News and Views


 

The ABR Is Dissolved   ... You are viewing the archived version of the ABR website!

On January 24th, 2015, the Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalists Executive Committee decided to dissolve the ABR.

The ABR-EC's statement of cessation is ...

"While some serious concerns involving the park's backcountry do remain, the ABR-EC believes that the agencies involved have become sufficiently unresponsive to negate future substantial accomplishments. As a result, its decision has been made to dissolve the ABR.

The ABR's accomplishments and key documents will be archived on the Algonquin Adventures website. In the future, if a backcountry concern reaches an important level, it can be discussed on the Algonquin Adventures forum and subsequent actions decided, on an ad hoc basis."

Thanks for the support the ABR received over the years since its founding in 2007 .. from its members, from the general public, and from those individuals in Algonquin Park and AFA management who encouraged us despite increasing limitations placed upon them.

January 25, 2015.




Second Leave No Trace Poster Served Well Through 2014

Back in the late summer of 2013, the development of a second Algonquin Park LNT poster was participated in by the ABR.

The park's planning staff produced this poster and distributed it for display at visible locations, such as accesspoint offices.

The Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalists are pleased to have been able to participate in the poster's development, as part of our formal memorandum of understanding with Algonquin Park and the Friends of Algonquin Park regarding the education and promotion of LNT principles within the park.

These posters help introduce new backcountry campers to the principals, skills and ethics of Leave No Trace.

A large size copy of the poster can be downloaded here.

January 7, 2015.

Further Input Regarding Cottage Lease Renewals

On August 5th, a 40 minute conference call was held by Barry Bridgeford and Bill Warren (of the ABR Executive Committee), with Jim Murphy and Sandy Dobbyn (of the Ministry of Natural Resources). It was an opportunity to expand on our earlier written submission of January 9th, 2014 .. download here ...

Over the course of the conference call, we emphasized that the requirement of a 'quiet season' (by date) and a 'quiet time' (by hours) should be written into the terms of the new cottage leases. We also emphasized that adherence to a park-operated complaint resolution process should also be a term of each lease.

Discussions of restrictions on chainsaws was also expanded to include all power tools. In addition, the concept of "sound-scape" standards, which are used by the national parks system, was also discussed as a possible means of controlling noises. Discussions also dealt with sight and light pollution concerns.

Jim indicated that in due course the ABR will receive a report on the outcome of the input process and will have the opportunity to remark on and/or challenge it before leases are finalized.

August 29th, 2014.




Upset With Backcountry Conditions? Submit An Incident Report!

If you come across a backcountry situation that you are truly concerned over (abuse of a campsite, damaged thunderbox, dangerous overhanging or fallen tree(s), blocked accesses, contraventions of regulations, Canoe Route Map error, etc.) your best option is to officially submit an incident report.

Accurately describing the incident's location and details are of prime importance. Toward that end .. photographs, a map and diagram are ideal.

In 2008, the ABR developed its own Backcountry Incident Report, for submission to both park management and the ABR. A PDF of the form can be .. downloaded here.

The 'Campsite Maintenance ID#' mentioned in it may be obtained from the access point office on the way out.

May 18th, 2014.

2014 New Year's Update of ABR Activities

Since the summer of 2013, the Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalists have been involved with a number of backcountry issues. While a number have progressed, a few are still not resolved. Following are the issues that the ABR has been dealing with over the past months ..

▶ Algonquins Of Ontario Land Claims - Negotiations Toward an Agreement In Principle

▶ Roads of Concern (Algonquin Forestry Authority) OPU 136-1 Rowan Lake Road

▶ Cottage Lease Renewal Submission

▶ Creek-choking Alders .. A Change

▶ Promotion of Leave No Trace Principles

▶ CAMIS Reservations and the Canoe Route Map

For details: Read more ...

Jan. 15th, 2014.

Amendment Made to the Park Management Plan

This amendment originated from recommendations in the "Joint Proposal for Lightening the Ecological Footprint of Logging in Algonquin Park". The goal of the amendment was to balance an increase in protection of natural and recreational values with a continuation of sustainable forestry operations.

