Widdifield Forest Provincial Park Management Statement
This document provides policy direction for the protection, development and management of Widdifield Forest Provincial Park and its resources.
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Interim Management Statement
I am pleased to approve this Interim Management Statement for Widdifield Forest Provincial Park (P146). Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy (1999) has identified this area as a natural environment class park. This park was regulated under the Provincial Parks Act in December of 2002 (O. Reg. 311/02).
This Interim Management Statement provides direction for the protection and custodial management of Widdifield Forest Provincial.
Date: May 26, 2006
Widdifield Forest Provincial Park is located within the northern portion of Widdifield Township and the southern portion of Mulock Township. The park is 20 kilometres northeast of North Bay, west of the village of Redbridge (Figure 1).
This park was designated through the Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy (OMNR 1999) as a natural environment park. The emphasis of natural environment parks is to provide high quality recreational and educational experiences in an attractive outdoor setting. This park was regulated under the Provincial Parks Act in December of 2002 and protects 2,170 hectares of Crown land.
Widdifield Forest Provincial Park will be managed based on the four objectives for provincial parks:
Protection: To protect provincially significant elements of the natural and cultural landscapes of Ontario.
Recreation: To provide provincial park outdoor recreation opportunities ranging from high-intensity day-use to low-intensity wilderness experiences.
Heritage Appreciation: To provide opportunities for exploration and appreciation of the outdoor natural and cultural heritage of Ontario.
Tourism: To provide Ontario’s residents and out-of-province visitors with opportunities to discover and experience the distinctive regions of the Province.
2.0 Management context
The purpose of this Interim Management Statement (IMS) is to provide direction to ensure the custodial management of park resources. Future park planning may be undertaken as required to provide direction on significant decisions regarding resource stewardship, development, operations and permitted uses.
Park management will follow direction from:
- Provincial Parks Act RSO (OMNR 1990) and regulations
- Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy (OMNR 1999), policy clarification amendments (OMNR 2000) and related direction
- Ontario Provincial Parks Planning and Management Policies (OMNR 1992) and updates
- Ontario Crown Land Use Policy Atlas (OMNR 2004a) and amendments.
In addressing custodial management obligations to protect park values and ensure public health and safety, Ontario Parks will ensure that policy and Environmental Assessment Act (1990) requirements are implemented.
The park superintendent will implement the policies, procedures and legislation that are derived from the above direction and written into this IMS for this park.
2.1 Environmental assessment
As part of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) , Ontario Parks is a public sector agency that is subject to the Environmental Assessment Act. Management of the waterway park will be carried out in accordance with legislation, policies and guidelines that are required under MNR's A Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves (OMNR 2005a).
3.0 Park features and values
Widdifield Forest Provincial Park is a diverse area of landforms and representative vegetation communities. The hilly glacial deposits of sand, clay, silt, and rich soils are covered by mature stands of sugar maple, yellow birch, and eastern hemlock. The deep loamy soils here are uncommon for this Ecodistrict (5E-6). These park attributes have created a combination of landform and vegetation that is not found in other local protected areas.
Figure 1: Regional Setting
Enlarge figure 1: Regional Setting
Figure 2: Park Boundary
Enlarge figure 2: Park Boundary
The most northern portion of this park consists of a large wetland which is comprised of marsh, fen and conifer swamp. The forest contains small, shallow beaver-controlled lakes and ponds which provide water to several small lakes to the north and the low-lying wetland. The cold waters of these lakes are also an important source for three major brook trout streams: the North River, Widdifield Creek, and Redbridge Creek systems, which flow into the Mattawa River. This park is an important habitat for waterfowl, large mammals, and several uncommon and rare species of plants.
3.1 Geological features
The bedrock of Widdifield Forest Provincial Park is within the Tomiko Terrane of the Central Gneiss Belt, in the northwest part of the Grenville Province (Frey and Duba 2002).
