Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve Management Statement
This document provides policy direction for the protection, development and management of the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve and its resources.
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Statement of conservation Interest
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
North Bay District
Approved Statement of Conservation Interest for Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve (CR15).
The Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve has been selected as a site representing a number of natural, social and cultural heritage values. This conservation reserve offers an ecologically diverse landscape representative of the Southern Boreal Site Region. Furthermore, it contributes a richness of cultural and social values, and fulfills many social requirements both locally and provincially. Further studies are required to identify other possible ecological associations and their significance. This conservation reserve is 2947 hectares in size and is located east of Highway 11, between the communities of Latchford and Temagami. The protected area lies within Gillies Limit Township and includes a small section of Best Township. The Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve is designated as Management Area 15, page 59 in the Temagami Land Use Plan (TLUP) and was regulated under the Public Lands Act on April 4, 2001.
Once a conservation reserve is regulated, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) will complete one of two approved management planning documents, either a Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) or a Resource Management Plan (RMP). Both documents address the administration of landuses and activities that occur within the regulated boundaries of the conservation reserve. The Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve experienced no new issues, conflicts, uses and/or proposals beyond those addressed during land use planning for the TLUP. As a result, a SCI was completed. For conservation reserves having more complex issues, a RMP would be required.
When considering future permitted uses and/or developments, these must be consistent with the SCI. New uses are evaluated within the context of, but may not be limited to; Test of Compatibility, and all current Environmental Assessment (EA) requirements. Other protocols may be developed that address site specific sensitivities to identified features.
The goal of the Cliff Lake SCI is to describe and to protect natural and cultural heritage values while permitting compatible land use activities.
The purposes of this SCI are to:
- Provide background information and identify and describe the values of the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve
- Provide guidelines for the management of current and future activities while protecting natural, social, and cultural heritage value
The direction contained in the SCI is consistent with the MNR's 1997 TLUP. The public was consulted regarding this site prior to its regulation and during land use planning for the Temagami Comprehensive Planning Area. Comments from that planning exercise were considered during the development of this document. The TLUP provides detailed direction on future uses and resource management for this area. No changes or new decisions have been made with regard to the conservation reserve since the approval of the TLUP. As a result, additional public consultation was not required during the development of the SCI.
This SCI will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Implementation of the SCI will include monitoring activities to ensure adherence to management guidelines. A full review will coincide with the review of the Temagami Land Use Plan (next review – 2006) and will be done every ten years thereafter. Should significant facility development be considered or complex issues arise requiring additional studies, further management direction or special protection measures, this SCI will be amended or a more detailed RMP will be prepared with full public consultation.
The district will evaluate the significance of the required changes. Minor changes, which do not alter the overall intent of this SCI, may be considered and approved by the District Manager without further public consultation and the SCI will be amended accordingly. In assessing major changes, the need for a more detailed resource management plan (RMP) will first be considered. Where a RMP is not considered necessary or feasible, a major amendment may be considered with public consultation. Such amendments will also be posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) registry. The Regional Director has approval authority for any major amendments for this SCI.
The management and administration of the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve will be guided by the SCI and administered by the North Bay District MNR, Temagami Area Supervisor. The SCI governs the lands within the regulated boundary of the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve; however, to ensure MNR protection objectives are being fully met within the conservation reserve, activities on the surrounding landscape must consider the site’s objectives and heritage values. In addition, it is the intent of the SCI to create a public awareness that will promote responsible stewardship of protected areas and their surrounding lands in Ontario. With management partners such as Ontario Parks, industry, local governments, etc., the ministry will be able to pursue and advance sound environmental, economic and social strategies and policies related to the protection of this conservation reserve.
I am pleased to approve this Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) for the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve (CR 15).
This SCI will provide guidance for the management of the conservation reserve and the basis for the ongoing monitoring of land use and resource activities.
Direction for establishing, planning and managing conservation reserves is defined under the Public Lands Act and current policy. "Ontario’s network of natural heritage areas has been established to protect and conserve areas representative of the diversity of the natural regions of the province, including species, habitats, features and ecological systems which comprise that natural diversity." (Policy 3.03.05, MNR 1997). The Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve offers a landscape with a diversity of representative life and earth science features including a rare stoss moraine and a mix of old growth forests.
The direction and administration of the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve will be guided by this SCI. Should significant facility development be considered or complex issues arise requiring additional studies, further management direction or special protection measures, this SCI will be amended or a more detailed Resource Management Plan (RMP) will be prepared with full public consultation.
The direction contained in this SCI is consistent with the 1997 Temagami Land Use Plan (TLUP). The public was consulted about this site prior to its regulation during land use planning for the Temagami Comprehensive Planning Area. Notification was also made in March 2002 concerning a draft of this SCI. Comments from these planning exercises were considered in the development of this document. The TLUP provides detailed direction on future uses and resource management targets for this area. No new decisions have been made with regards to the conservation reserve since the approval of the TLUP.
The Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve will be managed under the direction of the Temagami Area Supervisor, North Bay District, Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).
Original signed by:
District Manager Recommendation
Original signed on January 20, 2003
Original signed by:
for Rob Galloway
Original signed on February 13, 2003
Ontario boasts a varied and diverse landscape. Many demands are placed on its resources for both social and economic benefit. The current planning process is committed to the protection of natural and cultural heritage values represented throughout the province. MNR has developed strategies that will maintain the integrity and sustainability of these areas.
The TLUP provides direction for the administration and management of parks and protected areas within the Temagami Comprehensive Planning Area. Included in the plan is a natural heritage objective to maintain the full spectrum of diversity of the area’s ecology and geology. Specifically, the TLUP protects representative "old growth" red and white pine stands, some watersheds related to Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park, significant wetlands and provincially significant ecological, geological and recreational features.
The Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve has been selected as a site representing a number of natural, social and cultural heritage values. This 2947 hectare (ha) parcel of Crown land is located in the geographic Townships of Gillies Limit and Best in the Northeast planning region of the MNR (see Location Map).
The purposes of this SCI are to;
- Provide background information and identify and describe the values of the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve
- Provide guidelines for the management of current and future activities while protecting natural, social, and cultural heritage values
The direction for this conservation reserve is in the form of a SCI. The public was consulted about this site during land use planning for TLUP and prior to its regulation. Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve experienced no new issues, conflicts, uses and/or proposals beyond those addressed during the TLUP. As a result, a SCI was completed. For conservation reserves having more complex issues, a resource management plan would be required. New uses may be considered provided they meet the requirements of a Test of Compatibility (Appendix A).
This SCI governs all lands within the regulated boundary of the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve. MNR recognizes the need to work with other Ministries and/or proponents of adjacent land use activities, to encourage minimizing the potential risk of negative impacts on the conservation reserve. It is recognized that public awareness and public education will play a role in the stewardship of all protected areas and it is essential to pursue and promote sound environmental, economic and social strategies to reinforce the principles of wise stewardship.
2.0 Goal and Objectives
2.1 Goal of the SCI
The goal of the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve SCI is to describe and to protect natural and cultural heritage values on public lands while permitting compatible land use activities.
2.2 Objectives of the SCI
2.2.1 Short Term
- To identify the State of the Resource with respect to natural heritage values and current land use activities for the conservation reserve
- To manage the conservation reserve to protect the integrity of its natural values via specific guidelines, strategies and prescriptions detailed in this plan
- To meet planning requirements by designing this SCI document to address the immediate planning and management needs of the conservation reserve
2.2.2 Long Term
- To establish representative targets (e.g. future forest conditions) and validate the conservation reserve as a potential scientific benchmark
- To identify research/client services and marketing strategies
- To give direction to evaluate future new or economic ventures (i.e. through use of a Test of Compatibility evaluation)
3.0 Management Planning
3.1 Planning Context
3.1.1 Planning Area
The planning area for this SCI is the regulatory boundary of the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve. As noted earlier MNR encourages the consideration of conservation reserve values in land use and resource management activities on the surrounding landscape. Any strategies noted within this plan related to the conservation reserve’s boundary or beyond, will be presented for consideration within a larger planning context such as a Forest Management Plan (FMP).
3.1.2 Management Planning Context
The Comprehensive Planning Council (CPC) (a citizen’s advisory group, which was directed to submit land use recommendations for the Temagami Comprehensive Planning Area) recommended that the Cliff Lake area be designated as a conservation reserve. This recommendation, along with others, was submitted in April 1996 and accepted in principle by the government of Ontario in June 1996. The decisions on the recommendations were ultimately reflected in the TLUP.
The Cliff Lake protected area was regulated as a conservation reserve on April 6, 2001, by Ontario Regulation 89/01.
The Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve is designated as Management Area #15, page 59 in the TLUP. By regulation under the Public Lands Act, lands within conservation reserves cannot be used for mining, commercial forest harvest, hydroelectric power development, the extraction of aggregate and peat or other industrial uses.
Traditional uses within the conservation reserve as noted in the permitted uses table of the TLUP will continue; however, the goal will be to resolve conflicts between uses and to ensure that identified values are protected.
When considering future permitted uses and/or development(s), there are established mechanisms in place to evaluate these proposals. These include, but may not be limited to: Procedural Guideline B - Land Uses - Test of Compatibility Policy PL 3.03.05 (OMNR 1997); and all current Environmental Assessment (EA) requirements, with accompanying Environmental Checklists. Other protocols may be developed that address site specific sensitivities to identified features within the conservation reserve.
Consideration for proposals that may impact on cultural heritage resources may be screened through Conserving a Future for our Past: Archeology, Land Use Planning & Development in Ontario, Section 3 "Reviewing Development Applications for Archaeological Conservation Purposes." (Ministry of Culture, formerly MCzCR, 1997) and MNR's AOC Descriptions and Prescriptions.
These planning tools will refine the review process once the proposal satisfies the direction and intent of the TLUP.
3.2 Planning Process
Once a conservation reserve is regulated, there is a need to determine the level of management planning required to fulfil the protection mandate. The SCI generally applies to conservation reserves having no new issue(s), conflict(s) and/or proposal(s) beyond what have been previously addressed during land use planning (i.e. TLUP) and additional consultation is not required. A Resource Management Plan (RMP) deals with more complex issues and conflicting demands placed upon a protected resource.
The guidelines for the preparation of these documents are outlined in Procedural Guideline A- Resource Management Planning (PL 3.03.05, Public Lands Act). The appropriate plan is to be completed within three years of the regulation date.
For current planning purposes, the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve will be managed under the direction of an SCI. The intent of this SCI is to fulfil the commitments made under the Public Lands Act, the TLUP and other associated policies.
In July 1989 in response to growing public concern with respect to the use and management of resources within the Temagami area, MNR announced the Temagami Area Comprehensive Planning Program (CPP). The resulting TLUP was based on advice of the Comprehensive Planning Council (CPC). Through this process, extensive public consultation occurred. Based on past public participation and the fact that the land use direction presented within this SCI does not differ significantly from the TLUP, additional consultation at this time is not needed.
Public consultation will be solicited during the review of any future land use proposals that would require new decisions to be made beyond the intent of the TLUP. Such amendments to the TLUP and this document or its successor will also be posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights registry (EBR).
This SCI will provide background information, identify values to be protected and establish management guidelines for use in the administration of the conservation reserve.
