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July 28, 2002

Fire ban lifted

The open-fire ban across northern Ontario was lifted midnight Friday. The Ministry of Natural Resources reports that rain has reduced the fire hazard and the number of fires.

If hot, dry weather returns, the ban could be restored. 

Last summer, a 26-day fire ban covered Temagami and northeastern Ontario when the fire-hazard status went to 'extreme.' This time the 10-day ban was entirely precautionary, as the status did not go above 'high,' and covered all of northern Ontario.

  BACKGROUND:  2001 fire ban

July 17, 2002

MNR takes the initiative on fire ban

Even though yesterday's fire-hazard status in many areas of northeastern Ontario was only moderate or high, not extreme, MNR had other reasons for instituting the fire ban.

Federal and provincial fire-management staff are stretched thin with the extreme situation in northwestern Ontario and other provinces. There are already 77 fires burning in Ontario and some crews were loaned to other provinces. Lightning is predicted in the weather forecast. MNR decided it needed to reduce the chances of humans starting additional fires.

July 7, 2002

Bear visiting campsites on Red Squirrel Lake

A bear visited campers three times on Red Squirrel Lake in late June.

Chris Martin and Ted Sykes were camped on the lake on June 21 while fishing, reported Martin. A bear came onto their campsite, but was scared off when they banged pots. Martin, a bear hunter, described the bear as male, 350 to 400 pounds.

The next night an elderly couple, camped on the nearby Red Squirrel Road, had a bear overturn their canoe and claw their car (see Guides' Report, June 25). A bear, likely the same, came once again to visit the fishermen.

Red Squirrel Lake is heavily trafficked by car campers. "I'm not surprised over the bears there," says Gerry Van Leeuwen of Ministry of Natural Resources. 

There is little MNR will do in such situations beyond giving advice on how to avoid bear trouble. "The bears were there first and people have done something to attract them," says Van Leeuwen.

These are the only known bear incidents so far this season.

July 6, 2002

Smoke drifts in from northern Quebec fire

The smell of fire and a light haze on a north wind have been attributed to a forest fire near the Cree community of Nemaska in northern Quebec. The same condition, though more severe, has been noted in weather reports in central Ontario, southern Quebec and New England. 

July 5, 2002

Canoe outfitters see local economy hurt by logging

Temagami's largest outfitters oppose the planned logging between Sharp Rock Inlet and Obabika Lake. They see it as the export of local jobs. 

The outfitters object to logging going to companies from outside the Temagami area, and the subsequent long-term damage to the canoeing and recreation industry that will result. 

"We don't believe that people outside the community should cut there," says Ted Krofchak of Temagami Outfitting. "We don't believe they should put logs on trucks from outside the community, and we don't believe they should take them outside the community for milling."

The outfitters are not against logging and point out that they use and enjoy wood products. But they do object to cutting in the heartland of Temagami where their own businesses will be affected, in turn hurting the Temagami community.

"It's crazy," says Shawn Hodgins of Wanapitei C.A.N.O.E. "It's so short-term. There's an awful lot of potential for canoe routes in that area that aren't well used right now. In the long-run it will have a negative impact on the our industry."

"There is enough forest in the area that they didn't have to cut next to Obabika River Park," says Francis Boyes of Smoothwater Outfitters. "They have only logged about twenty per cent of recent available areas, so there are other stands they could have chosen to cut. They could have avoided the controversy and impact on local business." 

The Ontario government has given permission for logging to commence this fall. 

July 4, 2002

Trails group launches website

Nastawgan Trails has a new website with information on existing local hiking trails. The group has an ambitious goal of expanding and promoting the network of four-season, non-motorized-use trails in the region, including the hiking, backpacking and cross-country-skiing trails. 

Nastawgan Trails (NTI) was founded in 1999 and has been steadily increasing its activities. It organizes hikes and anyone can join as a member. Membership information is available on their site.

  WEBSITE:  Nastawgan Trails Inc. 

July 3, 2002

Friends of Temagami speaker

Francis Boyes, outfitter and Friends of Temagami president, will be speaking July 6 on Temagami issues. This will be the kickoff of a Saturday night speaking series at Smoothwater Outfitters through July and August. Boyes is co-owner of Smoothwater. 

Reservations required. For details email temagami@onlink.net or call Smoothwater at 705-569-3539.

July 2, 2002

Flies chase wildlife onto highways

Blackflies and mosquitoes are driving moose and deer out of the bush and onto the highways, according to a CBC Radio Sudbury report. This has caused a number of auto accidents in northeastern Ontario. Drive carefully, particularly at dawn and dusk.

July 1, 2002

Backcountry Patrol on the water

The Backcountry Patrol will operate on Lake Temagami and several neighbouring lakes to monitor recreational impacts on the area and conduct public education of users. 

The patrol will be on the water July and August, and consist of Ian Huggett, author of 2002 Campsite and Visitor Survey, and volunteers. Ian can be spotted paddling a red ABS canoe with the words "Backcountry Patrol" marked on the bow.

Ian has begun the process of finding consensus among the diverse user groups on Lake Temagami for standards on campsite use, etiquette and recreational activities as they affect the environment and other users. The patrol is being sponsored by Committee for the Preservation of the Temagami Wilderness Experience (CPTWE).

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