Temagami deserves to be preserved and protected: Open Letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty

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Re: Wolf Lake EBR Registry Number: 010-7775

Dear Premier McGuinty:
 
I am shocked and disappointed that the McGuinty government would even consider reneging on the province’s promise to preserve and protect Temagami.  
 
The Green Party of Ontario is strongly opposed to the proposal to remove the forest reserve status from parts of the Wolf Lake Forest Reserve.  We support Wolf Lake being a park-in-waiting, with existing mining claims and leases being automatically designated as parks as soon as they lapse.
 
Wolf Lake is home to the largest old-growth red pine forest in the world.  With trees over 260 years old, Wolf Lake supports a diverse ecosystem that has thrived for centuries.  It provides important habitat for wildlife and has now become a haven for hikers and canoeists.
 
Removing the forest reserve status from part of the Wolf Lake region to encourage mining investment is a dangerous step that threatens this irreplaceable ecological gem.  Such a change would prioritize mining over the protection of natural heritage and special landscapes.  It threatens jobs in the tourism sector.
 
It is irresponsible for the government to backtrack on its commitment to protect Canada’s largest old-growth red pine forest from industrial activity.  Breaking up this landscape into a patchwork of land-use designations threatens to degrade its ecological and recreational value.  Wolf Lake is part of an endangered ecosystem that is estimated to persist on only 1.2% of its former extent.  What remains of this region should be permanently protected.
 
Premier, I hope your government and the Ministry of Natural Resources will do the right thing.  I strongly urge you to maintain the forest reserve status for Wolf Lake.
 
Sincerely,
 
Mike Schreiner
 
cc: Hon. Michael Gravelle
Ministry of Natural Resources, Suite 6630, 6th Floor, Whitney Block
99 Wellesley Street West, Toronto ON  M7A 1W3