The Tomiko Terrane consists of mainly of metamorphosed quartzite and granitic plutons. The Tomiko Terrane is considered to be formed elsewhere based on local concentrations of iron formations unique in the Central Gneiss Belt and the distinctly Mesoproterozoic age of its metasedimentary zircons. The granitic composition of the Tomiko Terrane plutons is in distinct contrast to those in adjacent terranes (Frey and Duba 2002).
The eastern quarter of the park contains clastic siliceous metasediments in the form of biotite-quartz feldspar gneisses and migmatites. These metasediments are veined by gneissic biotite granite, injected during the intrusion of the granitic Mulock Batholith which forms the remainder of the park. The park occupies a small portion of the southern part of the Mulock Batholith, the youngest granitic mass in the Central Gneiss Belt. The representation of the Mulock Batholith within this park is provincially significant (Frey and Duba 2002).
The surficial deposits of the park are Late Wisconsinan in age. The dominant Quaternary deposit is a very thin, discontinuous ground moraine of sandy till (Frey and Duba 2002).
3.2 Biological features
Widdifield Forest Provincial Park is located on relatively deep, moderately broken ground moraine. The uplands are dominated by tolerant hardwood forests, while the lowlands in the north of the park contain coniferous peatland and open wetland (Morris 2001).
The site displays a strong uniformity of forest types, with sugar maple, yellow birch and eastern hemlock dominating the canopy. The main subdominants include black cherry, white birch and balsam fir (Bergsma 1994).
Most of the wetlands associated with the upland lakes are similar: emergent and floating aquatics in the open water zone, marsh shorelines, and thicket swamps along rivers and flooded areas (Bergsma 1994).
The forests, as well as the upland ponds, streams and low peatlands perform important headwater functions for cold-water tributaries of the Mattawa River (Morris 2001).
3.3 Cultural setting
A detailed survey and analysis of the cultural history and features of this park has not been completed to date.
Any future planning will be within the context of a provincial framework, A Topical Organization of Ontario History (OMNR 1974). In addition, updates and discussions with First Nations, other agencies and stakeholders may be carried out to identify cultural heritage values and features within the park and their significance. This information may be used to develop management guidelines to conserve and protect representative archaeological and historical values and features, or to provide direction for further research.
Widdifield Forest Provincial Park can support a variety of existing and potential recreation activities.
The landform and vegetation of the park could support nature study, exploring, hiking, snowmobiling, recreational all-terrain vehicle travel, camping, and hunting. The waters within the park support boating, canoeing and fishing (Kershaw 2002).
4.0 Aboriginal use
Dokis First Nation, Nipissing First Nation, Temagami First Nation, Teme Augama Anishnabai, and the Mattawa/North Bay Algonquins were consulted during the boundary regulation process for Widdifield Forest Provincial Park (OMNR 2002).
First Nations have expressed interest in and have shared knowledge of the park and surrounding area. Aboriginal communities have used the area for hunting, trapping, fishing, gathering and travel. These uses may continue, subject to public safety, conservation and other considerations.
Any communications and cooperation between Aboriginal communities and the MNR for planning and operations purposes will be done without prejudice to any future discussions or negotiations between the government of Ontario and Aboriginal communities.
5.0 Stewardship policies
5.1 Terrestrial ecosystems
The removal, damage or defacing of Crown properties, natural objects, relics and artifacts is not permitted (Provincial Parks Act).
Commercial forest harvesting and renewal activities are not permitted within the boundaries of the park (OMNR 1992; 2004a).
There are no fuel wood cutting permits currently issued within the park. No new permits will be issued (OMNR 2000).
The commercial harvesting of non-timber forest products (e.g. Wild Rice, Canada Yew) will not be permitted within the park (OMNR 1992; 2004a).
Non-native plant species will not be deliberately introduced into Widdifield Forest Provincial Park. Where non-native plant species are already established, and threaten park values, a strategy may be developed to control the species (OMNR 1992).
Insects and disease
Insects and diseases may be managed where the park’s aesthetic, cultural or natural values are threatened (OMNR 1992).
Control measures will follow guidelines established by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and MNR. Whenever possible, biological controls will be given preference over the use of chemicals (OMNR 1992).
