Statement of Conservation Interest
Prepared For OMNR, Red Lake District
Updated November 2011
Todd A. Cairns
OLL Intern

Approval statement

I am pleased to approve this Statement of Conservation Interest for the Harth Lake Conservation Reserve.

This Statement of Conservation Interest provides guidance for the management of the Conservation Reserve and the basis for the ongoing monitoring activities. Should significant facility development or resource management be considered, or complex issues arise requiring additional studies, a more detailed Conservation Reserve Management Plan will be prepared with full public consultation.

The public was widely consulted during the original regulation process for this site. Further consultation with Treaty 3 and representatives of Lac Seul First Nation is required before this site is regulated.

The Conservation Reserve will continue to be managed by the Red Lake South Area, Red Lake District, Ministry of Natural Resources.

Graeme Swanwick
District Manager
Red Lake District

Charlie Lauer
Regional Director
Northwest Region

Background information

The purpose of this document is to identify the natural heritage values of the Harth Lake Conservation Reserve, as well as identifying the type and extent of current recreational use on-site.

NameHarth Lake Conservation Reserve
Ecoregion/Ecodistrict3S – 5
OMNR administrative region/District/AreaNorthwest Region – Red Lake District – Red Lake South
Total area (ha)3,722
Regulation datePending
First NationsN/A
Latitude/Longitude50 52' N 92 09'W
Basemap55563 and 56563
Forest Resource Inventory Stand Numbers

235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 40, 44, 48 and others (1977 inventory). Forest Resource Inventory for Trout Forest will be revised when the new inventory is received from Weyerhaeuser Canada (Summer 2001).

The forest resource inventory was updated in 1996.

General location descriptionLocated approximately 80 km east of the town of Ear Falls in the Trout Lake Forest, north of Wesley road.
AccessWesley road runs close to the west end of this Conservation Reserve. Access is limited for all types of transport.


This section provides a summary of the earth science, life science and cultural resource values as well as any present or possible recreational opportunities.

Life science representation

This site contains a variety of features including jack pine regeneration, stunted white cedar, shrubby cinquefoil, peat lands, bogs and fens.

Old growth jack pine, woodland caribou habitat and five critical Landform/Vegetation associations in ecodistrict 3S-5.

Earth science representationGlaciofluvial landforms reflect the disintegrating Lac Seul ice-lobe. Land complexes identified, at the site, included bedrock controlled, weakly broken ground moraine (till) and organic complexes (bogs and fens) in varying stages.
Cultural resource representationNo documented cultural heritage values have been identified.
Recreational opportunitiesOpportunities may exist for remote wilderness recreation, but with limited accessibility. There are no recreational trails on this site and water bodies are intermittent and not deemed navigable. Angling opportunities for sportfish do not exist. Activities were listed broadly to include general exploring, hunting opportunities, nature study and aquatic viewing.

Survey information

This section provides an overview of the inventories completed, type of survey (reconnaissance or detailed) and any further inventories that are needed.

Survey levelReconnaissanceDetailedRequirement
Life Science2000N/AYes
Earth Science2000N/AYes

Values to be protected

This section provides a description of the key natural heritage values on the site, and their condition relative to past resource use and management activities and their sensitivity to future land use and management activities.

Values identified on the site

Life scienceThe features identified included a large (0-40 hectare) organic ribbed graminoid fen with the presence of small stunted white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) dispersed throughout peated hummocks in the fen. Organic complexes include bogs and fens in varying stages of decomposition.
Evidence of past fire disturbance includes the domination of regenerated jack pine stands. Old growth jack pine stands were undetermined, as ages were not taken. There is the possibility of old growth amongst treed fen portion on the West side of the ribbed fen.
Earth scienceLand complexes identified, at the site, included bedrock controlled, weakly broken ground moraine (till).
CulturalNone Identified
AboriginalLac Seul First Nation, Treaty # 3
TourismNone Identified
Recreational fishingNone Identified
Recreational huntingSite may be used for moose and small game hunting, gaining access from the end of Wesley Road.
MiningLow mineral potential; CR withdrawn from staking
AggregatesNo past or existing operations
Forest harvestSite is part of the Trout Lake Forest Management Unit; unallocated within FMP area; to be removed from SFL
TrappingOne active Registered Trapline (# SL 120) within CR.
Bear Management AreaPart of an active Bear Management Area
Commercial fishOne active commercial bait fish harvest block - 507921

Values to be protected

The intent of this Statement of Conservation Interest is to protect 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.

Forest Values: the Harth Lake Conservation Reserve is located in the Trout Lake Forest and will be withdrawn from the SFL once this site has been regulated. The forest in the entire area is to be protected (including old growth jack pine component) from future harvest operations. It should also be noted that white cedar, although not a provincially significant species, is considered to be at the northern edge of its range and rare for this geographic location. Watershed management is critical for its survival.

Species at Risk values: Signs of Woodland Caribou were observed through collaring data in 1997, along with caribou observations from a caribou survey in 2007. Woodland Caribou are a species at risk under the Endangered Species Act (2007).

Recreational Values: the reserve offers limited access (i.e. roads, navigable waters). There are no recreational development plans ongoing.

Tourism Values: this site is unique in its earth and life science representations, and offers potential for Eco-tourism.

Management guidelines

Land tenure

Harth Lake Conservation Reserve will remain Crown Land. No dispositions (including Land Use Permits or Licences of Occupation) will be issued for the site.

