=MTc2Njgy

I did notice this section which permits prospectors (or anyone pretending to be, like the Wolf Lake speculators) to erect buildings on their claim. That could be a nasty surprise for areas where we travel:

Quote:
...........................
Maintenance of Trails, Watercrossings and Roads

Minor maintenance to trails, water crossings or roads would not require a work permit where the proponent complies with the proposed rules in regulation. Minor maintenance activities include: culvert cleaning; road grading; ditch line clearing; spot gravelling; clearing the road surface; snow plowing; sanding; and dust control. Minor maintenance does not include activities that would alter the present use of the trail, water crossing or road. MNR would continue to require a work permit for all other maintenance activities on trails, water crossings and roads.

Proposals for Rules in Regulation with Registration

Building Construction

Construction of a building on surface rights being used under the authority of the Mining Act would not require a work permit where the claim holder complies with the proposed rules in regulation and registers the activity with MNR. The Mining Act gives the claim holder the right to use and occupy any part of the claim necessary for exploration and development of the mining rights [s. 50(2)]. MNR proposes to develop standard rules for construction of these buildings to ensure that the building is constructed within the claim area and outside of the 120 metre shoreline reservation set out in the Mining Act. The claim holder would be required to register with the MNR indicating when and where the building is being constructed. In addition to compliance related activities registration would also allow the Ministry to take appropriate action in the event of a forest fire. The MNR would continue to issue work permits for construction of buildings on Crown land not subject to a mining claim.

Watercrossings

Maintenance and replacement of clear span bridges and culverts would not require a work permit where the proponent complies with the proposed rules in regulation and registers the activity with MNR. This work permit exemption would only apply to a watercrossing on a road or trail on Crown land where there is a Use Management Strategy for Roads in place and there is a Memorandum of Understanding in place between the proponent and the Ministry of Natural Resources. The rules would require that a professional engineer be hired to ensure the bridge is constructed properly and that sedimentation controls be used to ensure the activity does not impact the environment. Registration would allow the Ministry to follow up for compliance purposes. MNR would continue to require work permits for all new bridges and culverts on Crown land roads and trails.

Streamlining these requirements would allow MNR to focus on higher impact construction activities that continue to require MNR work permits. Work permits will still be required for all activities that currently require a work permit except those proposed to be included in either Rules in Regulation or Rules in Regulation with Registration. Any proponent unable to undertake the activity in compliance with the proposed rules in regulation or the registration requirement would need a work permit before doing the work.
....

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Last edited by Erhard on December 13th, 2012, 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: December 13th, 2012, 12:33 pm 
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The proposed streamlining of the approvals process for the "Maintenance of Trails, Watercrossings and Roads" does not specifically mention portages. In fact, close examination of what activities will be permitted in the "maintenance of trails" clearly indicates it was written to describe groomed trails for use by snowmobiles and/or ATVs and maybe for hiking and cross-country skiing. Not only are portages not mentioned, the most basic trail maintenance activity is not included, i.e., clearing and brushing of windfall and debris.

I am concerned that uninformed enthusiasts will perceive these proposed changes to mean that anyone will be able bushwack a new trail without prior approval or proper supervision. What's missing from this section is the word, "existing" to indicate the scope of these changes is limited to those trails, portages and roads that have already been recognized by the MNR and included in its Natural Resources Values Information System (NRVIS) data base.

Here's a synopsis of the comments I recently submitted:

I have reviewed the Regulation Proposal Notice posted December 5, 2012 on the EBR Registry as Number 011-7669. Please accept this submission of my comments.

I fully support the Ministry's move towards a more streamlined approvals process. I take this opportunity to suggest three (3) minor changes to enhance and strengthen the maintenance of trails. I trust you will accept them in the spirit of collaboration with which they are offered.

1. Amend each mention of "trails, water crossings or roads" to "trails, portages, water crossings or roads".

2. Insert "existing" before each amended mention of "trails, portages, water crossings or roads".

3. Amend the description of what constitutes "minor maintenance of "trails, portages, water crossings or roads" to read "clearing and brushing of the trail, portage or road surface".

Below, I have indicated those portions of the Regulation Proposal that would be affected by these changes.

