Statement of Conservation Interest

Ministry of Natural Resources
Thunder Bay District
January 2003

Information Management

By Jason Biggar
Thunder Bay District

Approval statement

We are pleased to approve this Statement of Conservation Interest for the Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve.

This Statement of Conservation Interest provides guidance for the management of the Conservation Reserve and the basis for the ongoing monitoring activities. More detailed direction is not anticipated at this time. Should significant facility development be considered or complex issues arise requiring additional studies, more defined management direction, or special protection measures, a more detailed Conservation Reserve Management Plan will be prepared with full public consultation.

The public was widely consulted during the designation and regulation of tile site and further consultation is not required at this time.

The Conservation Reserve will be jointly managed under the jurisdiction of the Spruce River/Armstrong and the Shebandowan area teams, of the Thunder Bay District Ministry of Natural Resources.

W.D. Baker
District Manager
Thunder Bay District

Charlie Lauer
Regional Director
Northwest Region

1.0 Map overview

Map of Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve


2.0 Background information

The purpose of this document is to identify the natural heritage values of Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve, and to protect those values by establishing management guidelines for existing and potential uses in this area given the level of past disturbance and the nature of the existing features. This document provides management direction until more comprehensive planning occurs.

2.1 Background information

NameGarden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve
Site Region / Site District3W-2
OMNR Administrative Region / District / AreaNorthwest Region/Thunder Bay District/ Spruce River - Armstrong and Shebandowan Areas
Total Area (ha)12,586 hectares
Regulation DateAnticipated 2003
First NationsGull Bay First Nation (Robinson-Superior)
OBM2015690054600, 2015700054600, 2015700054700, 2015710054800, 2016280054800, 2016290054800, 2016290054900, 2016300054800, 2016300054900
Latitude/Longitude49° 27’ N/ 90° 00’ W
Basemap69546, 70546, 70547, 71548, 28548, 29548, 29549, 30548, 30549
Forest Resource Inventory2001 FRI.
General Location DescriptionGarden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve is located approximately 125 km northwest of Thunder Bay on the Mooseland River system. The majority of Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve is located within the Spruce River Forest with the southern portion falling within the Dog River - Matawin Forest.
AccessGarden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve has limited accessibility. The reserve is primarily reachable by water and air with some road access. Although roads to this conservation reserve are limited, the reserve can be accessed via Highway 811 at the Mooseland River. Access is possible on secondary and tertiary forest access roads at the south end of Mooseland Lake and on the north end of Garden Lake.

2.2 Representation targets

This section provides a summary of the earth science, life science and cultural values represented in the site. Existing and potential recreational opportunities are also summarized.

Life Science RepresentationMarshes are common within the reserve along rivers and sheltered lake bays, while treed wetlands are uncommon and occur in scattered locations along Mooseland River. The system of interconnected lakes and rivers function as both a wildlife and hydrological corridor. The reserve is extensively used for tourism (outpost camps) and recreation (fishing).
Earth Science RepresentationThe volcanic suite of rocks surrounding Garden Lake are ranked as regionally significant due to their representation of volcanic activity associated with the Wabigoon geological sub-province. The earth science features in this reserve are generally not sensitive to human activity, but the esker at the inlet to Garden Lake is sensitive to sand and gravel extraction.
Cultural ValuesA series of pictographs are located within the reserve
Recreational OpportunitiesRecreational opportunities in this area include camping, outpost camps, sport fishing, canoe and kayaking, and wetland species viewing.

2.3 Survey Information

This section provides an overview of the inventories completed, their level of detail, and any further inventories that are required.

Survey LevelCompletedFuture Requirements
Life ScienceReconnaissance Level Survey 2002 North-South Environmental Inc.None
Earth ScienceReconnaissance Level Survey 2002 North-South Environmental Inc.None
RecreationalRecreation Resource Inventory Completed May 2002.Recreational usage should be monitored on an ongoing basis.

