The Environmental Commissioner’s Annual Site Visit 2011
Throughout the year, the Environmental Commissioner makes many presentations, speeches and appearances across the province. In addition, Commissioner Miller tours a different part of Ontario for a few days each summer to learn about the environmental issues, challenges and successes unique to that particular region. These site visits give him the opportunity to meet with government staff, industry representatives, environmental organizations and the public. He also gets to see – firsthand and on the ground – the results of local research, conservation and environmental initiatives. These trips provide the office of the ECO with a broader and more informed perspective when reporting on issues in our annual reports. Past site visits have included tours of: the Algoma Steel plant (now Essar Steel Algoma Inc.) in Sault Ste. Marie; the electric power generating facility in Thunder Bay; conservation lands on Pelee Island; and a Niagara Falls landfill that converts landfill gas to energy.
On this year’s site visit, Commissioner Miller visited Algonquin Provincial Park, meeting with staff from Ontario Parks and wildlife researchers with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). Commissioner Miller has reported to the Legislature in the past on Algonquin Provincial Park, the flagship park within Ontario’s protected areas system, as well as the importance of managing protected areas for ecological integrity. Many of the ECO’s reports highlight the successes of Ontario’s parks system and the challenges that must be tackled by the government to safeguard these special places.
Highlights of the Environmental Commissioner’s June 2011 trip to Algonquin include:
- Visiting the Algonquin Visitor Centre and learning about the challenges of providing visitor services for the hundreds of thousands of visitors that enjoy the park each year;
- Hearing about Algonquin’s extensive interpretative program, including its successful public wolf howls, which have been running since 1963 and have educated more than 150,000 visitors;
- Learning about MNR’s ground-breaking wolf research on the unique eastern wolves in and around Algonquin Provincial Park;
- Hearing the results of MNR’s extensive aquatic and fisheries research, including research on the profound ecological impact that accidentally released smelt may have on Algonquin lakes;
- Taking a guided tour, led by staff from the Algonquin Forestry Authority, of timber harvesting sites in the park;
- Meeting with Laurentian University graduate students at their field study sites and hearing about their turtle and amphibian research; and
- Learning about the Integrated Waste Management System that Ontario Parks has implemented throughout the Highway 60 corridor of Algonquin Provincial Park, which has doubled waste diversion rates in the park in only a handful of years. Commissioner Miller sincerely thanks the ministry staff, researchers, foresters and graduate students who took the time to share with him their research, work and enthusiasm for Ontario’s flagship provincial park.
Commissioner Miller sincerely thanks the ministry staff, researchers, foresters and graduate students who took the time to share with him their research, work and enthusiasm for Ontario’s flagship provincial park.
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|This is an article from the 2010/11 Annual Report to the Legislature from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.|
Citing This Article:
Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. 2011. "The Environmental Commissioner’s Annual Site Visit." Engaging Solutions, ECO Annual Report, 2010/11. Toronto: The Queen's Printer for Ontario. 4-5.