The phasing out of commercial logging in 79 of 80 provincial parks and future parks would become a reality through passage of proposed amendments to the Forest Act introduced today by Conservation Minister Stan Struthers.
“The province, in partnership with industry, has moved to end long-term contracts for logging companies in provincial parks and move logging activity outside of parks,” said Struthers. “This is the first major update of the Forest Act in over 40 years and these proposed amendments will modernize the act and protect
Effective April 1, 2009, logging would be prohibited from 79 out of 80 provincial parks and all future parks. Large-scale commercial operations would cease in Whiteshell, Nopiming, Clearwater and Grass River provincial parks.
The amendments to the Forest Act would:
- prohibit commercial timber harvesting from provincial parks with the exception of Duck Mountain Provincial Park; and
- recognize limited cutting for forest-fire control
management, control of pests and diseases, and cutting necessary for park management.
In addition to ending logging in most provincial parks, the proposed Forest Act amendments would support changes in timber administration, management and forest renewal, and update offences, penalties and statutory inspection powers. Provincial officials would be able to stop a vehicle transporting lumber to determine where it was cut and under what authority. As well, offences and penalties would be updated to be in line with other
“This is a significant step in our government’s commitment to preserve and protect the environment,” said Struthers. “The province is enhanced by its richness of natural wonders and ensuring the health of longevity of our forests holds benefits for Manitobans today, tomorrow and for generations to come.”
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE FOREST ACT
As the provincial government moves to phase out commercial logging in 79 of 80 provincial parks and future parks, it is also proposing to strengthen sections of the Forest Act.
Updates to the act’s offence and penalty section would bring it in line with other provincial jurisdictions. Increased penalties and the ability of officers to investigate the unauthorized harvesting of timber would deter illegal harvesting operations and ensure the long-term sustainability of the resource.
Proposed penalties that would result form Forest Act amendments:
- First offence: up to $50,000 and six months in jail (now $500 and up to three months in jail).
- Second offence: up to $100,000 and six months in jail.
- First offence: $250,000 (now $1,000).
- Second offence: $500,000.
Penalty comparisons with other provinces:
|$250,000 and up to five years in jail
|$100 to $5,000 and up to one year in jail (dependent on type of offence)||$10,000 to $100,000 (dependent on type of offence)|
Other changes would allow the province to adjust timber dues to reflect the market value of timber when it is harvested.
Removing logging from 79 of the 80 provincial parks would result in 3.3 million hectares or 97.5 per cent of the area of the province‘s provincial parks being free of logging.