3.0 Values to be protected

This section provides a description of the natural heritage values for the Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve and their condition relative to past resource use, management activities and their sensitivity to future land use and management.

3.1 Values identified for protection on the site

3.1.1 Earth science values

The Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve lies within the Wabigoon geological sub- province of the Superior province. The bedrock of this reserve is primarily represented by volcanic and metavolcanic rocks. The area around Garden Lake is dominantly intermediate acid to basic basalts. To the south, around Mooseland River and Mooseland Lake, gneiss and migmatite are dominantly found. Most volcanic rock within the majority of parks and conservation reserves are associated with the southern geological province, such as the Lake Superior Archipelago Conservation Reserve. Of particular interest is the presence of stretched pillow lavas in several sections around Garden Lake. These ‘pillow’ shaped structures, sometimes form patterns within an overall massive rock or even exist as distinct separate structures.

The Garden Lake area is principally a weakly broken bedrock controlled plain. It consists of low rock knobs interspersed by shallow organic basins. The most prominent landform in this part of the conservation reserve is a major esker at the south end of Garden Lake. The esker is approximately 16.5 m high with strongly broken topography due to slopes of about 29° on the side of the esker. The areas to the south and southwest along the Mooseland River and the interlake area between Holly, Loganberry, Pakashkan and Grew Lakes consist of a weakly to moderately broken rock knob terrain. Bedrock is generally exposed but may be covered by a gravelly silt loam till. The esker at the inlet to Garden would be sensitive to sand and gravel extraction.

The volcanic rocks surrounding Garden Lake are ranked as regionally significant due to their representation of volcanic activity associated with the Wabigoon geological sub-province. These rocks are generally not depicted within parks and conservation reserves of Northwestern Ontario.

3.1.2 Life science values

Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve is composed of a 200 m buffer surrounding the Garden River and Mooseland River systems. The marshes of the conservation reserve are dominated by blue-joint grass and cattail as well as open fens with sedges, all which are common along rivers and sheltered lake bays. The forests are dominated by aspen mixedwood forests on the uplands interspersed with black spruce in the lowlands. Jack pine also occurs in scattered locations on bedrock. Loganberry, Holly and Grew Lakes all exhibit bedrock controlled topography and support a larger conifer component in the forest. Evidence of past forest fires is also present in the conservation reserve.

The numerous riparian and lake wetlands of Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve provide a diversity of habitat for both plant and animal species. A number of these wetlands support moose aquatic feeding sites. In addition, the conservation reserve is a continuation of the Gull River Provincial Park, which provides a linkage between the Lake Nipigon Signature Site and the surrounding landscape.

3.1.3 Recreational values

Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve is a waterway reserve that supports recreational hunting and fishing opportunities in a remote setting. Five lakes are included in the Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve. These are Garden, Loganberry, Holly, Grew and Mooseland Lake. The remoteness of the site and sport fish such as Lake Trout, Walleye and Northern Pike offer a unique attraction for fly-in fishing. Mooseland Lake is a lake trout lake. Ice fishing has been documented on Garden Lake and Mooseland Lake.

Two tourist outfitters within the area offer vast fishing and hunting opportunities. The two remote tourism lakes, Holly Lake and Grew Lake, are sensitive to any increased road access. Moose hunting, canoeing and kayaking all take place. The conservation reserve and surrounding waterways can be incorporated into three possible canoe and kayak routes.

4.0 Management guidelines

All management activities must conform to the stated intent and direction of this Statement of Conservation Interest. New activities, which do conform, must also be assessed for potential impacts on resource values. Values that have been identified, in particular those noted in sections 3.0, should not be negatively impacted.

4.1 Land tenure

Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve incorporates two remote outpost camps under a Land Use Permit. Two other outpost camps operate on the waterway, but just outside the reserve boundary. The entire area within and surrounding Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve is Crown land. Gull River Provincial Park links the Garden Pakashkan system to Lake Nipigon.