A total of 96,089 hectares (12.6% of park area) was added to protection zoning (as Natural Environment, Nature Reserve, Wilderness or Historic zones.

From 2008 to the fall of 2012, the ABR participated at length in the consultation process. The amendment was announced by Jay Nichols (Park Superintendent) on July 19, and will be examined by the ABR's Executive Committee over the coming months.

The amendment can be downloaded here. And accompanying map can be downloaded here.

July 19th, 2013.



Renewed Sponsorship Support and Commitment to LNT Principles

On June 24th, the ABR received $500 sponsorship support from Algonquin Outfitters, for the second year.

These sponsorship funds will cover the ABR's website and online forum operating expenses for the coming year.

This year, the Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalists and Algonquin Outfitters will be working together to promote LNT skills and ethics, to increase public awareness of LNT principles.

At the same time, a workshop-meeting was held at the Oxtongue store-office .. in which Gord Baker (AO), Bill Warren (ABR), Rich Swift (AO) and Barry Bridgeford (ABR) developed strategies by which to best promote the LNT principles.

July 1st, 2013.

Land Claim's Ontario Negotiating Team's Support Staff Consults With ABR

On Friday February 22nd 2013, a consultation meeting was held by the Ontario Negotiating Team's Support Staff (Algonquins of Ontario Land Claim), represented by Bruce Mighton, Richard Raper and Nancy Wilson. Representing the ABR's Executive Committee were Jeffrey McMurtrie, Bill Warren and Barry Bridgeford.

The meeting ran from 9:30am to 2:00pm, providing opportunity for the ABR to express its concerns with the Preliminary Draft Agreement In Principle (focusing on the Parks and Harvesting chapters), and for discussion in which details and clarifications were confirmed.

Read more ...

February 26th, 2013.

Public Information Sessions Announced For Algonquin Land Claim's Draft AIP

> Ottawa: Wed. Mar. 6, 2013, 3:00 – 8:00 p.m. Tudor Hall
> Perth: Thur. Mar. 7, 2013, 3:00 – 8:00 p.m. Perth Lions’ Hall
> Kingston: Fri. Mar. 8, 2013, 3:00 – 8:00 p.m. at TraveLodge Hotel LaSalle
> North Bay: Tues. Mar. 12, 2013, 3:00 – 8:00 p.m. Best Western N.B. Hotel & Conf. Centre
> Mattawa: Wed. Mar. 13, 2013, 3:00 – 8:00 p.m. Mike Rodden Arena & Community Centre
> Pembroke: Thur. Mar. 14, 2013, 3:00 – 8:00 p.m. Best Western Pembroke Inn & Conf. Centre
> Bancroft: Fri. Mar. 15, 2013, 3:00 – 8:00 p.m. Faraday Community Centre
> Toronto: Sat. Mar. 16, 2013, 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. Radisson Toronto East

Official reference here.

February 5th, 2013.




Public Release of Algonquin Land Claim's Draft Agreement In Principle

On December 13th, the Preliminary Draft Agreement-in-Principle was made available for public review to support consultation efforts in the Algonquin Land Claim negotiations. The Preliminary Draft is a work in progress that is still under review and subject to revision by the negotiating parties.

Following the review process, a finalized draft of the Agreement-in-Principle will be submitted to the Algonquins of Ontario for a ratification vote. This is expected to take place later in 2013.

Upon a successful Algonquin ratification vote, the final draft Agreement-in-Principle will be submitted to the Governments of Ontario and Canada for approval. Following such approval and signature, the Agreement-in-Principle would be a non-binding statement of the main elements of a settlement of the Algonquin Land Claim that would form the framework for future negotiations towards a Final Agreement. Negotiations leading to a Final Agreement could then begin.

The ABR encourages all interested individuals and groups to review the terms of this draft and to discuss the issues involved, toward the pending public response process.

For downloadable copies of the draft document, refer to ...

docs/Algonquin_Preliminary_Draft_AIP_Dec_2012.pdf .

December 15th, 2012.

