About Ottertooth

The Genesis

Wondering about this place, are you? Well, Brian Back is this site's creator. In 1999, he was working on histories of Keewaydin Camp and of the Temagami area, using a predecessor site as a research tool. Materials were posted on that site, which allowed others to critique them.

People started sending information and photos, not just about Temagami, but other areas in the North. Stuff that you couldn't find in books, let alone on the Internet. Ah, the temptation was too great. Brian succumbed and Ottertooth was launched ... a place for North American wilderness canoeists and anyone with a passion for the Canadian North.

The Name

Every one of us has a dream spot, one you just can't shake. Well, here's one: Ottertooth Creek, west of Lake Nipigon.

The Producer - Brian A. Back

Brian was born and raised in North Bay, just south of Temagami in northern Ontario, and spent his childhood summers on Lake Temagami. He started guiding at Camp Wabikon in 1970 and moved to Keewaydin in 1976. He even put in some time at Outward Bound. He is an avid wilderness canoeist and has paddled in northern Quebec and northern Ontario. The U.S. Midwest and the Ozarks too, but that wasn't wilderness, pardner.

In 1985 he became an environmental activist over the threats to Temagami, becoming a director of the Sierra Club of Eastern Canada and the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. He co-founded the Temagami Wilderness Society in 1986 and became its executive director. The Society opposed logging expansion in Temagami and, in the process, the group became the largest single-issue environment group in Canada.

In 1990, he founded Earthroots Coalition and was executive director until his departure in 1992. During his tenure, the group was active in the successful opposition to the James Bay hydro-electric plans for the Great Whale River in Quebec, and in opposing logging plans for old-growth forest in northern Ontario.

Brian is the author of The Keewaydin Way: The story of the world's oldest canoe-trip camp. He received the Society of Camp Directors Writing Award in 2003, which cited both the book and Ottertooth.com.

Today, he lives with his wife and youngest son in Kingston, Ontario, and continues to expand his tripping horizons. To spend more time with his sons, he became a volunteer climbing and ropes-course instructor with the Boy Scouts of America, while living in the United States for 20 years. He has been a board member of Friends of Milwaukee's Rivers and a columnist at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He is working on a history of the Temagami region.

Image: Ottertooth award

Image: Ottertooth award

Image: Ottertooth award


Ottertooth is archived at National Archives of Canada calling it "a rich resource and an excellent example of a quintessential Canadian topic that we want to preserve for posterity."

Photo: Brian A. Back



Journal Sentinel columns



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Maps and information herein are not intended for navigational use, and are not represented to be correct in every respect. 
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