Widdifield Forest Provincial Park is located within the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Fire Management Zone. In accordance with existing provincial park policy and the Forest Fire Management Strategy for Ontario (OMNR 2004b), forest fire protection will be carried out in the park as on surrounding lands.
Whenever feasible, MNR's Forest Fire Management program will use techniques which minimize damage to the landscape, such as limiting the use of heavy equipment or limiting the number of trees felled during response efforts (OMNR 2004b).
5.1.2 Wildlife management
Widdifield Forest Provincial Park is located in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 41. The removal and harassment of non-game animals is not permitted in provincial parks (Provincial Parks Act).
Sport hunting is permitted in Widdifield Forest Provincial Park however consideration of safety and conservation with respect to hunting will be made during future management planning, which includes public consultation. Any hunting activity that occurs within the park is subject to the regulations under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (1997), as well as the Migratory Birds Convention Act (1994). The harvest of bullfrogs or snapping turtles is illegal in provincial parks (OMNR 2004b).
Bear management areas
There is one bear management area (BMA) within the park: NB41-049 (Figure 3). New BMA licences will not be issued in the park (OMNR 2003).
Existing use is permitted to continue indefinitely. This activity may be subject to conditions identified during future management planning (e.g. the designation of nature reserve zones).
Existing is defined as that use supported by an active license, permit or other formal authorization. If this authorization lapses the activity is no longer considered an existing use (OMNR 2000).
The boundary of this park includes portions of two licensed trap lines: NB-33 and NB-34 (Figure 3).
Existing commercial fur harvesting operations are permitted to continue. This activity may be subject to conditions identified during future management planning (e.g. the designation of nature reserve zones). New operations, including trap cabins and trails, will not be permitted (OMNR 2000).
New operations, including trap line cabins and trails, will not be permitted. The relocation of the existing trails and cabins will be subject to ecological principles and management planning (OMNR 2000; 2004a).
Existing is defined as use that is supported by an active license, permit or other formal authorization. If this authorization lapses the activity is no longer considered an existing use (OMNR 2000).
Transfers of active trap line licenses are permitted, subject to a review of potential impacts, and the normal types of transfer situations.
5.1.3 Industrial resources
Aggregate extraction is not permitted within Widdifield Forest Provincial Park. There are no active aggregate pits located within the boundary of this park.
Commercial mineral exploration and extraction, and peat development are not permitted within the park (OMNR 1992). The Crown land within this park has been withdrawn from mining activity under the authority of the Mining Act (1990).
5.1.4 Access and crossings
Widdifield Forest Provincial Park is accessible by the roads which branch from Highway 63, which is located to the east of the park. These roads travel through the park and provide access to private land located adjacent to the park.
The existing access to the southern area of Lot 5, Concession 6 (Parcel 562) is located within the park boundary. The use of this access road is permitted to continue. The road will be maintained by the private property owner. Prior to any maintenance activity, Ontario Parks must be consulted to ensure that features and values are not affected and to mitigate impacts of maintenance. Aggregate that is required for the maintenance of this road will not be obtained from within park boundaries.
The western boundary of the park is accessible via the hydro corridor and railway corridor that travel along the western boundary of the park (Figure 2).
Figure 3: Trap Line Areas and Bear Management Areas
Enlarge figure 3: Trap Line Areas and Bear Management Areas
Highway 63 travels to the east of the park. There are old roads that branch from this highway and travel into the park. Some branches of these roads travel across the southern area of the park and provide access to private land located adjacent to the park.
Widdifield Station Road is located to the south-west of the park boundary. A portion of this road travels along the southern boundary of the park in Widdifield Township.
Where existing roads are essential for continued access beyond the park for forestry, recreation, or access to in-holdings and alternative road access does not exist, or road relocation is not feasible, existing roads will continue to be available for access. Continued use will include maintenance and may include upgrading. Upgrading and maintenance activities must meet all Environmental Assessment Act requirements. Ontario Parks is not responsible for the maintenance or upgrading of any existing roads within the park boundary.
