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.