By Todd Eastman, Former Lands & Forests Manager, NOTO
I’d like to start by thanking the RSA Consultants who have been assisting tourism operators with the Resource Stewardship Agreement or RSA Process since 2001. The consultants have worked diligently with operators for the past four years encouraging them to get involved in the process, explaining how both the RSA and Forest Management Planning process work, and helping operators prepare for negotiations with the forest industry. It has been a pleasure to work with the consultants and I trust operators would offer the same. These individuals are experienced resource management practitioners all offering something different and productive to the process.
From conversations I’ve had with the consultants, I know they have enjoyed working for the tourism industry. They have found the work refreshing yet realize there are many challenges facing the industry.
These challenges and the people and personalities in the tourism industry have inspired the consultants and I believe a number of them are interested in assisting the industry wherever they can in the future. Please join me in offering a hat’s off to each RSA consultant for their efforts over the past years.
Unfortunately with this thank you comes somewhat of a good-bye. The free professional consulting services that the roster of RSA Consultants have been able to offer to the tourism industry as a result of a funding arrangement with the government of Ontario ended on March 31st of this year. This does not mean that the RSA process ends: it simply means that operators no longer have access to free consulting services when they are negotiating RSAs. And although ideally we would have been able to provide access to free consulting services up to and including those operators negotiating RSAs for Forest Management Plans or FMPs being implemented in 2007, government support in its original form was not available.
The situation however is not entirely dim as the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation has provided funding to NOTO to provide RSA professional assistance to operators out of the NOTO office until April 2006. I will continue to focus on the RSA process for the upcoming year fielding any and all calls from the industry, contacting operators to encourage them to get involved in negotiations for 2007 FMPs, and working closely with MTR and other RSA partners to ensure the process continues to unfold and develop in an effective manner. Should operators not be satisfied with the amount or degree of assistance I can provide out of the NOTO office and that gained through the RSA educational materials produced to date (almost all available through the NOTO website), operators might consider hiring one of the RSA Consultants directly. Please contact me at the NOTO office should you wish the contact information of any of the consultants.
Again thank you to the team of RSA Consultants and the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation for their continued support of this important initiative and to the operators- don’t be afraid to call with your questions and concerns- we still have a lot of work to do!
This article was taken from page 6 of NOTO's "The Outfitter" publication, Spring 2005 Issue