The implementation of this policy document will be the responsibility of North Bay District. Associations with various partners may also be sought to assist in the delivery of the management program for the conservation reserve. It should be noted that the SCI is a working document and it may be necessary to amend it from time to time. If changes are required, they will occur through a standard process of minor or major amendments (see section 6.5).
4.0 Background Information
4.1 Location and Site Description
The following table describes the location and provides administrative details of the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve:
|Name||(CR15) Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve|
|OMNR Administrative Region/District/Area||Northeast/North Bay/Temagami|
|Total Area||2,947 ha|
|Townships||Gillies Limit and Best|
|Municipality||Gillies Limit – Unincorporated for Municipal Purposes Best – Municipality of Temagami|
|Site Region-Site District (Hills, 1959)||4E-4|
|Land Ownership||100% Crown Land|
|Topographic Maps||31 M/4 M/5 Temagami and Cobalt|
|Ontario Base Maps||20 17 5900 52200, 52300, 6000 52200, 52300|
|Latitude||47° 14' N|
|Longitude||79° 42' E|
|UTM Coordinates||5233000 N 598000 E|
|First Nations||Temagami First Nation (TFN), Teme- Augama Anishnabai (TAA)|
|Regulation Date||April 21, 2001 O. Reg 89/01|
|General||East of Highway 11 and the ONR Rail line and immediately east of Rib Lake, South of Roosevelt Lake, west of Friday and Prud'homme Lakes and north and west of Roosevelt Road south.|
4.1.2 Site Description
220.127.116.11 Physical Description
The Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve is a 2947 ha parcel of Crown land situated in Northeastern Ontario, north of North Bay. It features stands of old growth white pine, sugar maple and white birch along with various plant communities and wetlands. The conservation reserve is located within Site District 4E-4 (G.A. Hills 1959 and Crins and Uhlig 2000), and is characterized by shallow layers of varying sands over a rolling plain of granite bedrock.
Most of the boundaries of this conservation reserve are defined either by lake shorelines, or they are vectored (see glossary for definition). Numerous small waterbodies, creeks and wetlands can also be found within the boundaries. A well-defined bedrock fault can be found just northeast of Cliff Lake and is estimated to be in excess of 50 m deep and 50 m wide at its base. Associated with this crevice is a significant cliff face with a talus slope that arches towards both Cliff and Friday lakes in a semicircular fashion. The result is a rugged landscape with numerous scenic lookout areas (Thompson et. al, 2001).
This conservation reserve contains 12 known landform/vegetation combinations dominated by dense coniferous and dense deciduous forest; however, further investigation by Thompson 2001 indicated that this conservation reserve may contain a minimum of 66 vegetative communities. Of significance is a sugar maple hardwood forest (referred to as the Friday Lake Hardwood Forest) of 80-150 year old, 60-80% stocked trees. This rich forest covers an area of approximately 135 ha and is considered an unusual remnant of the Great Lakes- St. Lawrence hardwood community type. Additionally, the conservation reserve contains a variety of mixedwood stands comprised of white birch, cedar, white pine, red pine, jack pine, and black spruce. A number of these pine communities are old growth.
A variety of wetland ecosystems can be found within this conservation reserve. These include open poor fens containing a range of vegetative covers, meadow marshes, sheltered marshes, shore fens and thicket swamps. These wetlands are distributed among the numerous inland lakes and stream systems found throughout the area.
4.2 Administrative Description
The Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve was passed into regulation on April 21, 2001 (O. Reg. 89/01).
4.3 History of the Site
Historically, the previously mentioned Friday Lake hardwood forest was once the site for a maple sugar bush operation. The ridge associated with this community holds cultural value for the Temagami First Nation (TFN) and Teme-Augama Anishnabai (TAA). Commercial logging occurred in the north end of the conservation reserve around Bryan Lake between 1963 and 1967.
The area has for many years been used for outdoor recreational activities (i.e. sport fishing, hiking, canoeing), nature appreciation and to a lesser extent non- industrial commercial uses (i.e. bait and fur harvesting).
The following table indicates what survey work has been done in the conservation reserve and what is required:
|Survey Level||Reconnaissance||Detailed||Future Requirements|
|Life Science||Thompson, J.E., & Avoledo, A., Natural Heritage Area - Life Science Checksheet, March 31, 2001||Data collection and analysis to determine long term forest management. Determine CR's potential as an Inventory Monitoring Assessment Reporting (IMAR) site or potential research site for terrestrial and aquatic sciences. Additional cultural heritage value assessment to determine long term management and protection.|
|Earth Science||Kor, P.S.G., Earth Science Inventory Checklist,January 14, 2002|
|Recreational||Hewitson, S., Recreation Inventory Checklist, November 14, 2001 Hewitson/Smith, OLL Inventory for Recreational Values, July 31, 2001|
|Cultural Heritage Resources||MNR, Comprehensive Planning Program, Heritage Component, Appendix 2, August 1991 and Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Archeological Sites Located in the MNR Temagami District, unpublished report by Conway, T., 1989a||Need to further evaluate cultural heritage resources i.e. significance of Friday Lake Moraine ridge to local First Nation|
|Other||Berlinger, V., Viewscape Analysis Report, April 1999|
Sproule, D., Memo, August 26, 1991
MNR, Temagami Land Use Plan, 1997
|Map Resources||MNDM, Bay Lake Area, Eastern Half, Precambrian Geology, Map 2551, Mines and Minerals Division, Ontario Geological Survey|
5.0 State of the Resource
The Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve is located within Hills' Site District 4E-4. The regional forest climate for this area is mid-humid, warm boreal and the soils range from dry to wet depending on depth to bedrock and slope steepness (Hills, 1959). An interpretation by Kor, 2002 describes this conservation reserve as being dominated by a thin, discontinuous veneer of stony sand till, with minor glaciofluvial valley-fill materials. Rolling granite bedrock underlies this surface material and is representative of the geological Lorrain Formation (dates to Precambrian times).
