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Image: gypsy moth caterpillar

Gypsy moth caterpillar

J.A. Davidson/U of Wisconsin-River Falls

SEPTEMBER 28, 2002

Gypsy moth infestation in New Liskeard may bring wood quarantine on Hwy 11

Gypsy moths have infested a section of New Liskeard, north of Temagami, and a wood quarantine may be ordered in October on logs moving along Hwy 11 between North Bay and New Liskeard to prevent their spread.

To slow the insect's spread, which defoliates trees in its caterpillar stage, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) may impose a wood quarantine on the transport of logs outside of the Hwy 11 corridor between North Bay and New Liskeard. 

Industry exemption

There should be no disruption in the forest industry, particularly for the movement of timber from south of New Liskeard to mills in Elk Lake and Englehart, outside of the quarantine area. A procedure is in place for exemption from the quarantine through self-inspection by the industry. 

Mills must obtain a permit and provide a strategy for self-inspection of their vehicles and loads. Ken Marchant of the CFIA says this "could take days to weeks, depending on how fast the local mill staff move." Most mills should already be aware and have taken some preliminary steps.

Damage to the forest

As with any outbreak of a defoliating insect, there is concern for the health of the forest. The defoliation between spring to mid-July does not kill the trees, but slows growth and stresses them, leaving them more vulnerable to drought, disease and further defoliation. 

The North American gypsy moth is a variant of the European gypsy moth that was accidentally introduced in Boston in 1869. It has been spreading north and west since. The moth is a similar defoliating insect to the tent caterpillar, which is a native of North America. The gypsy moth caterpillar eats leaves on hardwoods and is a threat to poplars, maples, oaks and birch in the area. It will eat also pine and spruce in late caterpillar stage. 

Slow the spread

Because it likes to hitch rides, it is called the 'gypsy.' Trailers, campers and boats can carry it, and the public is asked to help in preventing the spread by inspecting their vehicles and equipment. It can be moved in any stage: caterpillar, moth, or egg mass, and in any season. 

Scientists have found that forests fragmented by roads, largely created by logging, are more vulnerable to infestation. 

   WEBSITE:  Gypsy moth identification


SEPTEMBER 27, 2002

Environmental Commissioner slams massive clear-cutting

Ontario's Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller yesterday released his annual report to the Legislature and called MNR's expansion of clear-cut sizes a "massive experiment on public lands."

Last fall the Ministry of Natural Resources formally removed the clear-cut size limit of 260 hectares, making the controversial argument that big clear-cuts emulated the ecological benefit of large-scale forest fires. Concerned about these "grand experiments," Miller warned that "their failure carries significant risks."

Earthroots has been opposing large-scale clear-cutting and, in August, succeeded in getting an investigation by the Ministry of Environment. "The new guidelines have allowed clear-cuts the size of 10,000 hectares, equivalent to 17,000 football fields," said Melissa Tkachyk of Earthroots.

The total of clear-cuts above the previous size limit in the current Temagami Forest Management Plan is 5,141 hectares - an area larger than 8,500 football fields. This figure does not include areas of Temagami that are covered by the Elk Lake (north of Lady Evelyn Lake) and Sudbury (west of Obabika River) forest management plans. 


Illegal clear-cutting in Temagami  

MNR under investigation for illegal clear-cutting

Public opposes bigger clear-cuts: poll

Scientists oppose Ontario's clear-cutting plan

   BACKGROUND:  Logging in Temagami

     WEBSITE: Environmental Commissioner's Annual Report '01-'02

SEPTEMBER 25, 2002

Nastawgan Trails gets charitable status

Temagami's hiking and backpacking trail organization, Nastawgan Trails (NTI), has received charitable status and can now issue Canadian tax receipts for donations. The annual general meeting will be held at Temagami Shores on November 23.

  WEBSITE:  Nastawgan Trails

  VIDEO: CITY-TV coverage of logging issue

Photo: red pine needles turning orange, Temagami, fall, 2002

SEPTEMBER 24, 2002

Fall arrives

With conifer needles changing colour and dropping, fall has arrived in Temagami. The poplars, birches and maples haven't started, but aren't far away.

Red pine needles turning orange. The needles are not truly "evergreen." They last between four and five years then fall to the forest floor, leaving a brilliant-orange carpet in autumn.

