Preserving The Great Lakes Heritage Coast
This paper will attempt to do several things in regards to the Great Lakes Heritage Coast. First, the author will provide some background information pertinent to this issue. Secondly, a summary of the current status of the Great Lakes Heritage Coast as presented by the guest speaker. Furthermore, the author of this paper will provide a personal opinion in regards to the importance of a partnership with First Nations along the coast.
The Great Lakes Heritage Coast (GLHC) extends over 2900km from near Port Severn on Georgian Bay north to Thunder Bay and then south again (MNR, 2001). The main features of the shoreline include caribou, rock paintings, a rugged landscape, and a 10,000-year history. With the GLHC established it is hoped to do several things. One is "to protect the Coast's scenic beauty and its natural ecosystems" (MNR, 2001). Another is "to promote the potential for recreation, tourism, and other economic benefits through a network of parks and protected areas and bring the world to this magnificent part of Ontario" (MNR, 2001) Furthermore, to "encourage development compatible with the overall intent for the area; and foster co-operation, education, public information and partnerships with other levels of government, Aboriginal communities and interest groups in the planning and management of the Heritage Coast" (MNR, 2001).
The GLHC idea was originally launched in March 1999 when Mike Harris announced it to be part of the living legacy package. The leader of this, Ted Chudleigh, will be the intermediary between the government and communities, businesses, environmental groups, Aboriginal leaders, the federal government and others (MNR, 2001). The GLHC is a result of the 'Lands for Life' process, a large public consultation regarding crown land (MNR, 2001).
The GLHC includes coastline of Lake Huron, including part of Georgian Bay all the way to the shores of Lake Superior. Designation of this area includes over 1.1 million hectares of coast land and inland areas (MNR, 2001). The inland areas range anywhere from two to five kilometres from the shoreline depending upon the area (MNR, 2001). Not only is the GLHC important for natural reasons, it also has historical significance being home to several native tribes and also was a popular trading route.
Policy for the GLHC is found in Ontario's Living Legacy Land Use. This policy statement provides a management framework for protection and enjoyment of the coast (MNR, 2001). This policy includes watersheds, lakes, and Crown land that exist in the designated area (MNR, 2001). Although the policy does not include native land or privately owned land, they are encouraged to participate with the GLHC (MNR, 2001).
Public involvement is encouraged in order to promote discussion regarding future possibilities along the coast. As a result of this discussion a report will be developed and be...