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JULY 30, 2004

Generator fire at Wanapitei

On Wednesday, the gasoline-powered electric generator at Camp Wanapitei caught fire. There were no injuries at the Sandy Inlet site.

Only the building and four ABS canoes stored nearby were destroyed. Camp staff kept the fire from spreading. The building, one of the oldest on the site, was built on the bank of the Red Squirrel River in 1931.

The cause remains unknown. "The building's been slopped with gas and oil for over seventy years," said Bruce Hodgins, president of the camp. "I guess it got tired."

JULY 29, 2004

Fire hazard rises

MNR's fire-hazard status is at High, but the warning in districts west and north was raised to Extreme today.

JULY 29, 2004

Playing with fire

Saturday, June 12 was a sunny, pleasant day in an otherwise wet, cool month. The lake was quiet on the eve of the approaching summer rush of vacationers. Three forest fires ignited in the late afternoon, just 10 kilometres from each other. All were started by high school groups. FULL STORY

Image: Celebrating Changing of the Seasons ceremony

 More info

Obabika Lake access & maps


Alex Mathias

Spirit Rock


JULY 19, 2004

Changing of the Seasons gathering announced

The third annual Nishnabai ceremony to celebrate the changing of the seasons will be held on Obabika Lake, September 17 to 19.

The Changing of the Seasons ceremony has been growing in popularity since launched three years ago by Nishnabai elder Alex Mathias. Mathias is the last of the Temagami First Nation members still living on his family's traditional territory.


The unique, non-commercial, remote event is held on a campground on Obabika in the shadow of the sacred Spirit Rock. It is open to aboriginals and non-aboriginals of all ages. Participants camp in the area for the weekend.

There will be traditional ceremonies, Ojibway stories, dancing, drumming, a traditional feast and hiking in the old-growth forest. The ceremonies emphasize the traditional importance of the forest and will highlight the threat of logging in the area.

Previous participants recalled the inclusiveness of the ceremonies and the closeness that developed among participants.

  2002 GATHERINGS:  Spring

                                         Fall photo spread

  EMAIL:  obabikalake@hotmail.com

JULY 16, 2004

Welcome to the Temagami rain forest

Following a cold, wet June, all bets are still off for July's forecast. Although it has warmed up, the rain hasn't packed it in, yet.

On July 5 and 6, torrential downpours raised the water level on Lake Temagami by four inches. Yesterday and the day before were steady rain days.

But, four sunny warm days snuck in, and Monday was hot. Let me say again, Monday was hot, hitting 30 C. And today is sunny and warm.

All this rain has flooded many portage landings, making them a little trickier to find, and turned many trails into a wade rather than a walk.

Potholes and washouts are a problem on some gravel roads.

But the news isn't all bad. The high water levels mean great canoeing on the Sturgeon and Makobe rivers and the routes in the Misabi range.

Brian Back reporting from Temagami Outfitting, using the high-speed ramp

Photo of spring flooding: Water rising over boathouse walkway in Spawning Bay, Lake Temagami, 2004

Water rising over boathouse walkway in Spawning Bay, Lake Temagami.                                       BRIAN BACK

JULY 9, 2004

Fees becoming the norm

Temagami's major outfitters are charging park overnight-camping fees to their customers, and canoeists are obliging.

"None of our customers have objected," says Francis Boyes of Smoothwater Outfitters.

The outfitters see fees as positive for the future of Temagami canoeing as portages and campsites will be maintained.

Beyond the direct impact of backcountry maintenance, the outfitters also see a less obvious benefit. "Finally we have a hard, economic number to show for our industry," says Leona Krofchak of Temagami Outfitting. "Until now we have been second-class citizens to the other industries." 

JULY 9, 2004

High speed internet comes to Temagami village

Onlink launched DSL service in Temagami village last week, bringing high-speed internet access to anyone within five kilometres of the Temagami train station. The service was launched with the first installation at Temagami Outfitting.

Facilities in the Hub of Lake Temagami and in the far-flung arms of the lake are outside the service area.

  Photo: Temagami's first park wardens, 2004.

JULY 7, 2004

Out on the range

Park rangers Jeremy McAndrew (left) and Andrew Loss shown between trips. They have patrolled in their canoe the upper Lady Evelyn River (between Weedend and Macpherson lakes), Marten River, Obabika River and the Gamble portages (between Gamble and Sunnywater lakes). Campsites and portages along those routes have been cleared and signed.

They have also worked with volunteers from Project C.A.N.O.E. and the Federation of Ontario Naturalists placing privies on Diamond Lake campsites. Diamond Lake has been signed.

They are out on the Sturgeon River today.

  RANGER'S NOTE:  The single 3.9-kilometre portage between Gamble and Sunnywater has been turned into two portages by a busy beaver. A new beaver homestead is about 300 metres from the east end and requires a paddle through flooded forest of about 500 metres.


JULY 2, 2004

Did somebody say another plan?

Did you hear about last Friday's announcement for the MNR's Temagami Integrated Plan? No, it's not a logging plan. No, it's not an official plan. No, it's not a land-use plan. Are you getting a little confused?

The 1997 Temagami Land Use Plan, which governs activities on Crown land, was not the end of planning, but the beginning. It set the stage for more plans for logging, road building, recreation and on and on.

They never happened, of course, except the logging plan. Without plans for other activities, Temagami has been a logging paradise and the logging plan became the de facto land-use plan. In February Earthroots requested an environmental assessment of logging citing the lack of a recreation plan.

Two weeks ago, the environmental assessment was denied in a brief letter of response. Almost seamlessly, the announcement of the announcement of the integrated plan came out. Guess what that plan will cover? Recreation, of course, after seven years of foot dragging.

Are you thinking, so what will this cover that the land-use plan didn't? The land-use plan at heart is a zoning map. It lays out the parks, conservation reserves and logging areas, and shared recreation-tourism-logging areas. But it gives little guidance on the activities within the zones. Logging plans were created, and logging and logging roads ploughed ahead. There was no recreation strategy to try and govern the results of the logging on recreation and tourism, or better yet, keep the two from conflicting, particularly in the grey areas where the activities were intended to co-exist which is most of Temagami.

Last Friday the Minister of Natural Resources announced yet-another-planning-process, the Temagami Integrated Plan, or TIP. It's the recreation plan and more, as it will also include the long-overdue plans for the remote parks and the adjoining conservation reserves.

Plans for protected areas are important. Temagami's oldest park, Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Wilderness Park has been in existence since 1983 and has had no park staff or park maintenance. When it was created it had a logging road down the middle, the Liskeard Lumber Road. Without a plan, that road hasn't been removed. Through this new process a decision could be reached to remove it.

Many other good things could come out of this two-year process. Park plans, for one. Those non-park areas where logging has been permitted pre-eminence could be given better protection. This has the forestry companies a little anxious.

But moving this kind of belaboured, drawn-out process in that kind of direction requires a huge public involvement, one requiring highly organized citizen-group coordination that Temagami hasn't seen since the Temagami Wilderness Society days in the 1980s. I could be cynical and point out that no such leadership exists today. But there is a funny thing about public groundswells. They can't be predicted.

  DOCUMENT:  Plan terms of reference (PDF 400K)

  MAP:  Planning area (PDF 210K)

  BACKGROUND:  Assessment denied

Join the mailing list: tip@mnr.gov.on.ca


JULY 1, 2004

Drive carefully

Sign on Hwy 11, south of Temagami village.

Photo: Moose warning sign on Hwy 11, south of Temagami village.

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