Don’t tell cottagers and year-round residents of Rice Lake, near Iroquois Falls, that it’s only 14 hectares of jack pines set to be clear-cut next month.  It’s a lot more than that to them.

It’s about the effect on their property values, and, as year-rounder Mariette Rains points out, it’s about the natural environment they call home.

“We’ve got a turtle habitat in there.  Turtles are pretty rare around here.  So we’re concerned about maintaining the natural environment,” she remarks.  “Essentially, we’d rather not see a clear-cut right there.”

Among other concerns are the unintended consequences like possible flooding and removal of the noise barrier between the lake and the highway, just under three kilometres away.  The boundary of the clear-cut is right across the road from their properties.

Displays like this are popping up around Rice Lake. (Save Rice Lake Forest/Facebook)

Clear-cut preparations are underway, but final MNRF approval hasn’t been granted.  The residents hope to head that off.

Resident Céline Cormier says the ministry claims to have had a public input session,but she says no one recalls getting notice of it.

And she points out there’s a lot of forest around there, wondering why the company can’t cut somewhere else, further away from homes and cottages.

“Why can’t they leave a protective barrier around the road?” Cormier asks.  “Why is this bog that is completely unimportant to them – it is a wetland – why is that not protected also?”

To learn more from the property owners’ perspective, click here.