The Ontario Northland Railway travels south-west of the park boundary. This corridor does not cross into the park.
There is a utility corridor that travels along the western boundary of this park. The park boundary does not include the hydro corridor right-of-way. The boundary is approximately 46 metres east of the hydro line.
Maintenance of this existing utility line will be permitted. These activities must adhere to the regulations set out under the relevant acts such as the Environmental Assessment Act, Canadian Environmental Protection Act (1999) and the Pesticides Act (1990). Maintenance activities shall not impact negatively on the values being protected within this park.
Any future utility corridors proposed through the park, where park lands are unavoidable, will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Protection of park features and values will be priority and all requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act will be met.
Canoe Routes: There are no known established canoe routes within Widdifield Forest Provincial Park.
Snowmobile Trails: There are two Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) trails that travel along the roads and hydro corridor adjacent to the park boundary. The trunk trail ‘AD' travels to the west of the park and there are club trails that travel to the east of the park. These trails do not enter the park.
All-terrain vehicle (ATV) trails: Old logging roads and service corridors associated with the adjacent power line are used as informal ATV trails.
Hiking trails: Old logging roads and service corridor associated with the adjacent power line are used as informal hiking trails.
5.1.5 Adjacent land management
The lands adjacent to this park are within the Nipissing Forest. This forest is currently managed by Nipissing Forest Incorporated.
Four nearby parks are Mattawa River, Samuel De Champlain, Amable Du Fond River and Jocko Rivers Provincial Park.
Enhanced management areas
Approximately five kilometres to the north of Widdifield Forest Provincial Park is Little Jocko Ice Contact Delta (E143n). This 1,577 hectare natural heritage category EMA contains a kettled esker delta which provides a fairly undisturbed representation of glacial fluvial and lacustrine land forms, with a variety of deposits including sandy outwash, organic, alluvial and eolian.
Adjacent tourism developments
There are no known commercial tourism facilities or other developments in or immediately adjacent to Widdifield Forest Provincial Park. New facilities/operations may be considered through future management planning (OMNR 2004a).
General use area
There are two general use areas adjacent to Widdifield Forest Provincial Park: Trout Lake Mattawa-River and Jocko River.
The Trout Lake Mattawa-River Area land use intent is based on urban and rural residential uses, with associated agricultural and recreational activities being predominant.
The Jocko River general use area is primarily for the purpose of resource production and extraction. Wildlife and fisheries management are important secondary uses (e.g. moose range and deer yard habitat improvement, fish stocking) Extensive recreational uses such as hunting, fishing, back-country travel, canoeing, camping, cross-country skiing and downhill skiing take place within the area.
5.1.6 Land disposition
Widdifield Forest Provincial Park is located within Mulock and Widdifield townships (Figure 2). Widdifield Township is within the Municipality of North Bay.
No new land disposition for private use of individuals or corporations will be permitted within the park (OMNR 2004a).
Land use permits, licenses of occupation, unauthorised occupations
There are no private or commercial land use permits located within the park.
There are no known licenses of occupation (LO) within the park.
There are no known unauthorized occupations located within the park.
The shape of the boundary of Widdifield Forest Provincial Park was influenced by private land parcels located adjacent to the park. Private land is not included within the park.
Waste disposal site
There are no authorized waste disposal sites in the park or on adjacent lands.
There are no authorized boat caches within this provincial park. As stated in the Provincial Parks Act, boats are not permitted to be left unattended in this park without written permission from the superintendent.
5.2 Aquatic ecosystems
Sustaining high quality water resources is fundamental to the protection of the features and values of the park and adjacent lands. The MOE enforces applicable legislation and regulations pertaining to water quality.
5.2.1 Water management
There are no dams, water control structures, or diversions within the park boundaries.
New hydro electric developments are not permitted within the Widdifield Forest Provincial Park (OMNR 1992; 1999; 2004a).
5.2.2 Fisheries management
Fisheries management will complement maintenance and enhancement of the native, self-sustaining fish populations (OMNR 1992).