ABR Attends Meetings of Ontario Negotiating Team's Committee of External Advisors

Three members of the Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalists' Executive Committee attended a workshop of the Committee of External Advisors on Wednesday November 28th, at which they were provided with an overview of the key elements of the upcoming Draft Agreement In Principle (AIP), pertaining to its Parks and Protected Areas Chapter. Prior to the commencement of that meeting, the ABR representatives were also invited to attend the afternoon's workshop on the Harvesting Chapter.

Despite the meetings being conducted as opportunities to provide attendees an understanding of the chapters in advance of their public release, a number of invitees (including ABR reps) voiced substantial concerns over some aspects of the chapters' contents. At the outset, the meetings' organizers had insisted on the confidentiality of the documentation they were presenting to attendees. At the time, the concerns expressed by invitees were strictly verbal and there was no mention of public minutes of the meetings being made available.

At the closing of the meetings, attendees were invited to submit comments by email. On Friday November 30th, the ABR Executive Committee submitted an email consolidating its three main concerns, as previously expressed at the meetings. These concerns originated from the ABR-EC and don't contain specific details from the meetings' confidential documents.

In order to inform the public of the ABR-EC's consistent position in the Land Claims process, it hereby shares its three concerns which were submitted to the provincial and federal negotiating team representatives ...

1) The Algonquins should adhere to all existing Algonquin Park backcountry rules, regulations, restrictions and procedures when using its bodies of water, protected zones, shoreline setbacks and recreational components (such as campsites, hiking trails and portages). This adherence should be specified in the AIP.

2) Any use of logging roads in the backcountry of Algonquin Park by Algonquins should adhere to scheduled geographic, seasonal and time-of-day restrictions similar to those adhered to by the AFA, in order to minimize sight-and-sound impacts on the wilderness-like experiences of backcountry recreationalists. Such restrictions should be committed to in the AIP, be developed prior to and be specifically detailed as a term of the actual Treaty settlement. And, their development should not be deferred to post-treaty management planning processes.

3) Adherence to full wildlife and fisheries conservation and sustainability planning, management and enforcement measures for Algonquin Park should be committed to by the Algonquins in the AIP, be developed prior to and be specifically detailed as a term of the actual Treaty settlement. And, these measures' development should not be deferred to post-treaty management planning processes.

December 5th, 2012.

Algonquin Land Claim's 'Draft Agreement In Principle' Draws Near

Consultations and negotiations toward the Algonquin Land Claim's Draft Agreement In Principle (AIP) are in high gear. Reports are that negotiators are hoping to finalize the draft AIP by the end of the year. The ABR wishes to remind all affected recreationalists of its Position on Algonquins of Ontario Land Claims Process, which was originally submitted to the Ontario Negotiation Team in May of 2011.

The ABR wants to see the elimination of adverse impacts on the park's backcountry's wilderness-like landscapes, sound-scapes and wildlife. We believe that the land claims settlement is an ideal opportunity for an integrated three-party arrangement for the protective management and enforced sustainability of Algonquin Park .. involving the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, The Algonquin Forestry Authority and the Algonquins of Ontario.

The ABR asks all like-minded recreationalists to promote its position paper at every opportunity. Download it here !

September 14th, 2012.



Submission To Proposed Amendment To The PMP

The ABR has made a submission to the Algonquin Park Planning Department regarding the proposed amendment to the Park Management Plan. (See the item immediately below)

The ABR divided the "Fig. 3b - Proposed Amendment to Zoning Summary Map" into ten sub-maps for the purpose of detailed examination and also for comparison with the "Proposed Algonquin Provincial Park Management Plan Amendment July 2012" document, and with the requested "Table 1: Proposed Protection Zoning by Waterbody Name, July 2012" document. The sub-maps were overlaid with text versions of the depths of the proposed setback protective zonings and with shaded areas of concern and accompanying numbered comments.

The sub-maps were accompanied with descriptive text of a number of comments regarding omissions and discrepancies between the background documentation, background map and additional information provided at the ABR's request.

