Protect Wolf Lake, Green Party leader says

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Read the original article at TheSudburyStar.com

The Green Party of Ontario is calling on the McGuinty government to fulfill what it says is Ontario’s promise to permanently protect Wolf Lake.

“It’s unacceptable that the McGuinty government has failed to protect Wolf Lake 13 years after (former) Premier Mike Harris promised to permanently protect it and 25 years after Ontario’s forester called for protection,” Green Party leader Mike Schreiner said in a release. “It’s inexcusable that the McGuinty government would renew mining leases in the world’s largest ancient red pine forest.”

Wolf Lake is home to the largest remaining stand of old-growth red pine forest known to exist anywhere in the world and is part of an endangered ecosystem that is only about 1.2% of its former size. Much of the lake and the area falls within the City of Greater Sudbury’s boundaries.

Wolf Lake was to be included in the Chiniguchi Waterway Provincial Park, but the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines has renewed mining exploration leases in the area, preventing the Wolf Lake Forest Reserve from being upgraded to full provincial park status.

Flag Resources, based in Calgary, has said Wolf Lake has the potential for gold, copper, cobalt and palladium mines. The company has been in the area since the 1980s.

Schreiner said he experienced Wolf Lake firsthand while camping and canoeing in the area with his family and Scott Haig, recent GPO candidate in Nipissing, for three days this week.

“Wolf Lake is a haven for hikers and canoeists, and it is economically significant to the region, with Temagami camps contributing over $3.5 million in direct spending each year to our local economy,” Haig said. “This irreplaceable ecosystem deserves to be protected, and I will continue to work with the Wolf Lake Coalition to make this area a provincial park.”

The Green Party has launched a petition calling on the McGuinty government to protect Wolf Lake forever. Go to http://www.gpo.ca/protect-wolf-lake.