Existing and proposed development

To date there is no existing or proposed development within this Conservation Reserve. Development that would alter or disturb this site will not be allowed.

Recreational activities

Recreational activity is permitted, although access is limited. There are no recreational trails on this site and water bodies are intermittent and not deemed navigable. Angling opportunities for sportfish do not exist within this Conservation Reserve.

Logging has occurred on the Southeast side of the reserve, up to and adjacent to the reserve boundary. Tertiary roads may offer access for hunting privileges into the reserve, yet the majority of the site is hummock peatland or densely thick with jack pine regeneration.

Commercial activities

The Harth Lake Conservation Reserve is part of the Trout Lake Forest Management Unit and will be permanently removed from the Sustainable Forest Licence held by Weyerhaeuser Canada. An examination of the possible impact of activities on adjacent lands should be evaluated during forest management planning (i.e. Wesley Lake Road area).

The Ministry of Northern Mines and Development (MNDM) have also withdrawn this site from all mineral exploration and extraction activities.

A registered trapline is located within the Conservation Reserve and is presently active and permitted to continue.

The area is part of a Bear Management Area. Hunting will continue as a permitted use in this Conservation Reserve.

No other commercial activities exist in the area. No new activities, such as mining, aggregate or peat extraction, commercial logging, hydroelectric power development, utility corridors, highways or roads, will be permitted.

Aboriginal interests

Traditional land use in the Harth Lake Conservation Reserve involves the Lac Seul First Nation whose interests include an active registered trapline and sustenance hunting. There is nothing in this Statement of Conservation Interest that affects existing or future aboriginal or treaty rights.

Natural resources stewardship

Vegetation management

The area will be managed in accordance with relevant existing policies. The natural ecosystem processes and features will, for the most part, be allowed to occur with minimal human interference.

Watershed attributes that contribute to the existence of many species like White Cedar will be evaluated through the forest management planning process.

Fish and wildlife management

The Harth Lake conservation reserve is located along the southern boundary of a woodland caribou habitat tract, which is part of a broader landscape management strategy for caribou. The development of even aged stands along with adjacent timber operations will aid in high caribou habitat mosaics for both this Conservation Reserve and adjoining landscape units. Therefore habitat and other life science values within this protected area may require maintenance through the use of natural or prescribed fire. However, intensive fire management and protection will continue to be carried out on this protected area unless an alternative direction for the control of it is approved through a more detailed local natural resource plan or management plan.

Existing Wildlife Management Unit and sport fishing regulations and their management activities will apply to facilitate the management of fish and wildlife in this reserve.


No management activity is required except protection.

Cultural resources stewardship

No management activity is required at this time based on existing information.

Cultural, historical and archaeological features were not identified when reviewing background information and research, nor were they identified during the site visit.

Client services

There are no established client services for this Conservation Reserve at this time, nor are there any immediate plans for developing such client services. Information on resources of this Conservation Reserve is available from the Red Lake District Office.


Non-destructive research related to the study of earth and life sciences will be encouraged in this conservation reserve.


No management activity is required at this time.


Implementation of these management guidelines is the responsibility of the Red Lake South Area Supervisor, Red Lake District. Any affected interest groups or clients will be immediately informed of proposed changes to this Statement of Conservation Interest.

Review and revisions

The Harth Lake Conservation Reserve Statement of Conservation Interest will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

In accordance with the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act (2006), MNR will examine management direction documents that have been in place for 10 years or more. The next scheduled review for Harth Lake Conservation Reserve will be in 2020.

If changes in management direction are needed at any time, the significance of the changes will be evaluated. The need for public notice or more formal consultation will be assessed. Major amendments will require full public consultation and the approval of the District Manager and the Regional Director. This Statement of Conservation Interest complies with all requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act and Environmental Bill of Rights.

Public consultation

The Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy established the Ministry’s intent to add these Crown lands to Ontario’s protected areas system, following the extensive public consultation associated with the and Lands for Life land use planning initiatives between 1997 and 1999. Prior to the finalization of the boundary of this conservation reserve, an open house was initiated to invite public comment from all potentially affected stakeholders and First Nations during August 15 – September 15, 2000 to discuss the proposed boundary.

Newspaper advertisements and a district information package were distributed to known stakeholders and affected people to initiate public consultation.

Feedback received during the public consultation were general inquiries with no actual issues made concerning the Harth Lake Conservation Reserve. Additionally, there was no public comment documented during the consultation period in response to the Harth Lake Conservation Reserve.

Consultation with Lac Seul First Nation and Treaty #3 is ongoing and will continue throughout the 2001-2002 fiscal year prior to the regulation of this site.


Harth Lake Conservation Reserve Fact Sheet – Ministry of Natural Resources Red Lake District - Public Consultation, August 2000.

Noble, T.W. 1998. Site Region 3S Gap Analysis. Draft Copy. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Northwest Region, Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario’s Living Legacy - Land Use Strategy July 1999.

Ontario Provincial Parks Planning and Management Policies. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1992 Update

Figure 1: Harth Lake Conservation Reserve Regional Setting

This map shows the location of Harth Lake Conservation Reserve in relation to the surrounding region

Enlarge map for Harth Lake Conservation Reserve Regional Setting

Figure 2: Harth Lake Conservation Reserve Boundary

This map shows the boundary for Harth Lake Conservation Reserve.

Enlarge map for Harth Lake Conservation Reserve Boundary