An additional twenty (20) serious concerns were noted and highlighted. These concerns comprise the primary focus of the submission.

A PDF copy of the submission can be downloaded here.

September 12th, 2012.

Proposed Amendment To The PMP On the Environmental Registry

On On July 25th, Ontario Parks posted on the Ontario Environmental Registry, a Proposed Management Amendment to the Algonquin Provincial Park Management Plan, to address the recommendations contained in the Joint Proposal for Lightening the Ecological Footprint of Logging in Algonquin Park. Comments on the proposed amendment will be accepted until September 14th, 2012.

The Algonquin Provincial Park Planning Process index page is located at .. www.ontarioparks.com. It contains links to .. Proposed Algonquin Provincial Park Management Plan Amendment .. Figure 3b - Proposed Amendment to Zoning Summary Map .. Algonquin Park Management Plan (1998) .. and additional historical perspective documents.

As it originally did in March of 2010 regarding background information (docs/ABR-PMP-Comments.pdf), the ABR will also be examining this proposed amendment with recreationalists' interests in mind.

July 26, 2012.



Leave No Trace Poster Approved By LNT Canada

Today, the ABR was advised by Algonquin Park Planning Staff that they hope to have this new poster produced and posted very soon.

The park's planning staff has designed this poster for display at visible locations, such as accesspoint offices.

The Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalists are pleased to have been able to participate in the poster's development, as part of our formal memorandum of understanding with Algonquin Park and the Friends of Algonquin Park regarding the education and promotion of LNT principles within the park.

The poster will help introduce new backcountry campers to the principals, skills and ethics of Leave No Trace. It will also remind experienced campers of these factors' importance.

A PDF copy of the poster can be downloaded here.

June 13, 2012.

ABR Concern Over Portage Accessibility In West Hwy 60 Reconstruction

On May 25th, a Notice of Study Completion of the Transportation Environmental Study Report Submission - Highway 60 Improvements within Algonquin Park (GWP 5551-04-00) was made public.

The Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalists had already made a request for information regarding access to backcountry access roads and portages abutting the highway.

However, as was indicated in the report, no details were subsequently provided since no impact was initially anticipated at that time.

Upon review of the report, the ABR could not find any details specifically relating to portage accessibility from the highway. As a result, the ABR has submitted its formal detailed concerns to both the authors of the report and park management.

Read more ...

May 31, 2012.

Amendment to Regulation Limiting Campsite Tent-count

Verification has been received from Greg Wake [Supervisor, Provincial Park Management] that in January of 2011 the tent-count restriction on interior campsites had been lifted. The amendment was Ontario Regulation 22/11 .. made under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserve Act 2006 (Amending O. Reg. 347/07).

7. (1) Subsection 19 (1) of the Regulation is amended by striking out campground camp-site, interior camp-site or unserviced camp-site and substituting campground camp-site or unserviced camp-site. (Ref.: www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/source/regs/english/2011/elaws_src_regs_r11022_e.htm)

Mr Wake confirmed the amendment and explained that regulations forbidding cutting or damaging any living tree or other plants would provide adequate regulation against degradation of campsites.

March. 23, 2012.



Sponsorship Support Received From Algonquin Outfitters

Today, the ABR received $500 sponsorship support from Algonquin Outfitters.

These sponsorship funds will underwrite the ABR's website and online forum operating expenses for the coming year.

In addition, we are glad to announce that Algonquin Outfitters will be partnering with Leave No Trace Canada and will be incorporating the LNT skills and ethics principles into their own customer-service program.

Also, in recognition of the importance of LNT, the ABR and AO are committed to being actively co-supportive of each other's LNT efforts.

March 5, 2012.

ABR Will Be In CSA SFM Certification Advisory Group

The ABR has accepted the Algonquin Forestry Authority's invitation to sit on their Canadian Standards Association Sustainable Forest Management Certification Advisory Group as a representative of recreationalists interests.

As the ABR's participation in the CSA Advisory Group proceeds, details will be recorded on a new section of this website here.

Jan. 15, 2012.

