In the late 1960s and early 1970s there was considerable controversy about logging in Algonquin Park. The controversy centred around the principle of logging in a provincial park, and how the logging was being done.
Considerable public debate and study of the issues resulted in the 1974 Master Plan for Algonquin Provincial Park. This plan provided for zoning of the Park into several categories, some of which allowed logging, and others which did not (25%). The Master Plan also set out specific strategies for the conduct of forest management activities. The method of harvest was specified (primarily shelterwood and selection) and a variety of conditions pertaining to timing, location, and standards were established.
The Algonquin Forestry Authority (AFA) was established in 1974 and is classified as an “Operational Enterprise” Crown Agency. The Authority is a commercially-oriented, operational agency and is self-financing. The AFA was established by Bill 155 “An Act to Incorporate the AFA, 1974″ (First Board of Directors Meeting – January 20, 1975).
The timber licenses previously held by 20 companies were cancelled and the timber rights were assigned to the AFA. The companies receive a commitment for the supply of certain volumes and products from Minister of Natural Resources which the AFA supplies. These commitments are based on what the forest can sustainably provide.
In 1983, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the AFA concluded a Forest Management Undertaking which transferred the responsibility for forest management, silviculture, wood measurement, and maintenance of public access roads from the MNR to the AFA. This agreement continues today but is now called the Algonquin Park Forestry Agreement. The MNR retains an audit role on all activities of the AFA.
Silvicultural activities are financed via the renewal portion of the Ontario Government stumpage matrix for Algonquin Park. Renewal fees are paid by the consuming mills and fully cover the renewal and tending costs associated with forest management activities. The balance of the activities are funded by the AFA.