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Where do we go from here?

Ongoing Challenges continued:

Ministry of Natural Resources staff members are working with Algonquin Eco Watch toward establishing greater protection for a small number of major Algonquin headwaters that source outside the Park, but were omitted during the “Lands for Life/Ontario’s Living Legacy” program. Unfortunately this initiative ended before all such headwaters could be included....

 A mandated review of the Algonquin Park Master Plan is presently long overdue. It is not felt feasible by Park staff to proceed with this undertaking until settlement of the Algonquin First Nation land claim has been achieved – and this is not proceeding rapidly. Meanwhile, an in-depth study of eastern Algonquin Park, entitled “The North/East Study”, was completed and submitted in March of 1999 but to date has been neither publicly discussed, accepted, nor implemented – leaving the implementation of future protective measures unachievable. Algonquin Eco Watch will continue to press Ontario Parks for a complete review of the Algonquin Park Master Plan

Potential / predicted threats:

There will always be new threats just over the horizon. If we wish to protect the Algonquin Ecosystem into the future, we must “expect the unexpected” and be prepared to deal with it appropriately. Here are two examples:

1) As Ontario’s population continues to grow, electrical power demands will increase correspondingly. The Province has committed to not only developing new sources of energy, but also to increase the efficiency of present sources. Algonquin Eco Watch predicts that application will be made to twin the high-tension electrical power lines running from the dam on the Ottawa River at Rolphton, Ontario, through the centre of Algonquin Park. This will mean doubling the width of the present Hydro corridor, causing further fragmentation in the Algonquin Ecosystem. Algonquin Eco Watch will oppose such a development strenuously.

2) The “spine” of the Algonquin Dome runs through Algonquin Park from the southeast to the northwest and includes some of the highest elevation in Ontario. Prevailing westerly winds off Georgian Bay make this a prime area for the development of a “wind farm”, which could readily provide electrical power to southern Ontario. If/when application is made for such an undertaking, we must be prepared to act responsibly and ensure that the public is aware of all the inherent ramifications of such a proposal.