  • No dispositions (including Land Use Permits, Leases or Licenses of Occupation) will be issued to the conservation reserve for industrial purposes.
  • Sale of Crown lands within the proposed conservation reserve is not permitted. Renewals of existing leases or land use permits are permitted. Operators of tourism facilities can apply to upgrade tenure from Land Use Permit to lease.
  • New tourism facilities or Land use Permits can be considered through more detailed planning.

4.2 Existing and proposed development

Along the periphery of Mooseland lake and Garden Lake tertiary forest access roads sometimes extend into the 200m boundary of the conservation reserve. These roads are not maintained and will be allowed to deteriorate via natural processes. Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve has one unmaintained access point on the north shore of Garden Lake. Travel along a secondary road from Grew Road is necessary to reach this access point. Any improvements to the access point will require more detailed planning. Other means of access include air travel by floatplane, by boat and/or canoe, kayak routes from Pakashkan Lake.

There are two trapline cabins within the conservation reserve, one on Mooseland Lake and the other on Garden Lake. Two remote tourism camps operate within the conservation reserve, located on Grew and Holly Lakes.

  • New resource access roads are not permitted.
  • Non-trail use by motorized vehicle will only be permitted for the retrieval of game.

4.3 Recreational activities

Recreational activities that have traditionally been enjoyed in this area can continue provided they pose no threat to the natural ecosystems and features protected by the Conservation Reserve.

  • Hunting and fishing activities will continue to be allowed as regulated uses by the Ministry of Natural Resources.
  • Non-regulated uses (i.e. ATV and snowmobile use) will be permitted as long as they do not adversely affect the values. Effects of recreational use will be monitored on an on-going basis.
  • There are two existing canoe routes through the conservation reserve.
  • Camping is permitted within the Conservation Reserve.

4.4 Commercial and industrial activities

Mining, commercial forest harvesting, hydroelectric power development, the extraction of aggregate, peat, soils, or other industrial uses are not permitted in conservation reserves. New commercial activities for tourism facilities may be considered.

4.4.1 Forest management activities

The Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve is located within both the Spruce River Forest and Dog River Matawin Forest and the area of the conservation reserve will be withdrawn from the Sustainable Forest Licenses.

  • Forest Management Activities are not permitted within the Conservation Reserve.

4.4.2 Commercial trapping activities

Current trapping activities will be permitted to continue, unless there are significant demonstrated conflicts. Trapline areas are a permitted use and may continue within the conservation reserve.

  • New cabins will not be considered.
  • Repair and replacement of existing cabins are permitted, as long as the scale and function are not significantly altered.

4.4.3 Bear management activities

Bear hunting operations may continue in this Conservation Reserve. Bear management areas are a permitted use and may continue within the conservation reserve.

  • The transfer of licenses will be permitted on an ongoing basis.

4.4.4 Commercial baitfish activities

  • New operations may be considered and are subject to a test of compatibility.

4.4.5 Mining exploration and aggregate extraction activities

  • Mineral exploration is not permitted within the conservation reserve.
  • Aggregate, peat and soil extraction is not permitted within the Conservation Reserve.

4.4.6 Resource access roads

New resource access roads will not be permitted.

4.4.7 Outpost camps / tourism facilities

Existing authorized outpost camps and tourism facilities can continue. Operators can apply for upgrade tenure from LUP to lease. New facilities will be considered subject to more detailed planning.

4.5 Aboriginal interests

Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve is included in the Robinson-Superior and Treaty Nine area. Trapping is one aboriginal interest within the conservation reserve. Due to the close proximity of Gull Bay First Nation Reserve hunting and fishing could be another. This Statement of Conservation Interest in no way affects any existing or future aboriginal or treaty rights.

4.6 Natural resources stewardship

Natural Resource Stewardship involves the consideration of the following specific natural resource management categories.

4.6.1 Vegetation and fire management

The OMNR recognizes fire as an essential process fundamental to the ecological integrity of this conservation reserve. Forest fire protection will be carried out as on surrounding public lands in accordance with existing conservation reserve policy and the Forest Fire Management Strategy for Ontario.