The Friday Lake Stoss Moraine is considered a provincially significant feature within the conservation reserve. This formation represents the conditions of ice movement and deposition in the rugged hills of this region of northeastern Ontario (Kor, 2002). The old growth sugar maple (85-165 years old) that covers this feature is also considered very significant and sensitive.
The review of landform/vegetation type combinations indicated a dominant cover of dense coniferous and dense deciduous forest over moderately broken ground moraine. As mentioned, a minimum of 66 vegetative cover types may be represented within this conservation reserve.
Rib, Fat (Summit), Friday, Slim, Roosevelt and Prud'homme Lakes are all coldwater trout lakes. These lakes also support a variety of coolwater fish species. Fat Lake supports a good perch fishery, Roosevelt Lake supports white sucker and sculpin populations, Prud'homme Lake supports white sucker, walleye and brook trout species and Friday Lake supports perch, white sucker, splake and small mouth bass species. Rib Lake also contains bass, burbot, perch, sucker and whitefish species (OMNR, 1982a).
The Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve contains, or is directly associated with a number of different aquatic communities, which include a variety of wetland habitats that enhance the overall representation of the conservation reserve.
5.2 Quality of the Representation
The quality of the representation or the current characteristics of the natural features found within a conservation reserve are as important as the overall representative features that are being protected. A number of factors are considered in evaluating the quality of a conservation reserve’s representative features. They include diversity, condition, ecological factors, special features and current land use activities.
At a general landscape level, excellent diversity occurs with a minimum of 66 vegetation cover types distributed throughout the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve. Major cover types include white birch mixedwood stands, white birch old growth stands, hardwood maple mixedwood stands, red, white and jack pine dominated stands, cedar old growth stands, cedar mixedwood stands, and assorted wetlands. The sugar maple, white and yellow birch stand known as, Friday Lake Hardwood Forest, is provincially significant. The old growth forests, escarpments, talus slopes and large crevices are several topographic features that add to the conservation reserve’s diversity (Thompson et al, 2001).
Overall, this conservation reserve is in very good condition, undisturbed and quite distinctive (Thompson et al, 2001). Several canoe routes wind through Rib Lake, Friday Lake and some of the smaller lakes. A total of four portages link the lakes along these routes. A number of trails traverse the conservation reserve and are used by hikers and snowmobilers. Records show that portions of the Friday Lake Forest have been logged in the past, however, signs of this activity were not seen during a 2000 aerial reconnaissance survey (Thompson et al, 2001). In addition to logging, parts of this forest have been managed for maple syrup production in the past.
Located adjacent to the conservation reserve there are some visible signs of human disturbance. These are in the form of a railway, mining claim, hydro corridor and a formal road network. These features have a minimal impact on the internal values of this conservation reserve.
c) Ecological Factors
The design of this conservation reserve has utilized a number of natural shoreline and creek boundaries that will help to buffer it from adjacent land uses over time. The core values obtain protection from the relatively large size of this conservation reserve (Thompson et al, 2001). The steep slopes, which are found throughout this conservation reserve, are susceptible to erosion if ground vegetation is removed. Therefore, it is important that this cover remains intact.
Sensitive walleye spawning areas are located in Rib Lake, and should be protected from incompatible land uses.
d) Special Features
The conservation reserve contains a number of notable features, which possess varying degrees of significance. These features include:
- Provincially significant values associated with the Friday Lake Hardwood Forest
- The Friday Lake Stoss Moraine- a provincially significant earth science feature
- Old growth stands of sugar maple, white birch, black spruce, white pine, red pine and cedar
- Sensitive walleye spawning areas within Rib Lake Coldwater lakes
- Exceptional topographic features including cliffs, talus slopes, crevice and escarpments
e) Current Land Use Activities
Despite the relatively remote location of the conservation reserve, there are numerous outdoor recreational and commercial related activities which characterize the land use patterns of this protected area including:
- canoeing, small engine boating
- camping, hiking, portaging, picnicking
- swimming cross country skiing, snowshoeing
- sport fishing, bait and fur harvesting, and hunting
The primary canoe routes include the Rib-Cliff-Fat (Summit)-Friday Lake circuit and the Roosevelt to Rib Lake circuit. In-land lakes such as Cliff and Roosevelt Lakes are utilized for canoeing, small engine boating and sport fishing. The trail extending south from the Cliff Lake to Fat Lake canoe portage is used as a hiking, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing trail. This trail, which takes approximately three hours round trip to walk, provides great diversity and opportunities to explore the rock crevice, barren uplands, mixed forests and scenic vistas. The height at one particular lookout provides a vista of 10-15 km looking west across Cliff Lake and Rib Lake. There are two campsites on Cliff Lake, one of which is on an island; one on Roosevelt Lake; one on Slim Lake; one on Fat Lake; two on Rib Lake and one on Friday Lake. None of the campsites are maintained or have latrines.
An Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) snowmobile trail (trunk trail A) follows the Roosevelt Road and provides informal access to the conservation reserve from both the south and north ends. There are no groomed snowmobile trails within the conservation reserve.
Limited fur harvesting occurs in the area, while Bryan and Rib Lakes support a commercial bait harvesting operation. Commercial off-site lodges utilize the boat caches on Cliff and Prud'homme Lakes for sport fishing and other guided recreational activities. The conservation reserve also falls within a designated Bear Management Area (BMA).
Cottage development dating to the early 1970's has occurred on the shoreline of Rib Lake adjacent to the conservation reserve.
The Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve contains a diversity of vegetative communities, terrestrial and aquatic resources and physiographic features that provide an attractive setting for a variety of outdoor pursuits, nature appreciation and life and earth science study. The conservation reserve’s overall diversity, physical condition, cultural heritage value and recreational and commercial usage can be considered distinctive and significant.
5.3 Social/Economic Interest in the Area
a) Linkage to Local Communities
The Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve consists entirely of Crown land and while it is easily accessible by water, access by road is limited. The conservation reserve is attracting increased usage each year as a destination for outdoor enthusiasts on both guided and self-guided tours, largely organized through several local tourist outfitters in the area.
The conservation reserve is well suited to outdoor recreation, ecotourism, nature appreciation and educational opportunities provided these activities are properly managed and do not damage the area through over use. Resort lodge operators and outfitters in the area are largely responsible for marketing the use of the conservation reserve.
Currently, the conservation reserve is available for canoeing, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, bait and fur harvesting, boating, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, limited ATV use and nature appreciation (i.e. viewing of old growth forests, wildlife observation and photography).
The uniqueness of features such as the Friday Lake stoss moraine and the old growth forests and other special features provide the potential for outdoor education and scientific research. Access to some of the primary features such as the cliffs is not well identified and may require upgrading of the trail system, or conversely, guided tours by individuals with good local knowledge of the conservation reserve. The upgrading will need to pass a Test of Compatibility before it is implemented.
b) Heritage Estate Contributions
The Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve contributes to the province’s parks and protected areas system through its regulation, representation and the long-term management of its natural heritage values.
By allocating these lands to the parks and protected areas system through regulation, the province has ensured a certain level of permanence by distinguishing the conservation reserve and its values from the larger general use or more extensively managed landscape. In addition, the conservation reserve’s natural features are and will be available for present and future generations to enjoy and explore.
The conservation reserve’s ecological features make a number of contributions to the province’s natural heritage estate. Its old growth communities and interior wetlands contribute significantly to the provincial parks and protected areas system. Its remote location and natural boundaries (e.g., shorelines) buffer adjacent land use activities and allow for a certain level of back-country opportunities and experiences. Its connection to canoe routes and waterways considerably adds to the over-all value of the conservation reserve.
Long-term management must consider public access to the conservation reserve, its protection objectives, and commitments made in the TLUP. Future managers will have to balance between maintaining the quality of the current representation and the needs of recreational and other users.
c) Aboriginal Groups
This conservation reserve is located within the traditional homeland of the TFN and TAA. The ridge which forms part of the Friday Lake Hardwood Forest holds cultural heritage value for members of these groups
d) Mining Industry
All mining rights were withdrawn based on the boundaries of the TLUP prior to the lifting of the land caution. Minor boundary refinements were required primarily to define the site on the ground for regulation purposes. The mining rights were re-withdrawn under the Mining Act (RSO 1990 Chapter M.14), in January 2001 to be consistent with the boundaries regulated in 1997.
e) Forest Management
No commercial forest harvesting is permitted in conservation reserves nor are personal use permits issued for wood cutting. Forest management activities in the area surrounding the conservation reserve are subject to the Temagami Forest Management Plan.
There are no utility corridors found within the conservation reserve.
5.4 Natural Heritage Stewardship
A mixture of dense deciduous and dense coniferous forests can be found overlying moderately broken ground moraine. The exceptional number of potential cover types found in this conservation reserve results in a high level of species richness. The most significant features include old growth forest stands, sensitive wetlands and exceptional geological formations that have been previously described.
A recent aerial reconnaissance survey showed no wide spread forest disturbance due to forest harvesting, insect, wind throw, wildlife damage, ice storms, or other natural disturbances.
5.5 Fisheries and Wildlife
There have been no detailed wildlife studies undertaken within the conservation reserve, with the exception of some values monitoring. The importance of the conservation reserve to wildlife species has yet to be determined, particularly for those species, and habitats thereof, that may be vulnerable, threatened or endangered.
Should any vulnerable, threatened or endangered (VTE) wildlife and/or plant species be identified within or adjacent to the conservation reserve, their value will be protected. Although the species may be identified as residing within the conservation reserve, specific locational information of critical habitat will remain undisclosed.
A number of moose aquatic feeding areas are found in wetlands throughout the conservation reserve. These areas have the potential to supply aquatic plants for moose during the summer months (see Fish and Wildlife Values Map).
A number of the lakes within and directly adjacent to the conservation reserve support both cold and warmwater fisheries. Prud'homme and Friday Lake are stocked with splake, and other waterbodies contain natural fish populations.
5.6 Cultural Heritage Stewardship
Although there are no specific cultural heritage sites identified within the conservation reserve, the Cliff Lake ridge, which forms part of the Friday Lake Hardwood Forest holds some cultural heritage value for the TFN and TAA.
5.7 Land Use/Existing Development
There are no buildings present within the conservation reserve although there are seasonal dwellings on the western perimeter with shoreline frontage on Rib Lake. There are also tourist operators on the west shore of this waterbody.
There are no mining claims or leases within the boundaries of the conservation reserve, however, there is active mining interest in the general area.
There are no other forms of tenure in the conservation reserve other than legal agreements with the registered fur harvest and bait harvest licensees. The area also falls within a BMA.
Existing outdoor recreational land use activities within the conservation reserve include:
- canoeing, small engine boating
- camping, hiking, portaging, picnicking
- swimming cross country skiing, snowshoeing
- sport fishing
Traditional land uses within the conservation reserve will continue to be permitted. However, the goal will be to resolve conflicts regarding incompatibility between uses and to ensure that identified values are adequately protected.
5.8 Commercial Use
Present non-industrial commercial use activities are illustrated in the Commercial Activities Map. These activities consist of one registered fur harvester, one bait harvester, and one bear management operator. Given that the area is relatively remote, these activities are limited in scope. There are two small boat caches within the conservation reserve, one on Prud'homme Lake and the other on Cliff Lake. These are associated with commercial tourist establishments on Rib Lake.
