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JUNE 21, 2005 

Fire hazard continues to climb

The forest-fire hazard continues to climb with the hot, dry weather.

Sudbury district's warning, which covers most of the Sturgeon River, and Chiniguchi, jumped to High-Extreme today. The rest of the area has risen to Medium-High hazard.

JUNE 20, 2005 

Makobe-Banks logging to finish this winter

Contentious wilderness logging at the intersection of two parks by forest-industry-giant Domtar is expected to be completed by spring of 2006.

Over the winter the Banks Road was constructed into the area and jack pine logged in block 100 along the boundaries of the two parks at the northern end of the Maple Mountain range.

The road and logging are in a sensitive wilderness between Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Wilderness Park, Makobe Grays Park and Makobe Grays Ice Margin Conservation Reserve. This is close to Maple Mountain that is sacred to the Temagami First Nation, and required construction of a new road that MNR had promised would never be built.

  BACKGROUND & MAP: Logging slated for winter

                                  MNR reneges on road ban, group charges

Like all tertiary logging roads, this one is planned for "abandonment" after logging and forest-regeneration activities, which Domtar hopes to  complete by the summer of 2006.

Domtar, which operates a sawmill in Elk Lake, is one of Canada's largest forest-products companies.

Currently, there is a sign on the road prohibiting any access by unauthorized motorized vehicles (on-road and off-road vehicles, including snowmobiles).

A portable, steel bridge over a creek on the road has been removed until logging proceeds in the winter. It will be permanently removed when tree regeneration activities are completed.

The abandonment plan also includes leaving obstructions (boulders) and planted trees on the road to keep out vehicles. The sign will then be removed.

In this day of ATVs, two recent public reports reveal that road abandonment is a fiction.

  SPECIAL SERIES:  Audit reveals roads don't close

                             Road closures don't work, says report

JUNE 17, 2005 

Freeze on land claim negotiations forestalled

Last night a Temagami First Nation community vote defeated a resolution to postpone settlement negotiations for nine months.

The 53-40 vote, with one abstention (out of 180 eligible voters), could be viewed as a dry run for a ratification vote on the final settlement agreement. For the most part, those that support the settlement opposed the resolution.

"It would be pretty overwhelming to overcome a nine-month recess in negotiations," said Chief Alex Paul who opposed the resolution. "This vote has positive overtones for a ratification vote."

The resolution, put forward by former chief Gary Potts, also called for creation of a "Motherland Council" that would have investigated, during the recess, historical and personal relationships among the families living on the traditional lands, nDaki-Menan (pronounced duh-KEE meh-nun), with a view to healing the community.

  BACKGROUND: Land claim negotiations

JUNE 12, 2005 

Land claim negotiators frustrated and weary

Native and Ontario land-claim negotiators are frustrated and weary, six years into talks that was to end early last year. Today an accurate date could be picked just as easily by throwing darts at a calendar.

Aboriginal negotiator Doug McKenzie blames it on legal questions raised by Ontario and Canada. "The lawyers are not concerned about justice," he said, "but the legal issues of the governments."

"We continue the long, arduous process," reports Ontario's negotiator Doug Carr, "of turning our negotiated understandings into the text of a legally binding contract, that is, the final settlement agreement. I hope we'll be done this year."

The final agreement will need to be ratified by the each of the aboriginal community, Ontario and Canada. This could add another year. 

When discussions are completed this will be Ontario's fourth offer since 1986 to settle title issues for the Temagami First Nation. Discussions in this round began in 1999.

At the core of the agreement will be a 330-square-kilometre (127 square miles) reserve that will take ten years, after ratification, to create. "Some members of the community," says McKenzie, "are having a hard time with that."

  BACKGROUND: Land claim negotiations

JUNE 9, 2005 

Controversial logging roads re-opening

Work crews are busy restoring two logging roads Bob Lake Road and a closed section of the Red Squirrel Road that have been bitterly opposed because they enter a sensitive ecological and aboriginal spiritual area.

Map: Bob Lake and Red Squirrel logging roads, 2005

Completion of the roads will allow Liskeard Lumber Company to begin cutting two blocks of jack pine off the Bob Lake Road in the fall, in an area between the North Arm of Lake Temagami and Obabika Lake.

The roads and logging have been opposed by environmentalists, tourist operators, residents and members of the Temagami First Nation, in battles reaching back to an illegal attempt in 1984, by the Ontario government, to extend the Red Squirrel Road.

