In attendance: Jim Murphy (Park Planner), Rick Stronks (Natural History Education Program), Andrea Coulter (Planning Intern), Barry Bridgeford (ABR Executive Committee) and Bill Warren (ABR Executive Committee). Following are the main items dealt with at the meeting ...
1. Algonquin Provincial Park - Organization - Staff Update
ABR had raised concerns in late September that it didn't have a clear understanding of the staffing, responsibilities and organizational structure of Park Management The ABR Executive Committee had asked if it could be provided with detailed charts and listings of those items.
> Jim provided 3 sheets of organization outline .. from the Ontario Parks Director down to and including the parks own management level. Barry shared the website address ... http://www.infogo.gov.on.ca/infogo
... where the upper part of the hierarchy can also be accessed.
Kevin Hein (Administration) is a member of the Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario (AMAPCEO). He looks after the financial side of running the park.
Dave Coulas (Operations Manager) fills this new position which manages the day-to-day affairs of the park.
Ed Palecny (Highway 60 corridor) manages the geographic area on either side of Highway 60 .. including all its drive-in campgrounds, picnic grounds, stores, parking lots, interpretive trails. Those other responsibilities that relate to the backcountry (access points, portages, campsites) are not his.
Andrew Chambers (Operations South) and Jeremy Inglis (Operations North) have their respective backcountry management responsibilities, with the boundary between their areas running roughly in a NW to SE line through the center of the park. They also oversee camps and lodges, environmental reviews and the issuance of building permits. In the case of large construction changes, they bring-in the park planner.
Rick Stronks (Natural Heritage Education) manages all educational programs, including those of the FOAP. The FOAP takes direction from park management as to what projects they develop, where they apply funding and what content they include in those programs and publications. The FOAP function is basically to 'enhance' the park's educational programs.
2. LNT Poster Update
> Rick indicated that the target date for the production and distribution of the LNT Seven Principles poster is the meetings that management conducts in the spring with all the access point contractor staff groups. The poster will be explained to the field-staff at those meetings and should be in place at access point offices for the spring trout opener. Andrea will be creating the production-ready files of the poster.
3. Next step in LNT Educational Program Update
> Park management has re-prioritized elements of the park's LNT Education Program. A full-detail LNT booklet and will not be producing one at this time. Rick's concern was that only a portion of campers either will put out money to acquire one or will have the time to read through it.
> Management's revised plan is to produce a website/monitor LNT instructional short video which will better inform the public of LNT principles, skills and ethics. The video production project time-line is .. to finish the storyboard by the beginning of summer 2012 .. to acquire imagery over the summer of 2012 .. to produce the actual video over the winter of 2012-2013 .. and to release the video by the spring of 2013.
> At Rick's request, the ABR will be re-issuing their request to the public for imagery of LNT subject matters, in both digital 'stills' and video formats.
4. LNT - Overlap of Backcountry and Frontcountry
Barry explained the ABR's desire to have AP and FOAP share in the understanding that backcountry LNT skills and ethics should also be promoted to frontcountry users since they so often foray into close-by areas of the backcountry .. where for example: fires shouldn't be built just anywhere, cans and bottles shouldn't be used, dogs should be leashed, portage landings should be kept clear, etc.
> Jim and Rick agreed that frontcountry recreationalists should be made aware that they are expected to comply with backcountry requirements when day-tripping away from frontcountry facilities. They agreed that portages, landings, campsites and trails should be respected by even frontcountry day-trippers and that they will include that requirement in the frontcountry part of the LNT education program.
5. The FOAP Website - Backcountry Recreation and Forestry Activities
While the FOAP website's Backcountry Camping section provides people with much information to help them in planning backcountry camping trips, it has neither cautioned people to avoid areas of noisy logging activities, nor has it provided direct linked reference to the AFA's Work Schedule Maps. The ABR suggested that a forthright and informative approach, regarding the locations of logging operations, will give backcountry campers the best opportunity to plan and enjoy a truly wilderness-like experience. We requested that an open and informative treatment of logging activities and their associated noise be included in the FOAP website's Backcountry Camping section, along with a clear explanation about and links for accessing the AFA's Work Schedule Maps to facilitate the avoidance of logging operation noises in the backcountry.