The MNR fire program will endeavor to use "Light on the land" techniques, which do not unduly disturb the landscape, whenever feasible in this conservation reserve. Examples of light on the land techniques may include limiting the use of heavy equipment and foam, and limiting the number of trees felled during fire response efforts.

Opportunities for prescribed burning to achieve resource management objectives will be considered. Plans for any prescribed burning will be developed in accordance with the OMNR Prescribed Burn Planning Manual and the Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves.

  • Forest insect and disease management will be addressed on a site by site basis.

4.6.2 Fish and wildlife management

Threatened species such as the bald eagle have been identified within and around the boundary of Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve and are protected under the Endangered Species Act.

  • Sport Hunting and fishing will be allowed to continue within the reserve.

4.6.3 Landforms

The volcanic rock of this area is ranked as regionally significant due to its representation of volcanic activity with the Wabigoon geological sub-province.

4.7 Cultural values

Multiple pictographs have been identified within the Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve. The pictographs have been documented and are protected under the Ontario Heritage Act.

4.8 Client services and marketing

Given the focus on low key management, client information will be given on an inquiry basis only and will provide only a basic level of information with respect to access, natural Pictographs heritage appreciation, recommended activities and boundaries. A fact sheet has been prepared and will be given on an inquiry basis only. The pre-consultation fact sheet is also readily available on the Ministry of Natural Resources Internet Site.

4.9 Research

Non-destructive research related to the inherent values of this site will be encouraged. All research will require the approval of the Ministry of Natural Resources as will the removal of any natural or cultural specimen.

  • No permanent fixtures on the landscape will be permitted without the approval of the Ministry of Natural Resources.
  • It is the responsibility of the researcher or research group to rehabilitate the researched area as closely as possible to its previous state.

5.0 Implementation

These management guidelines are to be implemented by both the Spruce River / Armstrong Area and Shebandowan Area teams, of the Thunder Bay District. Any affected clients will be immediately informed of proposed changes to this Statement of Conservation Interest.

5.1 Review and revisions

The Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve Statement of Conservation Interest will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

If changes in management direction are needed at any time, the significance of the changes will be evaluated. Any major amendments will require public consultation and the approval of the District Manager and the Regional Director.

5.2 Public consultation

5.2.1 Results of past consultation

Consultation on the site boundary occurred for one month from September 20th to October 20th of 2002. Stakeholders contacted during the consultation period included adjacent landowners, mining claim holders, organizations, tourist operators and outfitters, baitfish harvesters and trappers and relevant provincial ministries. There were no identified concerns or comments about Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve.

5.2.2 Aboriginal consultation

Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve lies within Robinson-Superior treaty and Treaty 9 area.

5.2.3 Future consultation

Future consultation may occur should policies affecting the activities in the Conservation Reserve be changed.

5.2.4 Authors

The Information Management Section, Thunder Bay District, prepared this Statement of Conservation Interest.

6.0 References

Ministry of Natural Resources. Conservation Reserves Policy and Procedure. PL 3.03.05. 1997 Activities/Use policies in Conservation Reserves (April 2000)

Ministry of Natural Resources (2002) NRVIS – Natural Resources Values Information System. Thunder Bay District, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Ministry of Natural Resources (July 1999) Ontario Living Legacy – Land Use Strategy Queens Printer for Ontario.

North-South Environmental Inc. (2002) Earth Science Inventory – Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve. Thunder Bay, ON

North-South Environmental Inc. (2002) Life Science Inventory – Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve. Thunder Bay, ON

Whyte, Pamela, (2000) Garden-Pakashkan Conservation Reserve Recreation Resource Inventory, Thunder Bay District, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

Smyk, Dennis, (2000) Pottery, Projectile Points and Pictographs – A look at Ingnace’s Prehistoric Past- archaelogical report. Ingnace, ON