Proposals to Replace Work Permits with Rules in Regulation or Registration with Rules in Regulation

i) Category: Rules in Regulation for Activity

Explanation of Category: Proponents would no longer be required to obtain work permits for activities in this category but would be required to comply with rules set out in regulations under the Public Lands Act. Projects that do not comply with the proposed rules would require a work permit.

Affected Work Permit Requirements:
• Maintenance dredging
• Restoring, repairing or replacing an existing erosion control structure
• Relocation of rocks and/or boulders for boating and swimming access
• Minor maintenance to existing trails, portages, water crossings or roads
• Mechanical removal of native aquatic vegetation for swimming or boating access
• Mechanically removing invasive aquatic vegetation
. . . . . . . . .

Maintenance of Existing Trails, Portages, Watercrossings and Roads

Minor maintenance to existing trails, portages, water crossings or roads would not require a work permit where the proponent complies with the proposed rules in regulation. Minor maintenance activities include: culvert cleaning; road grading; ditch line clearing; spot gravelling; clearing and brushing of the trail, portage or road surface; snow plowing; sanding; and dust control. Minor maintenance does not include activities that would alter the present use of the trail, water crossing or road. MNR would continue to require a work permit for all other maintenance activities on trails, portages, water crossings and roads.


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PostPosted: December 13th, 2012, 12:46 pm 
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On paper, the work proponents should be capable of following rules and regulations, and doing the work without harm to the natural area... on the ground there may be many violations which go overlooked. I think, really, that this "streamlining" and "modernization" is simply putting lipstick on the pig... with cutbacks and downsizing, there won't be enough MNR staff to do all the site inspections necessary to ensure that work is being done without harmful effects. "Streamlining" and "modernization" sounds good on paper but on the ground, without actual verification by non-proponents, the reality could be different entirely.

During the nineties, the Rae government eliminated many forestry positions from MNR staff with fewer site inspections being done afterwards, under the assumptions that forestry companies were capable of carrying these out without government oversight, being self-assessing and self-policing with no harm done. Afterwards, independent studies revealed many violations... the above situation may turn out the same.

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PostPosted: December 13th, 2012, 2:45 pm 
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I've never been asked to show a permit or anything when I'm out clearing portages. Didn't even know such an animal existed. I'll continue to ignore the things I don't know about.


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PostPosted: December 15th, 2012, 9:27 pm 
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I certainly appreciate the idea of not being concerned because you've never been hassled before. But this work permit issue goes deeper than that.

There are two kinds of canoe routes in Ontario. Ones which are recognized by the MNR, and ones which are not. The ones that are recognized receive some protections from forestry and other developments. The ones that are not recognized do not receive protection.

It will come as a surprise to no one that the MNR's database of canoe routes is incomplete. There are many canoe routes which are in use every year, but do not receive any protection. Many other unrecognized routes are in danger of being lost due to lack of maintenance and lack of use - brought about in part because they are unrecognized.

Individuals or organizations may request that one of these forgotten routes be officially recognized. I do work like this for the Friends of Temagami as a volunteer. In the past, a small number of routes have been recognized through Forest Management Planning. In the majority of cases, however, the MNR refuses the request. Basically, they reserve the right to tell canoeists what qualifies as a canoe route.

Recently, the MNR has taken a different approach. They have begun insisting that if we want a canoe route to be recognized, it must be treated as a "new value" (even if it has been there for thousands of years). We must request recognition by applying for a work permit. The MNR may require an environmental assessment of the same type that is given to new garbage dumps. Costs for the assessment must be borne by the proponent. Clearly, this is a strategy to discourage people from requesting that existing unrecognized canoe routes be given the same protection as recognized canoe routes.

So even if you don't personally care about work permits because you've never seen a government bureaucrat on a portage.... you should. People like me, who are trying to protect canoe routes for you to paddle, care about how this work permit system is set up.

The Friends of Temagami will be making a submission to the MNR on this issue. So will the Wabakimi Project and others. You do not need to read all the boring policy documents to help. (That's my privilege.) What you can do is click on this link.

http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-Extern ... g=MTE4MDQz

Then fill in your details and in the comment box say something like this:

"I support the proposals made by the Friends of Temagami to make it easier for paddlers to maintain canoe routes and get canoe routes recognized without having to wade through red tape. Since the province of Ontario abdicated responsibility for canoe route maintenance, regular citizens have picked up the slack. Passable canoe routes support a multi-million dollar industry, encourage people to stay healthy and get exercise, and foster the creation of environmental stewards in adults and children alike. People and organizations doing this work for the benefit of Ontario's environment, society, and economy should not be penalized."

