Statement of Conservation Interest

Nipigon West Area,
Nipigon District
June, 2000

Updated March, 2012

Next Examination Due March 31, 2022

Approval statement

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

This Statement of Conservation Interest provides guidance for the management of the Shook Lake Conservation Reserve and the basis for the ongoing monitoring activities. More detailed direction at this time is not anticipated. 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 original regulation process and further consultation is not required at this time.

The conservation reserve will be managed under the jurisdiction of the Nipigon West Area Supervisor, Nipigon District, Ministry of Natural Resources.

Charlie Lauer
Regional Director
Northwest Region

1.0 Background information

The purpose of this document is to identify the natural heritage values of Shook Lake Conservation Reserve, the activities that occur there and through a set of management guidelines, lay out the activities which will and will not be permitted and the direction of management for the area. For more information for the basis of this Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) please refer to the Conservation Reserves Policy and Procedure PL3.03.05, specifically pages 2-6 and 14-22 of the procedure.

NameShook Lake Conservation Reserve
Ecoregion/EcodistrictBlack Sturgeon (3W-3)
OMNR Administrative Region / District / AreaNorthwest / Nipigon /Lake Nipigon West
Total Area (ha)156 ha
Regulation DateJanuary 4th, 1997
First NationsRocky Bay Band
Lat./Long. 49 12' / 88 56'
FRI Stands218, 219 and parts of 217 and 220
General Location DescriptionLocated to the east of Shook Lake approximately 53 km northwest of the town of Nipigon and 95 km northeast of the city of Thunder Bay
AccessThe area is relatively isolated and accessible only by walking, snowmobiles, ATV's, and canoe via the Spruce River.

1.1 Targets

This section provides a summary of the earth and life science system and values; cultural resources represented, and recreational opportunities available or possible.

Life Science RepresentationOld growth white pine forest in early stages of deterioration.
Earth Science RepresentationEnd moraine.
Cultural Resource RepresentationNo research as of this date and no documented cultural heritage values.
Recreational OpportunitiesNo specific studies, but generally will accommodate plant and wildlife viewing, hiking, hunting, fishing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and scientific studies/teaching opportunities, which do not damage the values to be protected.

1.2 Survey information

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

Survey LevelLife ScienceEarth ScienceCulturalRecreationalOther
DetailedNoNoNoNo1993 Nipigon District Old Growth Report

2.0 Values to be protected

2.1 Values identified on the site

Life ScienceOld growth white pine forest in early stages of deterioration.
Earth ScienceEnd moraine
CulturalNo known features
AboriginalRocky Bay First Nation notification area
TourismMini LUPs issued in surrounding area, not in this CR
Recreational FishingNo lakes exist in the CR
Recreational HuntingMoose, bear and small game hunting may be done in CR
MiningArea withdrawn from staking
AggregateLow potential for aggregates
Forest HarvestCR withdrawn from Black Sturgeon Forest
TrappingPart of trapline NG 17 (held by a Red Rock First Nation member)
Bear Management AreaCR falls within two BMAs: NG 15B30; NG 15B43
Commercial FishN/A

2.2 Values to be protected

The old growth stand consists primarily of white pine of about 140 years in age growing on deep fertile soils. The stand contains about 80% white pine, which represents one of the highest white pine concentrations in this northerly portion of its range. The site also includes a portion of the Fox Mountain Ridge, a prominent local topographic feature.

The Shook Lake site will protect an important example of an old growth white pine forest community located near the northern extent of its range in this part of Ontario.

3.0 Management guidelines

3.1 Land tenure

Shook Lake Conservation Reserve consists entirely of Crown Land. The entire area contains no mining claims and was permanently withdrawn from prospecting, staking out, sale or lease under Order No. W-TB-102/94 of the Mining Act on October 20th, 1994. Land tenures of any type will not be considered within the conservation reserve boundaries, either in the short term or the long term, for any purpose.

3.2 Existing and proposed development

There are no existing facilities in the conservation reserve. New facilities or development will not be permitted for any purpose. The area will be managed primarily for public nature appreciation, educational teaching and scientific study. Tourism will not be promoted for this area due to the potential for site degradation.

3.3 Recreational activities

Low intensity, non-structural recreational activities (e.g. viewing, hiking, hunting, etc.) are permitted which do not impact on the health of the old growth white pine ecosystem. ATV access and snowmobile usage will be monitored for potential damage to the trees and site regeneration component. If site degradation occurs these activities may have to be excluded from the area. Access by non-mechanized means is the preferred method.

3.4 Commercial activities

This Conservation Reserve forms part of a commercial trapline and a Bear Management Area. These will continue as the only permitted commercial activities. No other commercial activities exist in the conservation reserve. New commercial and industrial activities will not be permitted within the reserve boundaries. This includes activities such as mining, hydroelectric development, logging, aggregate extraction, peat development, topsoil removal and road development.

3.5 Aboriginal interests

Aboriginal and treaty rights will continue to be respected.

3.6 Natural Resources Stewardship

3.6.1 Vegetation management

The old growth white pine stands in Shook Lake Conservation Reserve will be managed in accordance with the Old Growth Policy for Ontario’s Crown Forests (OMNR 2003) which, considers amongst other things, the essential role that fire plays in the maintenance of ecosystem integrity and the renewal of forest stands and communities, and in accordance with the Forest Fire Management Strategy for Ontario (OMNR 2004), which provides strategic direction for the management of wildfire across Ontario. Shook Lake Conservation Reserve is in the Boreal Fire Management Zone according to this provincial strategy. Fire management involves the protection of values and the attainment of resource management objectives through fire response and fire use, such as prescribed burns. Fire management within the Shook Lake Conservation Reserve will help to restore and maintain ecological integrity while preventing personal injury, value loss and social disruption. In particular, fire management will help to:

  • Perpetuate naturally occurring vegetation communities and their underlying ecological Processes
  • Enhance habitat for eastern white pine
  • Improve ecosystem health and reduce vulnerability to insects and disease, and
  • Restore the natural environment through reintroducing fire as a natural processes.