Photo: Brian Back

Photo: serving moose stew and bannock at the Saturday feast at Changing of the Seasons ceremony, Oababika Lake, 2002

SEPTEMBER 23, 2002

Natives and supporters gather on threatened sacred grounds

This weekend marked the changing of the seasons from summer to fall when Temagami aboriginals traditionally celebrated with feasting and spiritual rituals. The traditions of the pipe ceremony, fasting, prayer and sweating were repeated near Spirit Rock to protest the imminent logging on sacred ground. 

Sixty people traveled to the remote area at the north end of Obabika Lake to participate. The group included two Temagami Nishnabai elders as well as supporters from native and non-native communities in the area.

  More photos

Mary Johnston and Mary Bradley serving moose stew and bannock at the Saturday feast.   

Photo: Brian Back   

SEPTEMBER 13, 2002

First Nation out of birch mill

After two years of negotiations, the Temagami First Nation will not be joining a proposed birch mill as a partner. Temagami Forest Products, the mill developer, had offered up to 30 per cent ownership, but discussions ended earlier this year without an agreement.

"There wasn't enough incentive to have us as a partner and it was an unbalanced playing field," said Tracy Paul, forestry development coordinator with the Temagami First Nation. "Even if we are not a 30 per cent partner we accept that, but we still need meaningful benefits."

The mill got an offer from the Ministry of Natural Resources for birch from Crown land that was conditional on a demonstration of “commitment to provide opportunities for local First Nations people,” according to a recent public notice. 

The company planned to fulfill the condition through First Nation ownership or aboriginal employment. The company will continue with the latter plan, according to Ivan Beauchamp of Temagami Forest Products.

"This whole project was a good opportunity to work together for the betterment of both communities and honour the intent of our land-claim negotiations,” said Tracy Paul, forestry liaison with the Temagami First Nation.

“When you dance around with someone for over two years and nothing comes out of it, what does that say?" said Paul. "We now see it going ahead without us. This is not a positive step."

Both parties express a willingness to re-enter discussions.


Birch sawmill's progress slow

The Ontario government is "dragging its heels" on approvals for a proposed birch sawmill for Temagami village, says Ivan Beauchamp of Temagami Forest Products. 

Nine months after receiving a conditional offer for 30,000 cubic metres of birch allocations from local Crown lands, the company still doesn't have a supply agreement for the birch with the government. Without the agreement, the mill has insufficient timber to operate.

He puts the blame on the Ministry of Natural Resources, having seen this before. The Temagami mill's first approval last year came eight months after the other successful bidders were announced for birch in northeastern Ontario. 

"I don't expect to see anything happening before the snow flies," says Beauchamp.

  PREVIOUS STORY: Proposed Temagami sawmill gets timber offer


Earthroots holding gathering near logging

Environmentalists will set up a logging protest camp in the Spirit Rock area. Earthroots is inviting the public to learn about the environmental impact of the logging and explore the area.

Date: September 12-17

   WEBSITE:  Earthroots Wilderness Gathering

   BACKGROUND:  Logging 


Mathias hosting spiritual gathering at Spirit Rock

Alex and Mary Carol Mathias are holding an aboriginal festival at Spirit Rock, where logging is planned for this fall, during the changing of the seasons. Dancing, drumming, traditional ceremonies and "country" food from the land will be part of the event. 

The Mathias family is leading opposition to logging on sacred land of the Temagami First People. Alex Mathias, a Temagami elder, lives on Obabika Lake and is the last Temagami aboriginal living off the reserve on ancestral family land. An open invitation to attend has been made to those who want to support their cause.

Date: September 19-24             Location: Obabika Lake         

   INVITATION:  Changing of the Seasons

   BACKGROUND:  Alex Mathias    Logging


Maple Mountain trail getting an upgrade

Project C.A.N.O.E., a youth canoe program on Lake Temagami, is upgrading the Maple Mountain trail with a grant from Mountain Equipment Co-op. The project is expected to be completed in spring.


Mathias catches Obabika fire

Alex and Carollee Mathias, residents of Obabika Lake, detected smoke hanging in the air near the centre of the lake. Upon investigation they found a smoldering campfire at the Splash campsite on the west shore of Obabika Lake on August 27.

They called MNR, which sent in a fire crew by helicopter. The two-person team extinguished the fire and stayed overnight to confirm it was out. 

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