Details Of Spring/Fall Haulage Routes Will Be Added To The AFA's Schedule Of Operations Map

The ABR recently requested that more AFA haulage route information (Spring/Fall haulage routes) be included in the AFA's Schedule of Operations map.

The AFA's resulting agreement to provide this extra information will allow recreationalists to better avoid unpleasant noises associated with logging operations.

Read more ...

Nov. 9, 2011.

Formal Relationship With Algonquin Park and The Friends of Algonquin Park

The ABR has entered into a formal memorandum of understanding with Algonquin Provincial Park and The Friends of Algonquin Park regarding the education and promotion of Leave No Trace Canada principles in Algonquin Provincial Park.

The parties agree to work collaboratively on educating the public by using a number of mediums, including print, internet and video.

On matters of mutual interest, the parties agree to share information and knowledge of best practices in implimenting Leave No Trace principles in Algonquin Park.

The parties will meet annually to review Leave No Trace programs, activities and products .. and to set priorities for the following year.

This united effort will support an integrated and consistent approach to promoting and educating park visitors on the seven principles of Leave No Trace Canada in order to ...

-   Increase knowledge sharing and enhance relationships between the parties in order to be consistent, co-ordinated and efficient in promoting Leave No Trace principles.

-   Maximize capacity of financial and human resources in promoting the Leave No Trace principles.

May 12, 2011.

Submission to Ontario Land Claims Negotiating Team

The ABR Executive Committee has submitted a position paper to the Ontario Negotiating Team for the Algonquins of Ontario Land Claims process. Given the ABR's goals “To preserve, protect and enhance wilderness-like experiences in the backcountry of Algonquin Park”, it was considered prudent to convey its concerns and hopes to the negotiating team's Committee of External Advisors.

The ABR position paper addresses the issues of protected zones, access controls, Algonquins of Ontario facilities, and fisheries/wildlife sustainability. The submission closes with the hope that a land claims settlement can be crafted which will recognize the interests of all affected parties .. an arrangement which will care for Algonquin Park through co-operative and integrated management .. dedicated to the sustainability of the park's resources for all future generations. Download copy here.

May 12, 2011.

ABR Questioned AFA Report Recommendations

On May 2nd, the Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalists submitted, to both Algonquin Park Management and the Algonquin Forestry Authority, concerns over two recommendations contained in the AFA's Year 10 Annual Report for the Algonquin Park Forest (Plan Period April1, 2005 to March 31, 2010 .. for the year April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010).

Responses were received from both the Algonquin Forestry Authority and Algonquin Park Management.

The Algonquin Park response confirmed that the Park Management Plan has full authority, that its terms are there for valid reasons, and that the AFA's FMP Planning Team has to adhere to the Park Management Plan.   Read more ...
May 9, 2011.

Single LNT Education Program For Algonquin Park

On January 11th, members of the ABR Executive Committee met with representatives of Algonquin Park and established a co-operative working relationship for the development of the park's Leave No Trace educational program. Jim Murphy and Rick Stronks were in attendance from Algonquin Park. Mark Steele, Barry Bridgeford, Bill Warren and Mark Rubino were there representing the Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalists executive committee.

Key elements of the program were determined and priorities were agreed upon. The park's LNT educational program will address both frontcountry and backcountry LNT skills and ethics. The ABR is committed to fulfilling an important role in helping develop the backcountry component of the program. Of special importance in this process will be increased opportunities for the ABR's general membership to become involved.
January 12, 2011.




Welcome!

Welcome to the Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalists' website. Those of us who are increasingly concerned for the state of Algonquin Park's backcountry are encouraged to help the ABR increase park users' awareness of Leave No Trace skills and ethics, of protective park regulations and of negative pressures affecting the wilderness-like qualities of the backcountry. Accordingly, the ABR is a strong supporter of the proposed Park Plan Ammendment. With increasing use and abuse of Algonquin Park's backcountry, and with increasing organized pressure from conflicting interests, it is only prudent that backcountry recreational users group together to represent their interests.

If you are an "Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalist", you are invited to join the ABR and help us achieve our objectives.

Together we can all make a difference!

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