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Reality Check

RC-22: What happens in 'no-logging zones'?

Date Posted: August 13, 2011

In June 2009 the Manitoba Government enacted Bill-3: The Forest Amendment Act, which amended Manitoba's Provincial Parks Act and Forest Act to prohibit logging in provincial parks, creating so-called 'no-logging zones.'

Prior to Bill-3 forestry companies Tolko, and Tembec, and Louisiana Pacific were licensed to log in resource management area land use category areas (LUC) within Nopoming, Whiteshell, Grass River, Duck Mountain, and Clear Lake provincial parks. Louisiana-Pacific did not agree with Bill-3 and continues to log in Duck Mountain Provincial Park. The companies received significant public funds to agree to stop logging activities in the other parks.

Many Manitobans do not know that activities such as mining, petroleum exploration, pesticides use, road building, and other developments are allowed in Manitoba provincial parks. Development activities depend on the classification of the park, and the land use categories within each park.

The Manitoba Government left the resource management land use category (LUC) in place, while repeatedly referring to these 'no-logging zones' as protected. Since June 2009 various new developments have been licensed in these "no-logging" zones. No plan for restoration from past logging practices, or upgrading these lands to protected status has been implemented.

In February 2011, after license appeals, a license was issued for Tolko to build a logging road across Grass River Provincial Park. Tolko started construction of the private logging road, though a rule review of legality of a logging road in the park is before the courts.

In recent years the Manitoba government has increased the number of owner/occupiers within Manitoba parks – those who lease/own/use park land. This increased number of leases/sales to facilitate cottages, road building, business development, transmission lines, and children's camp development inside Manitoba's parks, can impact species, flora, ecosystem functions, and park objectives.

Using pesticides as an example, authorization to apply pesticides in a provincial park is usually required, but an exception exists for owners/occupiers of land inside provincial parks (Park Activities Regulation, s. 18.1).

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