Controversial road quietly re-opened

December 8, 2001

Map: locator for Red Squirrel Road

Close-up map

Red Squirrel Road, abandoned west of Sharp Rock Portage, has been quietly re-opened over the past month. MNR wants to permit logging next year west of Sharp Rock Inlet, so it allowed a Liskeard Lumber work crew to re-open the overgrown section west to Bob Lake. Final approval and cutting permits have not been issued for logging.

Over 340 people were arrested blockading the logging road construction in 1989. The road was opposed by environmentalists, the First Nation, local residents and the tourism industry because it would link up with roads from the north and south. These would have opened the way to carve up the wilderness, threaten Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Park and allow logging of ancient stands of old-growth red and white pine. 

The road had been illegally cleared by MNR in fall 1984. As a result a full environmental assessment was undertaken, but the outside consultant quit in 1986 after the Ontario government altered the report before its release.

Liskeard Lumber of New Liskeard does not have a mill. All of its timber is exported out of Temagami and sold to other companies.

"The Ministry of Natural Resources believes Ontarians have forgotten Temagami and the battle in the woods," said Richard Brooks of environment group Earthroots. "I can assure you they haven't."

Photo: Bob Rae (left centre) at 1989 Wakimika blockade, the day of his arrest.



Bob Rae (left centre) at 1989 Wakimika blockade, the day of his arrest. Rae became premier of Ontario a year later.

  MAP: Blockades 1988-89


   Temagami Wilderness Society blockade

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