Thunder Bay

'It's worth being careful with': Thunder Bay group works to protect Brook Trout Triangle

A Thunder Bay citizens group is hoping to halt plans to allow forestry operations in what it calls a vital fish habitat known as the Brook Trout Triangle.

Forest management company hopes to build road access, allow logging in area northeast of the city

The Coalition to Preserve the Brook Trout Triangle says it's not opposed to forestry operations in the area, located northeast of Thunder Bay. Rather, the group says any such work there needs to be done carefully. (Sean Landsman)

A Thunder Bay, Ont., citizens group is hoping to halt plans to allow forestry operations in what it calls a vital fish habitat known as the Brook Trout Triangle.

"It's never been cut before," Jed Ziegler, a member of Coalition to Preserve the Brook Trout Triangle, said of the area. "It's got a large number of really closely-situated, natural reproducing [brook] trout lakes."

"It's a unique area in the province."

The area itself is about 9,100 hectares in size and located northeast of Thunder Bay, north of Loon Lake.

However, forest management company Greenmantle, as part of its five-year forest management plan for the Lakehead forest area, hopes to build an access road into the area and start forestry operations there, Ziegler said.

"That's our concern is that it's kind of right into the middle of it," Ziegler said. "This isn't really an anti-forestry thing. It's not saying no forestry in that area. It just has to be very careful and limited forestry to protect the remote features of that area, to protect the natural reproducing brook trout lakes as well."

However, Ziegler said the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is also proposing to create a new fish and wildlife management area there, which will be called Amethyst Highlands.

"It's still in the consultation phase, and that takes quite a while," Ziegler said. "It seems like they're trying to put a road into it first."

Greenmantle is hosting a public open house on its forestry management plan Tuesday evening. Ziegler encouraged people with an interest in the Brook Trout Triangle to attend and give their opinions, "one way or the other."

"That sort of public support really helps at these open house meetings," Ziegler said. "The [MNRF] and the forestry companies need to see whether or not the public's at all interested in this, and by coming out and being there [it] shows that the public is interested in it, supporting it, and it's worth being careful with."

The meeting happens Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. at the Victoria Inn.

A Greenmantle representative wasn't immediately available for an interview on Tuesday.