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Alders Choking Creeks - LNT question

February 28 2012 at 1:40 PM
  (Login Playboater)
from IP address

Alder in a creek, impeding progress on a recognized canoe route...

How illegal would it be to tackle it with some pruning shears?

I'm not talking about along the shore, just the stuff spreading across the middle of the the creek...

Edit: Addition of "Alders Choking Creeks" to title

This message has been edited by ABRweb from IP address on Jan 12, 2014 3:21 PM

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(Login scoutergriz)
ABR Advisory Committee

Re: LNT question

March 3 2012, 8:00 AM 

After a couple of days thinking on this and doing some checking I don't know for sure how legal it would be, but in my opinion, it would depend on several factors; Is it a "maintained" route, is it in the park or on crown land. is it a heavily travelled route, is safety a factor, and would pruning destroy habitat?
If it's in the park, cutting live trees or shrubs without a permit to do so is illegal. your option would be to report it and seek permission to prune them back, or let the staff do it
It it's on crown land you would have to contact the MNR, as it may be a conservation reserve, deeded land, or ecologically sensitive area. Cutting may be considered "destroying habitat"
The other issue is public safety; would cutting them leave sharp stubs that may snare or impale another canoeist or the local wildlife, which could be a liability issue, not to mention a moral one.
So, in my opinion, No, it's probably illegal without doing the research and getting the proper permits.


(Login BarryBB)

Re: LNT question

March 3 2012, 9:30 AM 

Within the context of an official canoe route, my initial reaction is to think it's legal. Afterall, it's like cutting a downfall away from over a portage! However, there are real differences in the case of alder growth ...

1) It's alive.
2) Pointed stubs could be dangerous to people, canoes and wildlife.
3) Disgarded alder branches could clog-up downstream.

So, I'm thinking there's probably a definite 'policy' and 'protocol' as to how this should be done, which would probably mean 'by trained staff'.

Undoubtedly, there will be the odd situation where a combination of being well down an alder-enshrouded creek in fast 'one-way' current and then encountering an impenetrable 'blockage' of alder growth and unmoveable debri would provide no option but to deal with the alder. But that scenario is an extreme one of simply 'surviving'.

I definitely don't think any unauthorized individuals should try to clear an entire overgrown creek even if its on a official route. Rather photograph the impenetrable conditions and modify your trip accordingly. The odd time that might occur would be comparable to being windbound after crossing a portage. Extenuating circumstances are understandable .. safety comes first!

The original question has raised a few more for sure. I'll send an email off to park staff and try to get their official position.


(Login BarryBB)

Management response pending ...

March 7 2012, 11:52 AM 

Email reply received ...

From: "Inglis, Jeremy (MNR)"
Subject: RE: Policy and procedure on canoe-route creek-choking alder.
Date: Tue, March 6, 2012 7:22 am

Hi Barry,

We will be having a Park Management Team Meeting before the end of the
month at which time we will discuss this topic.

Stay tuned,


Jeremy Inglis
Operations North Supervisor
Algonquin Park

Barry Bridgeford
Executive Committee
Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalists


(Login Playboater)

Re: LNT question

March 9 2012, 8:26 AM 

I should have been more specific; this is a "maintained" canoe route inside Algonquin Park.

I don't know that small diameter alder branches will cause that much of an issue debris-wise, but sharp stubs could definitely cause problems in a small creek...

thanks for the responses!


(Login DerekDB)
Executive Committee


September 10 2012, 9:34 PM 

Was there any further follow up information on this item?

Derek Specht
Executive Committee
Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalists


Barry Bridgeford
(Login BarryBB)

Re: LNT question

September 12 2012, 7:10 PM 

This topic is on the agenda list we submitted for the upcoming meeting with park management.


(Login BarryBB)

Outcome from September 25th meeting with park management ...

October 12 2012, 11:30 AM 

After we discussed the factors involved, management said they will have to examine the entire question in detail, within the context of their environmental policies.

They mentioned that in the case of problematic areas of alder-growth, the development of circumventing portages might be appropriate.

Barry Bridgeford
Executive Committee
Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalists

(no login)

Re: LNT question

November 6 2012, 3:50 PM 

Did they indicate the reasoning behind this? Creating new portages instead of just cutting back some alder growth doesnt sound like a good LNT practice to me? Now I understand that if we would really apply the LNT rules as described on the LNT web-site no maintenance of any kind would be allowed but we are talking about Algonquin Park with canoe routes and back pack trails for people to enjoy. Just curious about the reasoning.


(Login BarryBD)
Executive Committee

Response from Ontario Parks

January 12 2014, 2:41 PM 

The question regarding alders was originally asked of Algonquin Park back on March 3rd of 2012. The issue was formally re-raised by the ABR on September 20th, 2013, to which this response was issued Jan. 10, 2014...

[linked image]

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