Plans for any prescribed burning will be developed in accordance with the MNR Prescribed Burn Policy, its associated planning manual and the Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves, in cooperation with the Greenstone Fire Management Headquarters. All options should consider the nature of the pressure on the old growth white pine stand and could include other actions like ground spray application, seeding or under planting, and thinning.

3.6.2 Fish and wildlife management

The fishery and wildlife will continue to be managed in accordance with existing policies and regulations. Opportunities for wildlife viewing will be encouraged during the non-hunting season.

3.6.3 Landforms

Fox Mountain Ridge is the site’s prominent topographic feature. Within the reserve no mining, filling or extraction will be permitted in accordance with conservation reserve policies.

3.7 Cultural Resources Stewardship

The Ministry of Natural Resources will continue to work with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture’s regional chief archaeologist in identifying archaeological sites which should be protected. To date there has been no field survey to assess cultural resources and the potential for archaeological finds is unknown.

3.8 Client services

Nipigon District and the Planning and Information Team staff will be the primary point of contact for responding to inquiries about the basic level of information such as access, nature appreciation and wildlife viewing opportunities, scientific study requests, hunting, permitted uses, and boundaries.

3.9 Research

Scientific research by qualified/recognized Canadian institutions or organizations, which can demonstrate that such studies will not damage the key features of the reserve (e.g. bore sampling could damage tree species) and will contribute to the Ministry of Natural Resources natural heritage information base, will be encouraged. All research programs will require the approval of the Ministry of Natural Resources and will be subject to ministry policy and other relevant legislation. Temporary plots or observation stations to which researchers can return over time may be permitted. Any site that is disturbed will be rehabilitated as closely as possible to its original state.

3.10 Marketing

Marketing of the area’s natural values must not result in site degradation through highly increased usage. Marketing should be well thought out and limited to recognized Canadian education and conservation organizations (i.e. Universities, Federation of Ontario Field Naturalists, etc).

4.0 Implementation

Implementation of this Statement of Conservation Interest will primarily involve monitoring activities to ensure adherence to the management guidelines. Other activities will involve visually delineating the boundary by some means, producing a fact sheet highlighting the importance of the reserve, and responding to inquiries about the site.

5.0 Review and revisions

5.1 Review and revisions

The Shook Lake 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. Minor changes which do not alter the overall protection objectives may be considered and approved by the Area Supervisor without further public consultation and the plan amended accordingly. In assessing major changes, the need for a more detailed Conservation Reserve Management Plan will be considered first along with adherence to any legislative notification requirements that may exist at that particular time. Where a management plan is not considered necessary or feasible, a major amendment may be considered with public consultation. Major amendments will be approved by the District Manager and where required, the Minister.

In accordance with the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act (2007), MNR will examine management direction documents regularly. The next scheduled examination for the Shook Lake Conservation Reserve will be in 2022.

5.2 Public consultation

5.2.1 Results of past consultation

Under the previous Keep It Wild Initiative, contact was made with the resident geologist of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, the chief archaeologist for the northwest region of the Ministry of the Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation’s Heritage Branch, and several discussions with the affected timber companies (Avenor and Sturgeon Timber). All of the entities supported the proposal. Newspaper advertisements were distributed in October 1994 and an information package was available upon request. Only one written submission was received on behalf of the Lake Nipigon Advisory Committee, which supported the proposal. At the time, there were no First Nation uses or interests in the proposed area. More widespread consultation (i.e. open houses and information centers) was deemed to be not necessary. No concerns were identified with respect to the establishment of this reserve.

5.2.2 Present and future consultation

Further consultation is not considered necessary because of the extensive consultation that occurred in 1994.

6.0 Author

This Statement of Conservation Interest was prepared by Will Robinson, District Forest Planner, Nipigon District.

The 2010-2011 Examination Report was conducted by Sarah Armstrong, Protected Area Planner, Nipigon District. The attached Examination Confirmation Statement and Administrative Update were written by Alain Joseph, Protected Area Planner, Nipigon District. Some corrections were made to the Examination Report by Alain Joseph to reflect new information about the reserve which came to light recently.

7.0 References

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1994. Conserving Ontario’s Old Growth Forest Ecosystems - Final Report of the Old Growth Forests Policy Advisory Committee. 1994

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1995. A Conservation Strategy for Old Growth Red and White Pine Forest Ecosystems for Ontario.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1995. Old Growth Red and White Pine Forests - MNR Northwest Region Report on Protection.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1997. Ministry of Natural Resources Conservation Reserves Policy and Procedure, PL 3.03.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 2009. Ontario Protected Areas Planning Manual. Peterborough. Queen’s Printer for Ontario. 50 pp.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 2009. Ontario’s Woodland Caribou Conservation Plan. Queen’s Printer for Ontario. 28 pp.

8.0 Figures

Figure 1: Shook Lake Conservation Reserve Regional Setting

This map provides detailed information about Shook Lake Conservation Reserve Regional Setting.

Enlarge Figure 1: Shook Lake Conservation Reserve Regional Setting

Figure 2: Shook Lake Conservation Reserve Boundary

This map provides detailed information about Shook Lake Conservation Reserve Boundary.

Enlarge Figure 2: Shook Lake Conservation Reserve Boundary