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AUGUST 21, 2004

Portage signs removed on Lady Evelyn River

Park rangers were "frustrated" to find many of the portage markers, posted earlier this summer, were removed on the Lady Evelyn River.

It is a provincial offence, park staff note, to remove the signs and anyone caught doing so could be fined.

Temagami has been popular as a canoe destination, in part because the lack of signs on portages and campsites gave it a more primitive feel.

Although Temagami has been largely free of portage signs for the last 20 years -- and many canoeists want to keep it that way -- this has not always been the case.

Most portages, part of the ancient nastawgan system, were created by the Nishnabai long before the arrival of Europeans. Fire rangers arrived in 1901 and over the following decades and with varying degrees of diligence, erected various styles and sizes of portage markers on many portages. These signs were unobtrusively small and dark in colour. By the 1960s, fire ranging had ended and the signs eventually weathered and fell down.

For a brief period in the 1960s, red triangular signs were erected by government crews clearing trails for recreation. For another brief period in the 1970s, they erected yellow triangles. They were eventually all torn down in protest, taken as souvenirs or used as firewood. The current brightly coloured signs are only 6.75 inches tall, considerably smaller than the 24-inch 1970s-era signs.

"The markers are there to provide some of the users a certain comfort level when they are travelling in the backcountry," said Park Superintendent John Salo. "I appreciate some campers do not want, nor do they need the markers. But these are provincial parks, open to everyone to use and enjoy appropriately. So as an organization we try to accommodate all skill levels."

  BACKGROUND:  Park signs

AUGUST 16, 2004

Park overnight-camping fee vendors

Backcountry-park overnight-camping fees can be purchased at the following locations:

Mail and Fax:

Finlayson Point Provincial Park


Dad's Outdoor & Convenience Store

Finlayson Point Provincial Park

Temagami Outfitting

Sandy Inlet, Lake Temagami:

Wanapitei CANOE outfitters

James Lake (near Red Squirrel Road):

Smoothwater Outfitters

New Liskeard:

Wilderness Dreams outdoor store

Mowat's Landing:

Mowat Landing Cottages (formerly Barr Woods Resort)


Auld Reekie Lodge

AUGUST 13, 2004

Park ranger progress

Park rangers have patrolled, cleared and signed almost all of the backcountry-park canoe routes.

Only the Banks-Trethewey-Makobe area and the upper South Lady Evelyn River, above Florence Lake, have not been patrolled. Patrols include clearing and placing signs on portages, and placing signs on those existing campsites marked on the Temagami Canoe Routes Planning Map, published by Ontario Parks.

If rangers found anyone in violation of park rules, they were not ticketed (called Provincial Offence Notice). This summer they are opting for educating park users about the rules. 

AUGUST 13, 2004

Portelance Road almost impassable to autos

The road to the top of the Sturgeon River is almost impassable to autos and trucks, reports Temagami Parks.

"There are severe washouts in a few creek crossings," says Superintendent John Salo. The Portelance Road, which starts at the Wanapitei River east of Capreol, is still navigable by ATV.

  MAP:  Portelance Road 

AUGUST 12, 2004

Canoe groups counted on Obabika

An average of ten canoe groups a day were counted passing through northern Obabika Lake, August 8 to 10.

Most of the 30 groups were travelling the route between Wakimika and Obabika lakes. Four came into Obabika from Lake Temagami and returned that way. One group went through to Bob Lake. Ten of the 30 visited the old-growth trails.

Alex Mathias, who lives at the mouth of the Obabika River, said there had been a big jump in traffic since the Civic Holiday weekend (July 30 to August 2).

I made this three-day count of groups while camped on Obabika Lake, near the Obabika River.

Brian Back

Map: Proposed Lake Temagami Park, 2004

AUGUST 6, 2004

Lake Temagami park boundary changes

More changes have been made to the proposed Lake Temagami Waterway Park.

Three parcels of mining lands, previously excluded from the park have been added. But this addition has been balanced with the removal of four parcels of potential mining lands in the skyline of Obabika Inlet.

The Shiningwood Bay community site for the Temagami First Nation has been expanded from a small area just north of Shiningwood Bay. It now includes all of the shoreline on the north side of Shiningwood Bay, which been proposed park land.

The proposed park for the skyline of Lake Temagami is part of the land claim settlement with the Temagami First Nation.


Proposed park

Land claim





AUGUST 2, 2004

Backcountry traffic down

There were fewer canoeists in the backcountry this June and July, compared to the same months in previous years. This was based on observations by outfitters, Temagami camps and Nishnabai elder Alex Mathias on Obabika Lake.

"My rule of thumb is when the weather's bad over a prolonged period at the start of the season, then we will see fewer canoeists," said Ted Krofchak of Temagami Outfitting, "and this summer is no different. But the recent good weather has raised bookings for August."

Mathias is one of the best observers because he lives at the north end of Obabika Lake on one of the busiest routes in the area. He noted that there were fewer private canoeists, but the local camp traffic was consistent with previous years.

Image: Changing of the Seasons ceremony

 More info

Obabika Lake access & maps


Alex Mathias

Spirit Rock


AUGUST 1, 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.

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