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PostPosted: December 15th, 2012, 10:33 pm 
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While I applaud Curly's efforts and support his call for CCR members to get involved, I must point out the the MNR has a policy of treating all "form letters" as a single submission. In making your comments, please do not use Curly's suggested comment word-for-word. Instead, take a moment to write you own personal message so that it receives the consideration it deserves. And don't forget to mention that you're a paddler who regularly uses the province's canoe routes.


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PostPosted: December 16th, 2012, 11:02 am 
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I'm not sure how it is in Temagami, but every time I have sat down with the MNR and the FMP lead, they have been most receptive to my information about canoe routes. If I tell them there is one, and provide them with map information, they enter it into NRVIS. I've submitted many routes, and also provide them with updates when I get them in the field. What does that have to do with work permits?


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PostPosted: December 18th, 2012, 11:45 am 
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Rob:
As you know, I have been involved in some of these issues in NW ON and in those Forest Management Units we have been able to get routes entered into NRVIS by providing the information to the managing forester. This was the case for Ogoki FMU and more recently the Nipigon FMU when those plans were being written.

I have also had some involvement in 4 FMU's in NE ON, Temagami, Sudbury, Nipissing and Timiskaming as those Forest Management Plans were under development. In the case of Sudbury and Timiskaming, Friends of Temagami presented information on routes that were on the landscape but not in NRVIS for either unit. In both cases we were denied protection for these routes and we went to Issue Resolution at the Plan level, then the District level and finally at the Regional Director level. We were denied, in all cases and eventually told that we needed to apply for a work permit and initiate a Class EA process in order to have these routes recognized in NRVIS.

In Sudbury, I subsequently requested a Work Permit to "re-open" a short route known as the Marjorie Lake route. I started that effort in September 2011 and finished in early May of this year.

The problem in Timiskaming is more complex. Friends of Temagami had identified about 11 missing routes on the FMU and we were subsequently advised that we needed to go through the MNR Class EA for Resource Stewardship and Facility Development Projects and we would have to undertake the information gathering ourselves. This is an almost impossible task for a small NGO to undertake. We have partnered with another NGO, Friends of Grassy River, to re-open one route, the historic Little Hawk Portages, which cross the height of land between the Montreal River flowing south and the Grassy River flowing north to the Mattagami River and then James Bay. The Friends of Grassy applied for a permit and eventually got one. Several of us in both NGOs are now involved in clearing those portages and getting them recognized in NRVIS for Timiskaming FMU.

There are different management styles in different parts of the province.


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PostPosted: December 18th, 2012, 12:16 pm 
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Yes, well hopefully southern ways don't infiltrate the North. Perhaps it has to do with the population base. The MNR has been fairly liberal with the identification of routes up here. Hopefully they will continue this pattern.


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PostPosted: December 18th, 2012, 12:30 pm 
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Yeah Rob! That would be good.


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PostPosted: December 19th, 2012, 10:04 am 
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A good read,thanks! I just don't get the differences from one place to another. There must be some things behind the shadows we are not being told. In regards to Little Hawk portages,we have a gentleman at MNR who was informative and interested and very helpful with the re-discovery of this lost route. In saying that..He...as Mac will point out,the other people in his unit formed barriers when Friends of Temagami was working on the Forest unit parts in the area. I believe that probably work permits for each area we want to use have to be applied for separately to save areas from total clear cutting. We only have a certain amount of people to do this and by the time this is done we will have lost 98 % of what we consider a value. There are many maps (some still put out by MNR along with groups like The Winter Green Fund) and I don't think these routes even are recognized as a value. These routes I speak about are all in the Temis.forest region we are trying to protect and even date back on survey maps from 1867 and 1908. The Outdoor Adventure Maps (4) are great and cover Timmins West,East,Gogama and so on but are of no value if the area gets logged right to the waters edge and portages can't be found,then animal habitat is lost along with erosion and then fish habitat is lost. It changes the balance of nature when moose can't hide from wolves or rabbits can't hide from their foe and so on. Let alone losing historical sites of settlements they may have lived on these rivers and lakes 2 hundred or 600 hundred years ago. Just some thoughts,Im very new in this area of thinking and Im happy to belong to Friends Of Temagami and at least I can,in a small part continue to save some small parts of our canoe history by finishing Little Hawk portages and seeking full protection there before moving onto the next route. Paul


