Portelance & Gervais roads report
The west-side access corridor along the Portelance and Gervais road system is quiet, right now. Anyone traveling up that way is not likely to encounter any forestry traffic until the second half of July. And that makes the drive less nerve-wracking and a little safer.
The delay in completion of the Sudbury Forest's management plan halted forestry operations at the end of March, though there is still some hauling of timber cut during the winter, says Doug Maki, a forester at Vermilion Forest Management.
The roads are still open and recreationists and prospectors will be on them. The Fraleck bridge over the Wanapitei River (see the Ishpatina road access map) will be closed by MNR for repairs for much of June. Check with Jessie Leverre of MNR in Sudbury (705-564-7867 or firstname.lastname@example.org) on its status.
The Sturgeon River bridge crossing to be constructed north of Paul Lake may happen this fall as cutting east of the Sturgeon, between Regan and Selkirk lakes, will be in the new forest management plan, headed for approval in July. Gervais Lumber wants to get at that timber this winter.
The bridge, approved in the last plan, will not be open to motorized traffic by the public and will have a gate across it, Maki says. A new road system east of the Sturgeon will cut south immediately past the river off the existing Hamlow Lake Road (aka Portelance Road). The new road will be gated at the existing road as it is not a "traditional" road.
However, traffic will continue east of the Sturgeon by vehicles that ford the shallows in the river just south of the bridge location. Hikers and mountain bikers will be able to use the bridge, including those heading overland to climb Ishpatina.
Compare to photo from July 9, 2008.
APRIL 22, 2010
Waters rushing, but not flooding
By Brian Back
Lakes and rivers should be at flood stage, bursting with snow melt. But they aren't.
Word has travelled out of Lake Temagami that the lake may be down as much as two feet. In part, there was too little snow this winter, but Lake Temagami is also controlled by the Cross Lake Dam and that surely has played a big role.
I spent a week on the west side of Temagami and both the Wanapitei and Sturgeon rivers are flowing fast. They are probably close to the level they were at the end of June, 2008, after extremely heavy rains. All the backcountry lakes I saw were full, water lapping at roots or branches of shoreline trees.
How good or bad the water conditions will be this summer is not yet written in granite.
I did see a great blue heron, many ducks, and ravens, but there were not yet any songbirds. Bob Farr tells me geese have been flying in V-formation over Lake Temagami.
APRIL 1, 2010
Fire bans in North Bay area
This great weather has a downside: fire risk. North Bay and some neighbouring municipalities have reacted with fire bans.
"This is definitely the first time I can recall a fire ban this early in the year," North Bay fire chief Grant Love was quoted in the North Bay Nugget.
Though little known, spring prior to green-up combined with dry leaves is normally a high fire-risk period in the forest. Add to the lack of rain, reduced winter snow, and warm weather and you have a witch's brew.
APRIL 1, 2010
Domtar sells sawmills cutting Temagami timber
Domtar, one of largest forestry companies operating in Temagami, sold its sawmill in Nairn Centre, west of Sudbury, Domtar Lumber in Elk Lake, and a majority stake in Elk Lake Planing Mill.
Domtar, one of Canada's largest forest-products companies, sold these and its other six money-losing sawmills to much smaller Vancouver-based EACOM Timber Corporation.The penny-stock company (ETR-X) listed on the TSX Venture Exchange did $181 million in sales in 2008.
Nairn was idled for part of the winter. It receives some of a portion of its timber from its Temagami limits, mostly west of the Sturgeon River, and from Gervais Lumber, which operates around the upper Sturgeon River area.
Gervais has been allocated timber in the Solace Wildlands and has been clearcutting up to the west side of the Sturgeon River.
Elk Lake saws jack pine and spruce cut by Domtar Lumber and Liskeard Lumber. Their limits within Temagami are mostly in the northern portion.
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