Commercial off-site lodges may offer guided recreational activities or provide assistance with self-guided activities within the conservation reserve. These activities could potentially include canoe tripping, hiking, cross country skiing, sport fishing and hunting and nature appreciation.
5.9 Tourism/Recreation Use/Opportunities
Outdoor tourism and recreational activities within the conservation reserve include canoeing, small engine boating, camping, hiking, picnicking, swimming, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sport fishing, hunting, snowmobiling and nature appreciation. There is also some evidence of cliff climbing on the Cliff Lake ridge. There are no recognized snowmobile or ATV club trails in the conservation reserve, and as such, access by these means is informal and limited. An OFSC (TOPS) trail is located to the east of Friday Lake and access to parts of the conservation reserve may be gained from this trail.
Within the conservation reserve, the trails and portages are limited. Canoe routes from Rib Lake to Friday Lake and from Friday Lake through Bryan and Roosevelt Lakes define the extent of the portages while the trail along the Cliff Lake ridge is the only hiking trail. This trail is not well marked. Other trails in the north end of the conservation reserve are the legacy of former forest access roads for commercial timber harvesting. The configuration and condition of the portages and the trail system is a function of the remote location of the conservation reserve. They are not marked nor overly used.
The outdoor recreation activities within the conservation reserve are not intensive in scope or duration. Given the sensitivity and value of the conservation reserve, there may be a need to control the extent and duration of such uses as the area becomes more popular. For example, there are only a limited number of campsites available on Cliff Lake and on the lakes that border the conservation reserve. Opportunities for new sites are very limited. Without the detailed inventorying of flora and fauna, care will have to be taken in opening up the conservation reserve for educational and nature appreciation opportunities i.e. access to the stoss moraine and Friday Lake Hardwood Forest. An opportunity exists to highlight the Cliff Lake ridge trail for its scenic value and the interpretive value of life and earth science features along its route.
5.10 Client Services
Presently, client services include district responses to public inquiries and the informal promotion of the conservation reserve by local tourist operators. No formal information or interpretive facilities currently exist within the conservation reserve.
6.0 Management Guidelines
6.1 Management Planning Strategies
Commitments identified in previous planning documents (TLUP and current policy (3.03.05 PLA)) will form the basis for land use decisions within the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve. Management strategies for these uses must consider the short and long-term objectives for the conservation reserve. For current information on permitted uses refer to the Crown Land Use Atlas.
Proposed uses and development will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. A Test of Compatibility, (Procedural Guideline B - Land Uses (PL 3.03.05)) must be passed before they are deemed acceptable. The emphasis will be on ensuring that the natural values of the conservation reserve are not negatively affected by current or future land use activities. Therefore, any application for new specific uses will be carefully studied and reviewed. The Ministry, partner organizations and/or proponents may undertake such studies.
6.2 State of the Resource Management Strategies
The development of this SCI and the long term management and protection of the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve will be under the direction of the MNR's North Bay District, Temagami Area Supervisor. The following management strategies have been created to achieve the goals and objectives stated earlier in this stewardship document:
- Management direction will aim to maintain and develop social and economic benefits to the local community where practical and compatible with conservation interests
- Local partnerships, such as with resource based tourist operators, may be solicited to participate in the delivery of certain objectives identified in this SCI
- Educational opportunities will be developed and encouraged in order to create awareness of natural systems in the conservation reserve
Natural Heritage Stewardship
- With the exceptions of fire suppression and forest infestation control, the management intent for the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve is to allow for natural ecosystems, processes and features to operate undisturbed with minimal human interference while providing educational, research and recreational activities
- Forest ecosystem renewal and maintenance as stated for this conservation reserve under the TLUP will only be entertained via a separate vegetative management plan
- Wildfire Suppression will be administered as per the direction outlined by the TLUP. The Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve has been designated under the Prescribed Fire Zone by the TLUP. Fire prescriptions include prescribed fire with fire control and fire suppression
- Prescribed burning may be utilized if deemed necessary to emulate natural disturbances and renew forest communities, prepare seed beds for research and/or education purposes or to meet additional objectives determined within a separate vegetative management plan. All scheduled Prescribed burns (PBs) within the boundaries of this conservation reserve will be conducted as directed by the current PB Policy AF.03.23.02
- All earth and life science features will be protected by defining compatible uses, enforcing regulations and monitoring and mitigating the impacts of land use activities
- Industrial activities such as commercial timber harvesting, aggregate extraction, mineral exploration and development, prospecting and mining and new hydro generation will not be permitted in the conservation reserve
- New energy transmission, communication and transportation corridors, resource roads or construction of facilities are discouraged within the boundaries of the conservation reserve
- Permits for fuel-wood will not be issued
- Other new activities that do not pass a Test of Compatibility will be prohibited (MNR Policy 3.03.05, 1997)
- The introduction of exotic and/or invasive species will not be permitted
- Programs may be developed to control forest insects and diseases where there is a concern that significant values may be compromised. Remedies must focus on the outbreak or infestation. Biological or non-intrusive solutions should be applied wherever possible
- The collection/removal of vegetation and parts thereof will not be permitted; however, subject to a Test of Compatibility, the Area Supervisor may authorize the collection of plants and/or parts for purposes of rehabilitating degraded sites within the reserve, collecting seeds for maintaining genetic stock and/or research
- Detailed ecological surveys concerning ground vegetation and additional plant values assessment especially concerning species at risk is warranted. Additional plant science inventory should be linked to future recreational needs and possibly regional gap analysis approaches. Assessments should follow future direction and methods established through MNR's Inventory, Monitoring and Assessment Reporting (IMAR) program
