Ontario releases plan for Woodland Caribou Signature Site

The Ontario government is releasing the final management plan for the Woodland Caribou Signature Site in northwestern Ontario, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay said today.

“The plan protects the site’s unique features, including rare woodland caribou, while allowing for appropriate recreational uses as part of the economic strategy for the area,” Ramsay said.
The final management plan provides a vision and directions for the Woodland Caribou Signature Site area. Located in the Canadian Shield, north of Kenora, west of Red Lake and Ear Falls and south of Pikangikum, the site covers 537,000 hectares of boreal forest. It comprises the Eagle-Snowshoe Conservation Reserve and Woodland Caribou Forest Reserve, the Pipestone Bay-McIntosh Enhanced Management Area and Woodland Caribou Provincial Park and its recommended additions.

The plan was developed over five years with input and advice from an advisory committee, a First Nations Working Group, regional and municipal representatives and the public. The plan protects the area and enhances the management of the ecological and economic health of the signature site area and its communities, now and for future generations.

The site has many outstanding cultural, recreational, and environmental features, including prehistoric artifacts and pictographs. With over 2,000 kilometres of canoe routes, an excellent sports fishery and many rare species of plants and animals, it is a popular destination for backcountry camping, wildlife viewing and remote tourism at high-quality operations. Other existing uses include trapping, rice harvesting and Aboriginal subsistence harvesting.

The Municipality of Red Lake was a significant contributor from the early stages of the planning process. “As a member of the advisory committee, I was pleased to have been involved in such an important initiative,” said Mayor Phil Vinet. “The municipality and surrounding region can now begin realizing the benefits of living next to this world-class adventure destination.”

The plan supports the development of an inter-provincial wilderness area with the Province of Manitoba. It also supports the Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage Site initiative, a joint effort of the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba and four First Nation partners to have 42,000 square kilometres of land in eastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site.

The final plans are available on the Environmental Registry at ontario.ca/environmentalregistry, Registry Number PB02E6023. Copies are also available at ministry district offices in Kenora and Red Lake, at the Woodland Caribou Provincial Park office, or at www.OntarioParks.com.