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OCTOBER 29, 2010

Ottertooth search upgraded

With Ottertooth topping 2,500 pages precisely? 2,624 it is a constant struggle to add meaningful links, summary pages and indices so info is easier to find. A big step to helping out is the addition of a new search engine that will provide up-to-date, complete and accurate results.

We had used Google, but surprisingly, it updated slowly and was never comprehensive.

Search boxes are found at the top of the home page and the Temagami home page. There are also links at the bottom of every page.

OCTOBER 26, 2010

Hodgson elected mayor

Yesterday's municipal election in Temagami swapped the old mayor for the old bureaucrat. Council got a face wash.

Voters clearly liked old (well, not old, former) bureaucrats: John Hodgson the former township clerk, and John Kenrick a former senior exec at the MNR.

Deb Charyna became the first Temagami First Nation member to hold elected office.

  John Hodgson 411 X
  Biff Lowery 365  
  George Leger 207  
  Ike Laba (I) 188  
  Lorie Hunter (I) 522 X
  John Kenrick 509 X
  Paul Middleton 497 X
  Sam Barnes 468 X
  Debby Burrows 456 X
  Deborah Charyna 413 X
  Rick Lockhart 409  
  Margaret Youngs 408  
  Barry Graham (I) 401  
  Les Wilcox 309  
  Scott Anderson 217  
         I = incumbent    


Photo: South Lady Evelyn River logging bridge in 2007

October 16, 2010 This bridge, on the Liskeard Lumber Road within Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Wilderness Park, is now gone. Its existence contradicted MNR's policies for almost three decades. Ontario Parks removed it last month. It was skidded in one piece for seven kilometres and removed by float from the park. The photo was taken in 2007 on the South Lady Evelyn River in the middle of the park. Chris Melanson and dog Daisy meditate on the paradox.  Map


OCTOBER 16, 2010

Wilderness park: renewed access means less access

The Liskeard Lumber Road bisected the wilderness park and linked the Red Squirrel Road to Elk Lake. Since 1983, numerous promises and policy mandates to shut it down were never kept. It became a symbol of MNR's hypocrisy and threw fuel on opposition to the Red Squirrel Road.

In the middle of September, a small crew led by Kevin Pinkerton, superintendent of Temagami's parks, removed the barren steel beams of the bridge over the South Lady Evelyn River. Without fanfare, the road was closed.

Since 1972 the bridge had borne witness to rigs loaded with jack pine and spruce, poachers concealing fish and moose, construction crews heading for the Red Squirrel Road, and soon-to-be-premier Bob Rae in  an OPP paddy wagon after his arrest on the 1989 blockade.

Premiers from David Peterson on got dragged into the controversy. In 1988, his government purchased the road from its builder and operator, Liskeard Lumber, for $1.2 million of taxpayer money so it could close it. Then didn't.

The bridge's removal is only the beginning of the road's final obliteration over the next few years. The remaining abutments on both banks will be rehabilitated. An 11-kilometre strip north of the bridge will be restored to forest. A second bridge over the North Lady Evelyn River will be removed.

Within the last decade road vehicles have been unable to use the road to enter the park from the north after spring floods on the North Lady Evelyn River tore up culverts. ATVs could still travel its full length.

In August, the forest industry restored the road from Beauty Lake to the northern park boundary, including the addition of a new bridge across the North Lady Evelyn just outside the park. 

The road work opens the way for logging around the northern boundary of the park. During the Temagami Land Use Plan creation in the 1990s, the North Lady Evelyn River Conservation Reserve was proposed to protect the headwaters of the Lady Evelyn River, which the road parallels into the park. It would have prevented the logging. The reserve was later dropped from the proposal.

The re-opened road (now known as Gamble Lake Road) gave Ontario Parks access. In September, Parks staff brushed the road within the park to Gamble Lake, opening it to the public for the first time in about a decade. It also opened the road to the Gamble Lake campground and put-in. Parks began construction on a short road to a canoe and small-boat put-in on Chance Lake, south of Gamble.

A new year-round gate was erected at Chalice Creek to prevent traffic from travelling any further south. It replaced a decades-old seasonal gate (closed June 15 to September 15), located farther south.

The gate never really worked. It could be driven around with little drop in speed. As the new gate is at a creek crossing, it will not be as easy to circumvent.

There were also a series of short former logging roads, now ATV trails, just south of the new gate, that are rendered inaccessible. Pinkerton says that Parks intends to keep them that way until the forest reclaims them.

The 1992 forest fire that swept down to Macpherson Lake was started by anglers on the one to McGiffin Lake.

All these changes were mandated in the 2007 Temagami Area Park Management Plan (produced during the Temagami Integrated Plan TIP process).

During the creation of the plan, Friends of Temagami fought to have the road closed at the park boundary.

"I appreciate that MNR is showing an interest in this area of the park," Alex Broadbent of the group said. "It has been overrun by the ATV crowd. It's about time they controlled the illegal access."

With a limited budget in tight fiscal times, Parks, the impoverished little brother of foresty at the MNR, managed to accomplish what couldn't be done in times of fiscal excess or by premiers.

"Eventually the area south of Chalice Creek will be roadless and that will be good for this wilderness park," Pinkerton said.

  MAP:   Gamble Lake access

  RELATED STORIES:   Road re-opens to Gamble Lake

                                 Parks-and-rec plan approved

  EXTERNAL LINK:  Temagami Integrated Plan website

OCTOBER 13, 2010

Election marks firsts in civic diversity

This election marks a couple of firsts in civic diversity for the Municipality of Temagami.

Biff Lowery is the first member of the Lake Temagami community to run for mayor.

Deb Charyna is the first member of the Temagami First Nation to run for office.

John Kenrick is the first person from Marten River to run (Councillor Sam Barnes, also from Marten River, was appointed to fill a vacancy).

OCTOBER 11, 2010

Fall colours: photos by Harold Keevil

  PHOTO GALLERY:   October 5

OCTOBER 11, 2010

Fall colours: satellite image

  SATELLITE IMAGE:   October 4

OCTOBER 5, 2010

Light thrown candidates' positions

A questionnaire circulated among the candidates in Temagami's municipal election cuts through the haze on their positions.

Hot issues are property taxes, municipal financial crisis, condition of the Lake Temagami Access Road and landing, and development in Lake Temagami's Skyline Reserve.

The responses, solicited by Gaye Smith of the Temagami Stewardship Council, are posted on the council's website. Click on "TSC News."

Photo: fall colour changes on Aston River, Lake Temagami, 2010

OCTOBER 2, 2010 Colour changes high and low. Keevil took this September 29 on the Aston River off Whitefish Bay on Lake TemagamI. See also October's Photo of the Month.

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