- MNR will provide leadership and direction for maintaining the integrity of this conservation reserve as a heritage estate
- Ground cover on steep slopes shall be left undisturbed to avoid erosion
- Research, education and interpretation will be encouraged to provide a better understanding of the management and protection of the natural heritage values and will be fostered through local and regional natural heritage programs, initiatives and partnerships
Fisheries and Wildlife
- Fish and wildlife resources will continue to be managed in accordance with policies and regulations prevailing in the area and under the direction of the Temagami Area Supervisor. Provincial legislation and policy will dictate management and enforcement objectives for this area
- The management direction will aim to verify species present, ecological function and habitat requirements, notably on lakes bordering the conservation reserve (Rib, Friday, Slim, Prud'homme)
- Monitoring programs should be undertaken on all lakes following the methods established through MNR's IMAR program and linked to district sustainability objectives and initiatives
- Moose aquatic areas should be surveyed to establish a database and should subsequently be monitored
- First Nation Treaty rights will be respected (see Aboriginal Interests)
- Area of Concern (AOC) prescriptions for the protection of fish and wildlife values, developed for forest management purposes, will be used as a guide when considering proposed activities/developments in the conservation reserve
- The rehabilitation of damaged ecosystems will occur whenever possible (maintain bio-diversity)
- Protection of cultural heritage resources and landscapes will be maintained
- Further research is warranted to more fully document archeological resources on the reserve
- Development, research and education proposals (i.e. maple syrup production) may be considered in accordance with the Test of Compatibility; Conserving a Future for our Past Archeology, Land Use Planning and Development in Ontario, Section 3 (MCzCR, 1997) and MNR's AOC Descriptions and Prescriptions (Cultural Heritage Resources) for the 1999-2019 Temagami FMP or its successor
- Research/education to provide a better understanding of the management and protection of cultural heritage values will be encouraged
Land Use/Existing Development
- Existing land uses and development within the conservation reserve that conflict with the protection objectives (Test of Compatibility) will be identified and discontinued if impacts can't be mitigated. Similarly, uses in adjacent lands can be reviewed if MNR determines adjacent land use activities are negatively impacting the values within the conservation reserve the Ministry may encourage mitigation measures to ensure the long-term health of the conservation reserve is protected
- There will be no new motorized trail development; however, non-motorized trail development may be permitted only if the activity passes a Test of Compatibility
- Existing non-industrial commercial uses such as bait and fur harvesting and the operation of the bear management area will be permitted. Such activities will continue to be monitored in order to ensure they do not unduly deplete natural resources and that they impose a minimal impact on the features identified for protection
- Trapline cabins will not be permitted within the conservation reserve
- Commercial enterprises offering ecotourism experiences will be encouraged providing these activities are of low intensity and are compatible with other uses
- Aboriginal treaty rights will continue to be respected throughout the management of this SCI. Any future proposal(s) and or decision(s) that have potential impact(s) on individual aboriginal values and/or communities will involve additional consultation with the affected aboriginal groups
- The earth and life science features and their protection shall be the overall theme for tourism
- The conservation reserve should be portrayed as providing back country experiences for canoeing, hiking, and cross country skiing
- Existing boat caches should be limited. No expansion should be permitted of this infrastructure and renovations or repairs shall be considered under the Test of Compatibility
- Existing non-structured camp sites for low impact camping shall be permitted, but no additional sites will be permitted
- Main base tourism development i.e. lodges, outfitting, will not be permitted
- Portage trails will be permitted as linkages through the conservation reserve
- Low intensity tourism/recreation infrastructure (eg. cabins, huts, warmup shelters, campsites) will not be permitted
- Conflict resolution between recreational uses will be a priority. This will be achieved by adhering to the objectives of this SCI with input from relevant user groups
- The level of safety and compatibility between activities will determine permitted uses (i.e., Test of Compatibility)
- Trail development for the purpose of accessing life science or earth science features such as old growth forests and the stoss moraine may be permitted, subject to conditions prescribed through AOC planning and the Test of Compatibility
- Information regarding the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve may be delivered from different sources, however, MNR will be the lead agency for responding to inquiries regarding access, permitted and restricted activities, values and recreation opportunities
- A management agreement may be pursued with an appropriate partner to share responsibilities for information services and the delivery of other aspects of this SCI
6.3 Specific Feature/Area/Zone Management Strategies
Presently there are no specific management strategies in place for sub-zones within the conservation reserve. However, over the longer term, management of the old growth forests may be enhanced through undertaking more specific inventories and developing vegetative management plans.
6.4 Promote Inventory, Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting
There are many opportunities in a conservation reserve of this size and diversity to study and explore the features of the natural systems. Since there has been relatively little human disturbance in many parts of the conservation reserve, some features may be observed in a pristine state. Further inventory of the resources should be an ongoing task. Non-destructive research will be promoted as an asset for procuring an understanding of the natural features and ecological functions of the reserve and their comparative value to other reserves and/or to landforms bordering the conservation reserve.
Monitoring impacts should also be an objective since increased usage by day- trippers and over night campers will add to the stress on the few available campsites and the trail/portage system.
6.5 Implementation and Plan Review Strategies
This SCI will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Implementation of the SCI will include the monitoring of activities to ensure adherence to management guidelines. A full review will coincide with the review of the TLUP (next review - 2006) and will be done every ten years thereafter.
Implementation of the SCI and management of the conservation reserve are the responsibility of the Temagami Area Supervisor of MNR (North Bay District). Partnerships may be pursued to address management needs. If changes in management direction are needed at any time, the significance of the changes will be evaluated. Minor changes, which do not alter the overall intent of the SCI, may be considered and approved by the District Manager (North Bay) without further public consultation and the SCI will be amended accordingly.
