Ontario’s forests are essential to the well-being of many northern Ontario communities involved in tourism.

Both the forest industry and resource-based tourism industry rely on Ontario’s publicly-owned forests for their businesses.

The Resource Stewardship Agreement process encourages the forest and tourism industries to work closely together in planning forest operations that could potentially affect tourist operations.


Each of Ontario's Forest Management Units have a Forest Management Plan (FMP) developed to address operational details such as road locations, harvest blocks and renewal activities. The plans have a 10-year planning cycle.

When developing an FMP, each Sustainable Forest Licence holder must invite (by registered letter) all eligible resource-based tourism operators in or adjacent to the management unit to participate in the Resource Stewardship Agreement process.

Tourism operators that want to participate will meet with forest management planning staff to begin discussing their interests in the management unit.

This is an opportunity for the two businesses to discuss their business needs, their values, the licence holder's plans and potential areas of concern.

Tourism operators may:

  • identify important values to their business (such as accommodation facilities, recreation trails and shore lunch sites)
  • raise any concerns they may have about planned operations nearby

Tourism operators who may be affected by forest operations should meet as early as possible through the FMP planning process to try and find workable solutions that address the interests of both parties.


The goal is to negotiate an agreement that satisfies the parties' respective concerns on:

  • tourism values
  • forest management prescriptions
  • road use management strategies
  • other matters

These discussions, and any subsequent agreement, do not replace other forms of public input. They provide an enhanced opportunity for the forestry and tourism industries to address and resolve any concerns before the FMP is brought forward for public consultation, and First Nation and Métis involvement and consultation.

The parts of the Resource Stewardship Agreement that directly affect the prescriptions and forest management activities proposed in the FMP are subject, through the planning process, to:

  • public consultation
  • First Nation and Métis involvement and consultation

The forest management prescriptions in a Resource Stewardship Agreement come into force when the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry approves the FMP that includes the agreed-upon prescriptions.


The Resource Stewardship Agreement Memorandum of Understanding sets out a broad framework for developing Resource Stewardship Agreements and an agreement’s general principles and minimum content. The resource-based tourism and forest industries in Ontario agree to respect and adhere to this memorandum and to negotiate agreements in good faith.

The Guide to Resource Stewardship Agreements provides background and advice for negotiating Resource Stewardship Agreements and outlines industry and government roles.

The Management Guidelines for Forestry and Resource-Based Tourism offers helpful tips based on actual experience in managing tourism values in the forest. The guidelines can help forest management planners and resource-based tourism operators find the appropriate forest management tools and techniques to effectively manage tourism values in Ontario's Crown forests.