Sport fishing is permitted within Widdifield Forest Provincial Park. Any sport fishing activity is governed by the legislation and regulations in the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, as well as the Fisheries Act (1985). The Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary (OMNR 2005b) contains more details regarding general regulations and exceptions to these regulations for the area of Widdifield Forest Provincial Park.
There are no commercial fishing operations within Widdifield Forest Provincial Park. No new operations will be permitted (OMNR 1992).
Commercial baitfish harvesting
Widdifield Township (NB1408) is currently allocated for commercial baitfish harvesting (Figure 5). Existing commercial bait harvesting (active licenses) will be permitted to continue indefinitely in the park, but may be subject to possible conditions identified through future park management planning or MNR district fisheries management plans (OMNR 2000; 2003). New baitfish licenses will not be issued within the park (OMNR 2003).
The stocking of native fish species may be considered through park management planning, with full public consultation. The stocking of non-native fish species will not be considered (OMNR 2004a).
6.0 Operations policies
6.1 Recreation management
6.1.1 Motorized recreation
Bodies of water contained within the boundary of Widdifield Forest Provincial Park which support mechanized water travel. The use of motorboats is permitted to continue, unless park values are being threatened (OMNR 2004a).
There are no water bodies wholly contained within the park that would support the landing of aircraft. Aircraft landings are not permitted within this park (OMNR 2004a).
There are currently no authorized snowmobile trails in the park.
The use of snowmobiles on established trails for access to private land in-holdings, LUPs and recreational ice fishing areas is permitted to continue in the interim. Proposals for new trails may only be considered through future planning with public consultation (OMNR 2000).
Off-trail snowmobile use is prohibited unless authorized by the superintendent under the authority the Provincial Parks Act and consistent with provincial park policy
There are no authorized ATV trails located within the park boundary.
The use of ATVs on established trails for access to private land in-holdings and LUPs is permitted to continue in the interim. Proposals for new trails may only be considered through future planning with public consultation (OMNR 2000).
Off-road use of ATV is prohibited unless authorized by the superintendent under the authority the Provincial Parks Act and consistent with provincial park policy.
6.1.2 Non-motorized recreation
There are currently no developed camping facilities within the park.
If there is an identified need, campsite development may be considered through future park management planning. Any development is subject to the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act.
There are no existing hiking trails within the park. Existing hiking and other non-mechanized use may continue unless it threatens park features and values, creates user conflicts or raises safety/liability issues.
If there is an identified need, the development of new hiking trails may be considered. Trail infrastructure to protect park values and features will be permitted. Any proposed development within the park is subject to Environmental Assessment Act requirements.
Existing uses may continue, unless park values are threatened (OMNR 2004). Infrastructure to protect park features and values may be permitted and developed in response to use, environmental deterioration and environmental protection requirements.
Figure 5: Commercial baitfish blocks
Enlarge figure 5: Commercial Baitfish Blocks
6.1.3 Emerging recreational uses
There are emerging recreational uses for which there is no or limited policy to deal with their management (e.g. adventure racing, geocaching). The park superintendent will use legislation, policy and guidelines that are in place in the interim to manage emerging uses.
There is no existing park infrastructure (e.g. buildings, hiking trails, etc.) located within the boundary of Widdifield Forest Provincial Park. Infrastructure to protect park features and values may be permitted and developed in response to use, environmental deterioration and environmental protection requirements. Any proposed development within the park is subject to MNR's requirements under the Environmental Assessment Act.
6.3 Commercial tourism
Infrastructure for commercial tourism does not exist within this provincial park. New commercial tourism facilities may be considered where consistent with park policy (OMNR 2004). Any development must meet the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act.
7.0 Cultural resources
An assessment of the cultural resources specific to Widdifield Forest River Provincial Park has not been completed at this time. However, upon completion, management of any cultural values within this park will be directed toward protection and heritage appreciation (OMNR 1992).
8.0 Heritage education
Literature and other supporting information may be developed to describe the park in the context of Ontario’s provincial park system. Boundary limits, significant heritage features and permitted uses of the waterway park may be included in park literature.
Prospective park visitors may be informed about the sensitivity and significance of park values through park literature.
Scientific research by qualified individuals which contributes to the knowledge of natural and cultural history and to environmental and recreational management will be encouraged in the park. Ontario Parks will encourage institutions, such as universities, to undertake research projects. All research programs will require the approval of Ontario Parks and will be subject to park policy and other applicable Legislation. Ontario Parks may approve the research of any natural or cultural features and values by qualified researchers. Any materials removed will remain the property of the Ontario Parks.
Approved research activities and facilities will be compatible with the park’s protection objective. Any site which is affected by research will be rehabilitated as closely as possible to its original state. Environmental assessment requirements will apply.
Bergsma, B., 1994. Life Science Inventory Checklist Site District 5E-6 – Widdifield Forest. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
Environmental Assessment Act, 1990.
Fisheries Act, 1985.
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997.
Frey, E. and D. Duba, 2002. P146 Widdifield Forest Provincial Park. (Draft Earth Science Checksheet). Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
Kershaw, W., 2002. Recreation Assessment – Widdifield Forest Provincial Park Inventory Report – Version 1.5. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994.
Mining Act, 1990.
Morris, E., 2001. Natural Heritage Area Life Science Checksheet – Widdifield Forest Provincial Park (OLL P146). Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1974. A Topical Organization of Ontario History. Historic Sites Branch Division of Parks.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1992. Ontario Provincial Parks Planning and Management Policies.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1999. Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 2000. Ontario Provincial Park Policy as Amended by the Ontario Living Legacy Land Use Strategy.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 2003. Direction for Commercial Resource Use Activities in Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves. 5 pp.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR). 2004a. Crown Land Use Policy Atlas.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 2004b. Fire Management Strategy for Ontario. (Draft). Aviation and Fire Management Branch.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 2005a. A Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 2005b. Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 2005c. Hunting Regulations Summary.
Pesticides Act, 1990.
Provincial Parks Act, 1990.
Appendix A: Background information
|Name||Widdifield Forest Provincial Park (P146)|
|OMNR Administrative Region/District||Northeast – North Bay|
|Total Area (hectare)||2, 170|
|Regulation date & Number||December 7, 2002 (O. Reg. 311/02)|
The bedrock of Widdifield Forest Provincial Park is within the Tomiko Terrane of the Central Gneiss Belt, in the northwest part of the Grenville Province.
The Tomiko Terrane consists of mainly of metamorphosed quartzite and granitic plutons. The park occupies a small portion of the southern part of the Mulock Batholith, the youngest granitic mass in the Central Gneiss Belt.
The surficial deposits of the park are Late Wisconsinan in age. The dominant Quaternary deposit is a very thin, discontinuous ground moraine of sandy till.
Widdifield Forest Provincial Park is located on relatively deep, moderately broken ground moraine. The uplands are dominated by tolerant hardwood forests, while the lowlands in the north of the park contain coniferous peatland and open wetland.
The site displays a strong uniformity of forest types, with sugar maple, yellow birch and eastern hemlock being the dominant species. The forests within the park also include black cherry, white birch, and balsam fir.
There has been no examination of the cultural values that may exist within the park.
Widdifield Forest Provincial Park can support a variety of existing and potential recreational activities. Summer activities include fishing, boating, canoeing, hiking, recreational all-terrain vehicle travel, camping, and hunting. Winter activities include snowmobiling and snowshoeing. Other activities that could occur in the park include nature studying, big tree observation, and exploring.
There are no commercial or private use land use permits, lodges or outfitters located in the park.
|Survey Level||Earth Science||Life Science||Cultural||Recreational|
|Reconnaissance||E. Frey and Duba, 2002||E. Morris, 2001||W. Kershaw, 2002|
- footnote Back to paragraph Transfers include situations where a license is surrendered with a request that it be immediately reissued to another individual or organization that is assuming an existing operation including trap line cabins for the purposes of trapping. If a trap line license is revoked or surrendered, all portions of the registered line within the park will be rescinded from the legal description of the trap line (OMNR 2000).