In assessing major changes, the need for a more detailed resource management plan (RMP) will first be considered. Where a RMP is not considered necessary or feasible, a major amendment may be considered with public consultation. Such amendments will also be posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) registry. The Regional Director has approval authority for any major amendments for this SCI.
6.6 Marketing Strategies
Messages should focus on the conservation reserve’s natural heritage representation, recreation opportunities, nature appreciation and education. Since access is generally limited, the strategy should indicate the options. The marketing strategy should link the availability of outfitting and guided recreational tours through partnering with local tourist operators and outfitters.
Partnerships may be fostered to aid in the delivery of this component.
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Procedural Guideline B – Land uses – Test of Compatibility
Public Lands Act Policy PL 3.03.05 (procedure 3.03.05)
The Conservation Reserve policy provides broad direction with regard to the permitted uses. The policy provides only an indication of the variety of uses that will be considered acceptable in Conservation Reserves. The only caution is that "any new uses, and commercial activities associated with them will be considered on a case by case basis, they must pass a test of compatibility to be acceptable". What does a "test of compatibility" mean?
An examination of this must start from the premise of why an area is set aside – specifically, its representative natural heritage values. Criteria are then identified to guide compatibility considerations. These criteria apply to the long term acceptability of both existing uses and new uses.
Conformity to SCI: SCI describe values for which an area has been set aside and the range of appropriate uses that will be permitted in the area. SCI may also speak to the acceptability of other "new" uses currently not occurring in the area.
The first "test" is: "do proposed new land uses and/or commercial activities conform to the direction of the SCI for the Conservation Reserve? Would the new use(s) depart from the spirit of appropriate indicator land uses in the SCI?"
- Impact Assessment: If the proposed use(s) pass test one it is important to determine their impact on the area before they are approved. This should include the following:
- Impact on natural heritage values: "will the new use(s) impact any natural values in the area? If so, how and to what degree? Is it tolerable?"
- Impact on cultural values: "will the new use(s) impact any historical or archaeological values in the area?"
- Impact on research activities: "will the new use(s) affect any research activities in the area?"
- Impact on current uses: "will the new use(s) have any negative impact on the array of current uses?"
- Impact on area administration: "will the new use(s) increase administrative costs and/or complexity?" (For example, the cost of area monitoring, security and enforcement).
- Impact of accommodating the use outside the Conservation Reserve: "Could the use(s) be accommodated as well or better outside the Conservation Reserve?"
- Impact on socio-economics of the area: "will the use(s) affect the community(ies) surrounding the area in a positive or negative way?" (for example, will the new use make the area less remote thereby affecting a local tourism industry that is dependant on the area’s remoteness for its appeal)?
- Impact on area accessibility: "does the new use(s) give someone exclusive rights to the area or a portion of the area to the exclusion of other existing uses?"
Glossary of Terms
Biodiversity: The total variability of life on Earth, including the diversity of genes, species and ecosystems.
Boreal: One of 3 main forest zones in the world. It is located in northern regions and is characterized by the predominance of conifers.
Esker: A knobby, crooked ridge of coarse gravel and sand considered to be deposited by meltwater in crevasses and tunnels near the front of a glacier.
Fen: peatland with water table at or above the surface with very slow water movement through communities via seepage that results in a more mineral, nutrient and oxygen- rich environment than bogs. Generally fens contain peat accumulations greater than 40 cm deep. Sometimes floating mat with sedges, mosses, shrubs and sparse tree layer present. Indicator plants include; Larch (Larix laricina) and Eastern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) over Black Spruce (Picea mariana) , Speckled Alder (Alnus incana), Dwarf Birch (Betula pumila) , Bluejoint Grass (Calamagrostis canadensis), assorted sedges, Sweet Gale (Myrica gale) with ericaceous shrubs present – especially in more nutrient poor fens (Harris et al. 1996).
Glaciofluvial: Silt, sand and gravel deposits from meltwaters of a glacier.
IMAR: An integrated, ministry-wide framework for Inventory, Monitoring, Assessment, and Reporting that supports the management of our natural resources in an ecologically sustainable way.
Kame: A knobby hill of irregularly stratified sand and gravel, formed at the edge of a melting glacier.
Moraine: A knobby ridge either of (a) boulder clay built by a thrust of a glacier or of (b) gravel and sand deposited at the edge of a glacier by escaping meltwater.
Poor fen wetlands generally contain greater amounts of black spruce than cedar and larch as well as ericaceous shrubs and sphagnum or peat mosses.
Vector: A series of distinct points, which makes up a line that defines a portion of a conservation reserve’s boundary. This artificial boundary is created with the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) computer software.
Temagami Land Use Plan (TLUP) Summary of Permitted Uses By Management Area
Name:15 Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve
This table is from the 1997 Temagami Land Use Plan, Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve (MA15) page 60.
|Categories||Permitted Yes/No||Special Conditions|
|Personal Use Permit(s) for Wood (e.g. Fuelwood)||No|
|Commercial Timber Harvesting||No|
|Forest Renewal and Maintenance||Yes||Activities i.e. cone collection, planting allowed on a case by case basis|
|Mineral Exploration & Development||No|
|Public Motorized Access||No|
|Commercial Baitfish Harvesting||Yes|
|New Cottaging may be considered on certain lakes||No|
|Managed Boat Caches on certain lakes||Yes|
|New Trail Development-Motorized (e.g. ATV's, snowmobiles)||No|
|New Trail Development-Non-Motorized (e.g. hiking, skiing)||Yes|
|Snowmobiling||Yes||No groomed snowmobile trails|
|Low-intensity tourism/recreation infrastructure (e.g. cabins, huts, warm-up shelters, campsites)||No|
|New Main Base Tourism development (e.g. lodges)||No|