In the latest round, environment group Earthroots took the Ontario government to court in 2003 to bar it from granting a timber license and permit for the


road through the Bob Lake Conservation Reserve. The court sided with Ontario.

Vandals destroyed a bridge on the Red Squirrel Road over Eagle Creek in 2002. The bridge was not rebuilt by Liskeard Lumber until September of last year. No charges have been laid.

First People oppose any activity in the area because of its proximity to the sacred Spirit Rock, a place of active meditation, fasting, ceremonies and prayer. 

The area is a thicket of parks and reserves, including the largest remaining stand of old-growth red and white pine in the world. "Protection was compromised to allow logging to cream the area, leaving protected areas so small that their viability is threatened, " said Amber Ellis of Earthroots.

Restoration of the Red Squirrel is a precursor to opening the remainder of the abandoned Red Squirrel Road for logging of a large area west of Diamond Lake.

The opening of the Bob Lake Road will lead to cutting up to the Skyline Reserve (proposed provincial park) of Lake Temagami.

Work crews must be out of the area by June 15, during the peak summer tourist season, but are expected to return after September 16 to finish the road-building and begin logging.

  BACKGROUND: Red Squirrel blockades

                        Court allows road through reserve

                        Missing Red Squirrel bridge halts logging

                        Sacred site threatened 

JUNE 7, 2005 

Park permits offered by local vendors

Backcountry-park overnight-camping permits are now offered by eight local outfitters and retailers, up from seven last year.

Youth camp Northwaters on the Northwest Arm of Lake Temagami joins the list.

Permits can also be purchased at Finlayson Point Provincial Park in the town of Temagami. The fees remain the same as last year.


Temagami (town):

Dad's Outdoor Store

Temagami Outfitting

Finlayson Point Provincial Park

Lake Temagami Sandy Inlet:

Wanapitei CANOE outfitters

Lake Temagami Northwest Arm:

Northwaters Camp (Island 1088)

James Lake (near Red Squirrel Road):

Smoothwater Outfitters

New Liskeard:

Wilderness Dreams outdoor store

Mowat's Landing:

Mowat Landing Cottages (formerly Barr Woods Resort)

Elk Lake/Gowganda:

Long Point Lodge & Airways

Mail and Fax:

Finlayson Point Provincial Park



  Age Regular Ontario seniors Ontario persons with disabilities
  6-17 4.00   2.00
  18 and over 7.50 6.00 3.75

Overnight fee per person per night, April 29 to October 30.

MAP:  Backcountry parks 

JUNE 6, 2005 

Fire hazard lowered

Rain over the weekend brought down the forest-fire hazard from extreme. Fire bans in Sudbury and North Bay remain in place.

Three new forest fires popped up over the weekend in the Sudbury district, bringing the total number of fires this year for northeastern Ontario to 207. That is more fires than during the entire 2004 fire season.

Thirteen fires are burning today across the northeast.

The hazard stems from a lack of rainfall and minimal snow melt in the spring. Though lightning played a role in igniting fires, most were caused by people.

JUNE 3, 2005 

Park wardens ramping up enforcement

The honeymoon is over and the second year of law enforcement in five remote parks will be stricter.

For the first season of operation, three wardens exercised enforcement of overnight permits loosely as the public had received only a few months notice of the new rules governing these parks. "We will not be so lenient this year," said Superintendent John Salo.

Without an overnight permit campers can be fined up to $100 per person per night.

Two seasonal park wardens have been out patrolling the five operating parks for several weeks, maintaining portages and campsites, educating users and enforcing provincial laws.

The parks patrol covers these parks:

  • Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Wilderness

  • Obabika River

  • Solace

  • Sturgeon River

  • Makobe-Grays River

The other two remote parks Temagami River and Chiniguchi River are not operating this year. 

The wardens focus on compliance of Ontario's Parks Act, but can and will enforce any law, such as Liquor Licence Act, Trespass to Property Act, Highway Traffic Act, Criminal Code of Canada, Fisheries Act and Forest Fire Prevention Act. 

They travel the area by truck and canoe and focus on all park users, whether in canoes or motorized vehicles.

Seasonal wardens Jeremy McAndrew and John Burns, in fact, spend most of their time improving the area rather than on enforcement.

They will be adding more thunder boxes (privies) to campsites, starting at Diamond Lake and fanning out from there. 

The men in blue also carry a satellite phone and can call in support for emergencies.


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