Some town residents are concerned about a portion of walking trails along Hopkins Bay Road being designated for cuts through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests (MNRF) 2020-2030 Forest Management Plan.
While the MNRF said they developed a course of action intended to preserve the trail base and ensure debris does not obstruct it, about 800 metres of the southern end of the trail system will be affected.
The harvest block is located on the east side of Reef Point Road for approximately 275 metres before and 160 metres after the junction with Hopkins Bay Road and for approximately 500 metres along the both sides of Hopkins Bay Road.
The MNRF has 9.5 km of trails in the area mapped, and the loggers who cut in the area will modify their harvest within a 20 meter zone on either side of the trail.
“The logger will remove mature trees, but leave the smaller and more wind-firm trees standing,” explained MNRF management forester Phillip Cooze.
"Also, crossing of the trail by logging equipment will be minimized and operational roads will avoid the trail as much as possible.
“Any and all logging debris must be removed from the trail after completion of operations.”
During logging operations, the public may not be able to use the impacted section of the trail for safety reasons, since heavy equipment will be operating, according to Cooze.
The areas were designated as part of the 2020-2030 Forest Management Plan through the MNRF's planning team who decides the amount of area to be allocated based on species and age class.
“We select eligible harvest areas based on a number of criteria, including selecting older stands before younger stands,” Cooze explained.
The MNRF have indicated they received a few comments from the public regarding this block and are still in a 60-day public consultation period.
At the end of the consultation period, which closes on Oct. 28, the MNRF's planning team will discuss any comments received and determine how to best consider them given their forest planning objectives.
Anyone who would like to comment on the 2020-2030 Forest Management Plan and be involved in the consultation process can contact Cooze at email@example.com
Going forward, the MNRF hopes to complete the plan over the winter and implement it starting April 1, 2020.