It’s been a busy year for the Wolf Lake Coalition, we’ve made some key moves in our continued fight for the inclusion of Wolf Lake’s ancient pine within the Chiniguchi Waterway Provincial Park.
We share the same canoe, and it’s time for the paddles to hit the water. We are in fast water now, and we need all the wisdom we have to guide us through. – Rick Beaver
Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve been up to, what’s still to come, and how you can help.
Calling on Ontario’s citizens & political leaders to take action
During the recent Ontario provincial election, we reached out to party Leaders Doug Ford, Andrea Horwath, Kathleen Wynne, and Mark Schreiner to ask for their support in protecting Wolf Lake. Now that the election is over, we will be following up with MPPs in the area.
We also recently crafted and sent out a petition to thousands of Ontarians asking Ford, Horwath, and Schreiner to take action to protect Wolf Lake. We ramped up exposure and awareness through several pointed social media campaigns. You can find more information on the Save Wolf Lake action page – and if you haven’t done so already, please share the petition widely with your networks.
Holding Ontario and Canada to their promises
The biggest focus of the coalition at present is continuing to keep Canada and Ontario honest in their commitment to the United Nations target to protect at least 17 percent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas by 2020. The Ontario government responded to this commitment with its own Biodiversity Strategy, which outlines 37 actions and 6 strategic directions to protect the province’s at-risk ecosystems.
The federal commitment to this target goes back to 2010 and 2011, but the federal government recently recommitted to it in June of this year. Although no details of the plan were given, alongside Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips, federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna said the government is “committed to working with provinces and territories, with private landowners, with our partners” to reach the 2020 target.
Funding opportunity with the Canada Nature Fund
In their meeting with the media on June 28, McKenna and Phillips also revealed more details of the $1.3 billion Canada Nature Fund, which is part of this year’s federal budget. Ottawa has already committed $500 million to the fund that will support Canada’s biodiversity efforts with federal funds that aim to enhance collaboration and partnership on protection projects and conservation efforts. There is also a planned Indigenous Guardians program which will help build and enable more Indigenous capacity in these projects.
The first phase of the fund will provide roughly $300 million over five years to diverse projects. McKenna is expected to provide more details about these funds in the coming months, and a call for proposals will also be going out in the next couple months to identify fundable initiatives. The Wolf Lake Coalition / Friends of Temagami will be putting together a task force to apply for these funds to fuel our conservation efforts and gain more exposure.
Support from Ontario Nature
Ontario Nature has been doing a campaign to keep the government honest on its commitments to the 2020 target, and they are supportive of Wolf Lake being a crucial part of the protection plan. In their 2018 summer issue, Ontario Nature magazine included a beautiful feature on Wolf Lake that outlines the mining stranglehold on the area, the Coalition’s current activism efforts, and a glimpse of Wolf Lake’s glorious outdoor leisure culture.
In the article, Ontario Nature’s Executive Director Caroline Schultz says, “It is time to give Wolf Lake the protection it deserves.” Ontario Nature’s continued and sustained support for our cause is a pivotal move forward, as the organization sees Wolf Lake as exemplary of necessary present action to protect and conserve our most valuable ecological gems. As Schultz puts it, “If we can’t protect this place, what the heck can we protect?”
Also, as part of its Protected Places Campaign, Ontario Nature conducts presentations to community groups across the province, and Wolf Lake is always mentioned as an example of a special place that needs to be protected. This is just one of the important ways in which Wolf Lake is kept in the public’s eye.
For more information, continued updates, and to find out how you can help, please visit our Save Wolf Lake action page.