stonewalls protection for national park wolves
From Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), Wildlands
Increased hunting, roadkills and loss of habitat likely
impacts of new logging road along Pukaskwa National Park
Wolves and other sensitive wildlife that inhabit Ontario's
largest national park are being jeopardized by the Ontario
government's approval of a logging road, warns a coalition
of environmental organizations. A provincial logging road
network to be built along the northern boundary of Pukaskwa
National Park will run directly through the territories
of four of the park's wolf packs and across habitat critical
to the recovery of threatened woodland caribou populations.
"We are asking the provincial government to reconsider
its plan to chop up this intact wild forest by allowing
a series of logging roads that could have a devastating
impact on wildlife and the ecology of this magnificent
park," says Albert Koehl, a lawyer with the Sierra
Legal Defence Fund. Pukaskwa is a 1,880 square-kilometre
protected wilderness area located on the shore of Lake
Superior, roughly 100 kilometres west of Wawa, Ontario.
On behalf of the Canadian Nature Federation, the Canadian
Parks and Wilderness Society and its Wildlands League
and Ottawa Valley chapters, Earthroots, and the Federation
of Ontario Naturalists, Sierra Legal today filed requests
for both federal and provincial environmental assessments
of the road plan.
National Park staff have voiced deep concern over public
access to these new roads, which will come to within 500
metres of the park. The province, however, refused to
incorporate conditions that would reduce the potentialdanger.
"Park wolf populations have been steadily declining,
largely as a result of hunting and road collisions,"
notes Melissa Tkachyk, wilderness campaigner for Earthroots.
"With these new roads, and in the absence of any
laws to limit how many wolves can be shot or snared in
Ontario, the result is likely to be tragic," Tkachyk
"The Ministry of Natural Resources' refusal to even
consider the very reasonable precautions requested by
national park staff baffles us," says Evan Ferrari,
Parks Program director for CPAWS-Wildlands League.
"We need better forest management outside parks
to conserve large mammals like wolves that range across
park boundaries," says Jean Langlois, executive director
of CPAWS-Ottawa Valley. Last fall CPAWS-Ottawa Valley
and Sierra Legal Defence Fund identified Pukaskwa National
Park as a problem area for wolves in an application filed
under Ontario's Environmental Bill of Rights to urge the
creation of an Ontario wolf conservation policy.
Both the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of National
Parks and the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario have
warned that Pukaskwa's ecosystems are already being stressed
to the breaking point by surrounding land uses and activities.
"Under these circumstances, the only reasonable approach
is to stop any further development of this road network
until there is a full assessment of the impacts on the
park's ecology, including its wolf populations,"
concludes Marc Johnson, manager of protection campaigns
of Canadian Nature Federation.