> Jim agreed to add a new page to the FOAP website, which will include all factors to consider when planning a backcountry trip. Included in its content, along with seasonal weather tips, etc. .. will be referenced to and include a link to the AFA Schedule of Operations Map.
6. Access Point Offices - Backcountry Recreation and Forestry Activities
The ABR also formally requested Park Management to keep a copy of the AFA's latest Schedule of Operations Map posted at each Access Point Office, in a location accessible to the public. We indicated that anyone who hadn't already availed themself of the online AFA Schedule of Operations Map, should be able to refer to the map within the public area of the Access Point Offices, so as to better plan or to adjust their canoe trip or hiking trip route, by being able to avoid noise generated by forestry operations.
> Jim agreed to supply contractors with copies of the AFA Schedule of Operations Map, to instruct them to advise campers of issues related to active logging activities in their area, and to have the maps accessible to campers.
7. Sunday Lake Dogsled Trail Project
Barry asked if what appears to be the closing of the direct Sunday Lake access going to be balanced with an improvement of the low maintenance portage to Sproule Lake, so as to maintain viable area access?
> Jim indicated that under the project terms, the Sunday Lake portage's public accessibility will continue unimpeded through each year's summer period (July, August).
> Toward improving public accessibility to the Sunday and Sproule Lake area during the balance of the canoeing seasons, Jim said he'll be asking Andrew Chambers to address improving accessibility issues of the 1345m portage from the Spruce Bog Trail parking lot north to Sproule Lake.
We also asked what the final layout is, of the constructed Blackfox Lake Portage sled-dog trail, specially regarding what appears to be an increased length of trail/portage overlay. And, what process was involved in any deviation from the original project description.
> Jim agreed that the wording of the original Project Description document didn't clearly describe the intention that once north of the length of double-width dogsled trail reconstructed section, there would still be extensive portions of the remaining portage reconstructed to single-width dogsled trail dimensions. In these instances, the dog-sled traffic would be 'one-way-only' with the opposite direction of sled traffic being allocated to totally newly-constructed lengths of dogsled trail.
> This 'imprecise description' had unfortunately been carried over to the Figure 2 map where the only two 'lines' portrayed were 'portage' and 'Proposed Additions Dog Sled Trails'. Jim agreed It would have been more representative to have used a third type of legend-described-line with 'red dashes' over top those stretches of the portage that were to be reconstructed to 'single-width dogsled trail dimensions'. Then, those who subsequently walked the portage with the Project Description document in hand, wouldn't have deduced that more 'reconstruction' had arbitrarily been added to the project.
> Jim accepted our recommendation that in the future, all such matters should be more clearly described and illustrated in documentation. We also emphasized our request to be included in all mail-out notifications regardless of which 'recreational' aspects were affected.
8. Generator Noise Complaint
We asked what was the finalized position of the park regarding the complaint of generator noise heard south of Little Cauchon Lake.
We all discussed the ambiguity in the relative section of the Park Management Plan (page 38, From April 1 to ...) . The ABR requested that should the opportunity arise, that section should be reworded, and modified to include a time limit on generator use to between 7am and 7pm .. and that exhaust systems be directed inland to the forest thereby absorbing some of the noise.
> Jim indicated he didn't have a finalized report on that situation. He said he'll get back to Jeremy Inglis and then to us and to Markus Rubino (the original complainant).
9. Feedback regarding ABR input on the Old Railway Bike Trail Project
We explained the ambiguity between our observations on the ground, the Canoe Route Map and the revised Track and Tower Trail Booklet .. regarding P195 (the 195 meter portage) on the Madawaska River.
> Rick and Jim agreed to check over any differences between the canoe route map, the guide booklet and the situation in-the-field .. and then get back to us.
10. Feedback regarding Mark Steele's communication concerning motorboats going far into the park up Hay Creek
> Jim said he'll look into any allowances and prohibitions in place regarding the Hay Lake access to the creek, heading toward Cauliflower Lake. Jim Murphy alluded to there possibly being some leaseholdings and titled-holdings on Cauliflower Lake (even though they aren't shown on maps). It's possible these parties may have been granted access-rights to boat right up to the portage. He'll also look into the feasibility to sign the boundary and to post appropriate limitations regarding motorboats.
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Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalists