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Old 07-01-03, 07:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Please help protect St. Williams Forest, important herp area!

Hi all,

The St. Williams Forestry Station (no longer in operation) near Long Point has some of the best remaining habitat for many Carolinian species, including 13 amphibians and 12 reptiles recorded at the site. It is one of the last remaining places in southwestern Ontario still inhabited by small numbers of black rat snakes.

The ~1300 of crown land forest has been proposed as a conservation reserve under Ontario's Living Legacy. It is currently posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights for public comment. Please help preserve this important habitat by adding your comments in support of the recommendations made by the technical advisory committee. Specific info on the site and the recommendations can be found at: http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/envregistry/020315ep.htm

I haven't reviewed all of the info, but it looks worthwhile to me. I do know that one of the main proponents is a very respected herp conservationist. One of the main controversial issues is ATV use. Trail riding around the edges of the old nursery blocks is quite common. Unfortunately, these edges are also prime basking sites for snakes, and near the wetland areas they are prime turtle nesting sites. ATV mortality of snakes (especially juveniles which are harder to see) and neonate turtles is a major concern. ATV noise is also an issue for some breeding birds. There is some local opposition to prohibiting ATV use, and perhaps it shouldn't be completely prohibited, but some sort of regulation is required (perhaps open areas/ closed areas).

Note that comments will only be considered if they are in the proper format, which is described at the bottom of the EBR website above. Email is not allowed, but written comments may be faxed! The deadline is July 4th- this Friday, so please act quickly!

There are 3 important comments that should be made:

-You support the goals and objectives recommended by TAG
-It is necessary to regulate/constrain/eliminate ATV use
-It is absolutely critical that the government 'endow' this initiative through the establishment of a $2 million trust fund held by the Ontario Heritage Foundation

The contact person is:
Sherry Pineo, Project Lead
MNR Aylmer District
353 Talbot Street West
Aylmer, Ontario, N5H 2S8
PHONE: (519) 773-4742 FAX: (519) 773-9474

Comments must reference the EBR Registry Number: PB03E3003

Remember the comment deadline is Friday, July 4! Please fax even a brief note to Sherry before Friday.

Thanks,

Jeff Hathaway
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Old 07-01-03, 08:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Here's my letter, faxed today:

MNR Aylmer District
353 Talbot Street West
Aylmer, Ontario, N5H 2S8
Attention: Sherry Pineo, Project Lead

RE: EBR Reference Number PB03E3003

July 1, 2003

Dear Ms. Pineo,

Please accept my comments regarding the EBR listing noted above with respect to the protection of the St. Williams crown lands as a conservation reserve and the resulting changes to the land use policy.

We have personally visited this site (in 2001) and found it to be well worth the effort to preserve it. We are especially concerned with the protection of rare herpetofauna found at the site.

With this in mind, we are particularly concerned about the uncontrolled use of all terrain vehicles (ATVs) at the site. The edges of the old nursery blocks are prime basking sites for snakes, and incidental or even intentional mortality due to ATVs is likely to be an on-going problem if their use is not prohibited or regulated. We would prefer to see ATV use prohibited but would accept regulations such as closed areas/ open areas as a compromise. If such regulations are developed, it would be beneficial to the snakes to direct ATV use into the middle of open areas rather than around the edges.

Generally, we support the recommendations of the technical advisory group.

Further, we believe that the government should endow this initiative through the establishment of a $2 million trust fund held by the Ontario Heritage Foundation.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this chance to preserve such a vital habitat for so many species at risk in our province.

Sincerely yours,

Jeff Hathaway and Jenny Pearce
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Old 07-01-03, 07:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I will have to send one in today. Anyone remember the the email to fax gateway for emailing faxes to our politicians?
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Old 07-01-03, 08:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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ATV haters Bummer.
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Old 07-01-03, 10:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hey Dozer,

I'm not an ATV hater- in fact I find them to be very useful vehicles, and I wouldn't turn one down if someone offered it to me. However, like many things irresponsible users can cause problems. Also, like many things, there are appropriate places for them. Important habitats for sensitive species at risk are not among them, in my opinion.

And generally, my philosophy is that these vehicles (and all other fossil fuel powered machines) should be tools, not toys. Use them for an appropriate purpose, not just to drive around in circles for fun, IMO.

Jeff Hathaway
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Old 07-05-03, 06:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hey Jeff this area you are talking about is like 20 mins from me its a beautiful area but yes there is alot of bikers and 4 wheel trucks that go in the back area because of a dirt road that is located at the back,They are still growing trees there but only on the one side of the highway there is a big complex there. If anyone would like to come down here just let me know I could take you down thru there no problem.
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