Thursday September 20, 2018

Logging on Big Hawk THIS YEAR: Minutes from Meeting with Bancroft Minden Forest Company

Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012
Minutes from Meeting with James Munn.
Bancroft Minden Forest Company (BMFC)
Background
BMFC is a private organization owned by the forest industry in the area.  It was incorporated in 1998 and holds the licenses to conduct forest management activities on crown land in the Bancroft Minden Forest Management Unit, which includes the areas bordering Big Hawk, Little Hawk and Halls Lakes.   A 10 year management plan was developed and approved by the MNR, and they are currently in the first 5 years of that plan.  This plan includes harvesting on the north shore of Big Hawk within the next 18 months, the area along the Kennesis River between Big Hawk and Little Hawk before 2016 and,  in the 2nd half of the 10 year plan, 4 or 5 smaller areas on Halls lake.
The areas included in the plan have been harvested some 40 or so years ago by Kernahan Construction.  Because BMFC is within its legal rights, the focus of the meeting was on timing of the operations, how the harvesting will be done and clean-up after the harvesting is completed, rather than focusing on how to stop or prevent the plans from being executed.   In addition, questions regarding the implication of logging on the declining calcium levels in Big Hawk was discussed.
The Harvesting Operation
The operation on Big Hawk is scheduled to take place over this winter and next winter.  The area is located on both the west and east side of the river from Sherbourne Lake.  A road from the Partridge Lake turnoff on highway 35 is partially constructed (2/3 of the way completed as of our meeting)  and the operation on the west side of the Sherbourne River will take place this winter.   In preparation for the harvest on the east side, a causeway will be constructed over the river in the area currently used by snowmobiles and ATV’s.  This will include the installation of one or two culverts in the river.  Several other small culverts will be installed in wet areas on the east side where required.  The harvest on the east side of the river is scheduled for the next winter (2013/14) and is dependant on the completion of the access roads and causeway.
The model which will be used is the Single Tree Selection (as opposed to clear-cut).  This means that single trees are marked for harvest based on age and disease.  BMFC advises that the area is heavily diseased with beech bark disease and the selection of those trees will be heavy and will likely result in about 1/3 of the trees being removed.  The area of the map (see previous article)  marked in dark green will be hemlock selection.  The purple areas will retain an overstory (a canopy).
Cleanup
The small culverts on the east side of Sherbourne will be removed and the areas restored to their natural state.  Decisions have not been made regarding the culvert used for the causeway between the east and west sides of the river.  BMFC will be discussing options with the local snowmobile association and other interested parties to determine what the plan will be.
Calcium Levels
BMFC was unaware of the concerns over calcium levels in the Hawks, but pointed out that the MNR was heavily involved in the development of the plans and did not express any concerns at that time.
Potential Implications
– the installation of a causeway on the river will prohibit boat access into Sherbourne, except by a small portage
– as a result of the loss of beech nuts, the food source for wildlife will likely impact  (especially bears) and potentially result in more sightings and disturbances until the  population re-establishes its food source
– the properties directly bordering on the area will likely see the impact of the cut, except where the topography prohibits the operation from proceeding.
– the skyline should remain largely undisturbed
Next Steps
– further investigation into the impact on calcium levels
– meet with MNR to discuss calcium impact and how the Association can remain engaged in the process
– further updates, as appropriate