Campaign Chronicles

  • Published on May 10 2011 |
  • This article is tagged as: chronicles

CPAWS-OV is pleased to release the first Campaign Chronicle, a series of publications dedicated to informing our membership and the general public about our ongoing work on each of the CPAWS-OV campaigns. Each campaign chair is responsible for contributing to the Campaign Chronicle series. Posts will be published approximately every two weeks.

Campaign Chronicle: Gatineau Park

By Muriel How, Gatineau Park Committee Chair

The news for Gatineau Park isn’t good at the moment, but we are continuing our fight to protect the area!

The CPAWS-OV Gatineau Park Committee recently attended a news conference close to the Meech Creek Valley, where we decried the devastation caused by the construction of the Highway 5 extension. (To see CPAWS-OV’s comments on the Route 5 extension, click here.)

We believe that clear-cutting should be a thing of the past, but it has now denuded vast hillsides along the Gatineau Valley towards Wakefield. Rivaling the stark spectacle of Vancouver Island’s clear-cut logging, thousands of truck-loads of massive pine, hemlock and cedar are leaving federal NCC property, sufficient to keep area mills running for months.

We, and other local organizations such as SOS Wakefield and Eco-Watch, argue that the clear-cutting has unnecessarily ravaged steep slopes, choked streams with debris, and cut into a section of Gatineau Park.

Logging equipment, such as skidders and tree harvesters, have stripped nesting habitat (during the early breeding season!) for migrant song birds, which is in contravention of constraints imposed in the Environmental Assessment screening report. CPAWS-OV suspects that the cutting inside Gatineau Park boundaries is being done to produce a gateway for future tourism development inside the Meech Creek Valley.

This clear-cutting may very well represent the single largest environmental threat to Gatineau Park’s wildlife. The danger to the park’s ecological integrity is very real. In fact, the Highway 5 extension is the latest in a long litany of political initiatives that hack chunks of pristine park-land from Gatineau Park’s "floating" boundary. The park’s boundary has escaped legislative approval for several years, allowing development to consume the Outaouais’ last untouched wilderness repository.

Clearly, there are many issues involved in protecting Gatineau Park. CPAWS-OV will continue to push for proper federal legislation to protect Gatineau Park and its boundaries, but in the meantime, we need a greater public push to stop logging and development within the park’s boundaries. We encourage you to e-mail the NCC (at info@ncc-ccn.ca) and your (potentially new) federal member of parliament to voice your concerns and to ask them to protect the park properly!

The CPAWS-OV Gatineau Park Committee is planning a public meeting in Chelsea, Québec, in the coming months. Stay tuned for dates, meeting place and speakers (or sign up for our newsletter). We hope to see you then!