Milestones in 

Environmental Preservation

1984-1989

 

Photo: First day of Red Squirrel Road blockade, September 18, 1989.
First day of Red Squirrel Road blockade, September 18, 1989. Bob Rae, the future premier of Ontario, is standing in the centre holding up the green banner. Photo: Earthroots

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1984 Ministry of Natural Resources illegally clears right-of-way on the Red Squirrel Road extension. (November).
  Hap and Trudy Wilson open Smoothwater Wilderness Outfitters, starting with 30 canoes, in the village of Temagami. This is the first major canoe outfitter and tour operator, further accelerating interest in the Temagami backcountry
1985 Makobe-Grays Provincial Park created.

Red Squirrel Road extension brought to public attention when MNR holds public meetings on timber-cutting plans (May). Public outcry follows.

  Liberals under David Peterson elected as minority government with a strong environmental philosophy (May 2). NDP's David Ramsay becomes Timiskaming MPP and opposes Red Squirrel extension.

Environmental assessment on Red Squirrel Road extension requested by Terry Graves and Owen Smith (July). After hard lobbying by them Ontario government agrees (September).

1986 Red Squirrel Road environmental assessment released. Its author charges Ontario government altered the document before release and author has name removed (October).
Temagami Wilderness Society founded.
  Temagami listed on global Threatened Areas Register by Switzerland-based World Conservation Union (IUCN) (November).
1987 Second new logging road (Goulard Road) planned into heart of wilderness.
  Liberals elected with a sweeping majority (73% of seats) and Peterson swings government away from environmental protection (September 10).
1988 Ontario government approves Red Squirrel environmental assessment despite near-record number of requests for public hearings (May 17).
  Obabika River Provincial Park, Solace Provincial Park and Sturgeon River Provincial Park created.
Teme-Augama Nation blockades Red Squirrel Road at Sharp Rock Portage until the fall. No confrontation or arrests (June 1).  Map
  Temagami Wilderness Society sues Ontario government over the environmental assessment (June 24).
Tall Pines Project launched by Temagami Wilderness Society to scientifically determine if   old-growth forest is in Temagami (summer).
  Globally significant old-growth pine ecosystem identified at north end of Obabika Lake, says Tall Pines Project scientist Dr. Peter Quinby (November 12).
1989 Four scientists hold press conference to call for old-growth logging moratorium (March 2).
  Temagami Wilderness Society obtains an injunction against Ontario government halting construction on Red Squirrel Road (March 23).
Teme-Augama blockade Goulard Road for one day without confrontation (March 28).
Supreme Court of Ontario rules that environmental assessment was proper (April 11).
Ontario government recognizes old growth for the first time (April 21).
Toronto benefit concert starring Gordon Lightfoot, Murray McLauchlan, Farley Mowat, and other artists raises $50,000 for Temagami Wilderness Society (April 27).
Goulard Road blockade by environmentalists. 11 arrested (June 5). Map
Appeal Court of Ontario dismisses appeal request on Red Squirrel Road environmental assessment (July 14).
 65 scientists petition the Premier of Ontario for logging moratorium (July 27).
Injunction bid by Ontario government against a blockade of the Red Squirrel is dismissed (September 14).
Temagami Wilderness Society's Red Squirrel Road blockade at Wakimika Lake begins with 16 arrests, including Bob Rae, Leader of the Opposition (and soon-to-be premier) (September 18). Map  Photos  Followup
15 environmentalists arrested in Kingston after an 11-day occupation of Liberal MPP Ken Keyes' office (October 11).
Environmentalist ends 13 days in a tree on the Red Squirrel Road right-of-way (November 7).
  Environmentalists, out of respect for aboriginals who are seeking return of their land and traditional rights, turn leadership of blockade over to the Teme-Augama Anishnabai and donate all equipment. Blockade shifts to Sandy Inlet (November 11).
Minister of Natural Resources Lyn McLeod freezes Goulard logging rights in Obabika North (November 21).
End of Red Squirrel blockade by environmentalists and natives after 84 days and 344 arrests (December 10).  Map

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