Thunder Bay Old Growth Maple Forest Endangered

Nor'Wester Mountain Escarpment
Tree 'trimming' is underway atop the Nor'wester Mountain Escarpment
Thunder Bay Maple Forest
Right now an old growth Maple Forest is under ‘attack’, right here in Thunder Bay on the Nor’Westers.

THUNDER BAY – Editorial – The old growth Maple Forest on the Nor’Wester Mountains is facing a challenge. The Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment is the proposed site for a wind farm. Right now ‘tree trimming’ is underway. It appears more like pre-construction efforts as seven kilometres of trails up to three metres wide in places are being put in place.

Thunder Bay Maple Forest Experience It

Until you visit the site, and see the scope of the project, and realize that the base of each turbine is about one city block in space, and will require a clear cutting of those trees, if the Ontario Government approved the project, it is hard to fully understand what we are at risk of losing.

Old Growth Maple Forest
The majestic Maple Trees tower over you when you stand were wind turbines could one day stand

The forest is a beautiful place, with thousands of Maple Trees, many are well over 100 years old. 

Tree Trimming has 100 year old Maple Trees Cut Down

Some of those beautiful trees have already been cut down. Opponents of the project are suggesting that the ‘trimming efforts’ are exceeding the parameters of the agreements between the City of Thunder Bay and the wind farm company.

Nor'Wester Mountain Escarpment
Tree ‘trimming’ is underway atop the Nor’wester Mountain Escarpment

The Big Thunder Wind Farm state that they are simply testing and doing as little as they can at this point.

The project has been fought by many residents in the city. Across Ontario as many as sixty-four Mayors are seeking the Ontario Government to put more local control into the hands of municipalities. The Thunder Bay project has, reportedly put all members of Thunder Bay City Council behind a ‘gag order’. If they speak out on the deal, the city will not cover any legal costs that could occur as a result of their comments.

Test Tower is 100 Feet Tall – Turbines will be 450 Feet Tall

Wind Turbines
To offer a scope of the turbine heights. This test tower is 100 feet tall. The wind turbines will be 450 feet tall.

Perhaps the issue is for many this has been looked at without realizing the asset that this old growth maple forest represents. It is a place unlike anywhere else in the city. The trees, each fall will be a beautiful red colour. Already some of the trees are starting to turn.

Sugar Shack on Nor'Westers
Sugar Shack on the Nor’Westers

Down a little lower, the ‘Sugar Shack’ puts in place some perspective. Each of the Maple Trees could be tapped and a long term economically viable project could be in place. At Fort William Historical Park at the Winter Festival in February the maple syrup display is very popular. The syrup comes from down south. With a little entrepreneurship, it could be a Thunder Bay business.

The lost of an old growth Maple Forest would be a tragedy in our city. When you tour the project, and realize how much of the forest will simply disappear, it appears that it is time for the Minister of Energy to make a trip north and tour the project and see what his department is looking to do on the Nor’Westers.

Some feel that opposing wind farms is to oppose ‘Green Energy’. Until you tour the Maple Forest, and see how amazing it is a decision is left on paper.

Chopping down thousands of Maple Trees isn’t really green, it just feels wrong.

James Murray

Maple Leaves atop Nor'Westers
In Canada, the Maple Leaf is a symbol of our country, in Thunder Bay the iconic symbol is under attack.


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