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PostPosted: December 19th, 2012, 10:40 am 
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Yes, well the protection accorded by having a route recognized is another can of worms. And once again, it varies from one Management unit to another. However, in most cases, the buffers are small, and there will be no guarantee that portages in between lakes will be protected. Several of the routes we look after up here have had crucial portages between lakes wiped out. And this was on established routes that were entered into NRVIS. We have re-established several of the ports, but there is little pleasure in porting over a clear cut. I support the forest industry up here, but I would like to see a more generous and thoughtful application of buffers to existing routes.

Cutting is going full scale in the Kenogami plan, so vigilance is necessary to ensure that the buffers are being respected.


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PostPosted: December 19th, 2012, 11:06 am 
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There are two parts to the solution. First is to have a province-wide organization speak on behalf of canoe routes. There are a small number of regional or local groups doing this work, but this is insufficient. The second part is to have a province-wide minimum standard for canoe route designation and protection. For instance, portages in Algonquin Park receive, I think, 60 m on either side. Portages in other parks of the province, even on officially-designated routes, receive NOTHING.

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PostPosted: December 19th, 2012, 11:44 am 
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Slight correction there Curly. Most water way parks in Ontario have generous buffers, more so than the ones given to non-parks. 200 meter buffers are fairly standard for the parks up here, such as the Steel, Drowning, Little Current and quite a few others. These buffers enable the illusion of wilderness to prevail on most of these non-maintained water way parks.

Edited to include...portages themselves are not recorded as a value, but with the generous 200 meter buffer, most ports are protected.

My ideal would to see this 200 meter buffer applied to all recognized routes.


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PostPosted: December 19th, 2012, 1:57 pm 
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Quote:
portages themselves are not recorded as a value, but with the generous 200 meter buffer, most ports are protected.
This statement is only partly true. Application of an adequate shoreline no-cut reserve will effectively protect portages that parallel a waterway. That probably takes care of 95% of all portages but the 5% that cross overland from one water body to another lose this protection once they stray outside these shoreline reserves.

Many forest management plans already contain specific prescriptions for the protection of portages as required by the Forest Management Guide for Cultural Heritage Values (2007). Despite the existence of this direction, not all FMPs provide this consideration nor is there any uniformity in the level of protection provided in those that do.

On page 40, the Cultural Heritage Guide stipulates

For trails, portages, and other traditional travel corridors, the value plus an appropriate buffer to protect the context of the cultural feature is the area of concern.

On the following page (p. 41), the "appropriate buffer" is further defined: 

For some features a narrower reserve but an additional area of modified operations (e.g. partial harvest) may be an appropriate prescription. For example, a portage, trail or farmstead might have a reserve and a partial harvest zone around the reserve.

Section 4.2 (Effectiveness Monitoring) (pp. 49-50) states, in part:

Windfirmness, survival, and non-disturbance of reserves: In order for a reserve to be effective in protecting the value, it is important that the integrity of the reserve remain until the surrounding forest has regenerated. A live and intact reserve meets this objective. . .

. . . most cultural heritage landscape values are not given a specific reserve in this Guide, but rather left to be determined based on an understanding of the value. A qualified individual determines the protection measure(s) in conjunction with the planning team.


This last statement is the crux of the problem. The Cultural Heritage Guide fails to define a specific minimum width of the recommended reserve. Consequently, concerned stakeholders are forced to negotiate with the planning teams of each separate FMP and plead for adequate protection of this valuable cultural heritage value. In my opinion, the width of a "live and intact reserve" that can resist the effects of natural disturbances should not depend on planner's collective "understanding of the value" which can change every decade with the creation of each new FMP planning team.

One last thought . . . nowhere in the above citations is there any suggestion that the buffer/reserve should be applied on each side of the trail.

I have prepared a Survey of Portage AOCs that lists the FMPs that currently provide a prescription for the protection of portages and summarizes the extent of each AOC. Those FMPs that provide little protection beyond the width of the trail should be the focus of attention when their respective 10-year renewal or 5-year interim review next occurs. Contact me (pjcotton@tbaytel.net) for a copy.


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