Nov-Dec 2001

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December 21, 2001

Chickadee heaven

Photo: chickadee over building on Lake Temagami

                                               Photo: Tim Gooderham

Chickadee over the TLA building at the end of the Mine Road on Lake Temagami. 

December 18, 2001

Red Squirrel Road rises from its grave

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 Liskeard Lumber to re-open the overgrown section west to Bob Lake. FULL STORY AND MAPS 

December 14, 2001

Looking for ancestors in Temagami?

The Northeast Ontario Gravemarker website now contains the photos of all headstones in Whispering Pines Cemetery in Temagami village. Shortly, Pioneer Cemetery (past the old town hall) and Bear Island Cemetery will be added. The site will eventually contain photos of all headstones in Nipissing District, and some from Renfrew County and Parry Sound District.  There are 75 cemeteries and 27,000 grave markers posted on the remarkable site, created by the intrepid Murray Pletsch of North Bay.

December 13, 2001

Bear armour frightens bear

A North Bay man finally got to test his bear-proof suit on a grizzly bear in British Columbia, and discovered its true usefulness. "She was just scared to the death by the suit," the CBC reports he said, "there was no way the bear was going to come near." Previous story

December 12, 2001

Lakes freezing over

Diamond and Bob Lakes are frozen over, reports Bob Olajos, Lake Temagami's most northern resident. Lake Temagami remains open. Bob lives year-round at Camp Wanapitei at the north end of Ferguson Bay.

December 11, 2001

Crown land sale proposed in Skyline Reserve

Temagami Marine wants to purchase Crown land along the south shore of Inlet Bay, near Hwy 11, in the Lake Temagami Skyline Reserve. 

To permit the sale, MNR is proposing a change in use of the entire portion of Skyline Reserve on the south side of Inlet Bay, a move that essentially removes the area from the Skyline Reserve. The MNR is seeking public comment. It would be the first major amendment to the Temagami Land Use Plan since its creation in 1997.

MNR is also seeking public comment on the sale of four hectares of Crown land in the reserve next to Temagami Marine's current property. 

This would be the first Crown land sale on the shoreline of Lake Temagami (outside the village and excluding the 66-foot shore reserves on private land) since the Teme-Augama's land caution was lifted in the early 1990s. The caution, filed in defense of their land claim, had frozen Crown land sales since 1973. In retrospect, it turned out to be one of the region's most effective protections against development and environmental degradation.

MNR has not conducted a full-site inventory or an environmental assessment of the south shore. Temagami Marine considered the land south of Strathcona Road, which is away from the lake and outside the Skyline Reserve, too rocky and hilly, according to MNR. 

The marina, the village of Temagami's largest employer, wants the additional land for winter boat storage, and a repair area. No land sales are currently proposed for the remainder of the south shore area. Send comments to

December 10, 2001

Protesters for Obabika Lake boat ramp picket MNR North Bay 

The group seeking a public boat ramp to Obabika Lake continued its campaign by picketing MNR offices in North Bay on Friday afternoon. Total Access Group had planned to charter a bus from Sturgeon Falls, the heart of its support, but only recruited four protesters. CKAT radio in North Bay reported the event on each of its hourly newscasts that afternoon, giving the impression of a much larger event. This group held a protest at River Valley on Nov 24. In September, gates around Obabika were vandalized.

December 7, 2001

Proposed Temagami sawmill gets timber offer

A proposed locally-operated sawmill and re-manufacturing facility has moved a step closer to reality after the Ministry of Natural Resources offered birch from Crown land in the Temagami district. The new mill will not have any cutting rights, but will use timber cut by existing operators.

Birch being cut in the area has been going to mills in Espanola and North Bay, providing little, if any, benefit to the Temagami economy. "They make all the money and we barely survive," says Ivan Beauchamp of Temagami Forest Products Ltd., the mill developer. "It gets cut, and leaves to be chipped or made into paper when we can saw, manufacture, and do it at home." 

The facility will be constructed in two stages, with a $4.1 million, 60,000-cubic-metre birch sawmill planned for 2003, which would employ up to 60 people. Half the timber will come from Temagami district and the rest from outside the area. The mill will be constructed at the former Milne site.

The second stage will be a re-manufacturing facility that will produce furniture parts and laminate panels from the output of the sawmill. "We don't want to be shipping green lumber," said Beauchamp, "but re-manufacture and add value and do it in the north. We can work with less timber and add more to the community."

The economy of the village of Temagami has been devastated by the loss of its non-tourism employers: Sherman iron mine in 1989, Wm. Milne & Sons in 1990, and MNR in 1996. "We are in a downward spiral," says Beauchamp. "Things are slowly dwindling."

The mill must have native involvement as a condition of the MNR allocation. There are plans to provide native jobs and the Temagami First Nation has indicated an interest in up to 30 per cent of the ownership. Currently, Beauchamp and Aurel St. Jean, both of Temagami, are the shareholders.

Environmentalists are pleased and cautious. "We don't want to see an expansion of clear-cuts as a result," says Richard Brooks of Earthroots. "But we are happy to see a value-added operation. If it stays sustainable, it is good for Temagami over the long term, and can be a model for the North."

December 3, 2001

Parks and reserves threatened by mining 

Environment groups have discovered that over half of Ontario's 378 new parks and protected areas are threatened by mining. Three groups, including the Wildlands League, say the Ontario government is failing as a public guardian. Chiniguchi Park, along the Chiniguchi River west of the Sturgeon River, is one of nine areas the groups say are under immediate threat. This park contains extensive old-growth red pine forest. According to a report by the groups, "it contains 76 active mining claims and 26 patents and leases." They have requested a special review by Ontario's Environmental Commissioner.

December 1, 2001

Protesters want wide-open Obabika Lake access 

With signs that said "Obabika Now," a new access group from West Nipissing protested gates and restrictions to public boat landings on Obabika Lake. "We are trying to put pressure on MNR to eliminate gates," said Total Access Group founder Marcel Prieur. "We have a right to go fishing and hunting." 

About 20 people from the West Nipissing area protested at the Temagami River bridge, just north of River Valley on Hwy 805, last Saturday.  

Prieur, the protest organizer, claimed 500 members for his group, but admitted that is the number of free membership cards he handed out to anyone who would take one, including the five on-duty police officers standing near the protest. Prieur was recently elected vice president of the older, larger West Nipissing Natural Resources Access Group, but "quit because they like to deal with Toronto and don't get anything done." 

Currently, the lake is publicly accessible by air, a number of portages, and a trail from the Goulard Road. Obabika Lake had boat-launch access across private property at the south end until about three years ago. At that time, the property owner erected a gate. This gate and the Goulard Road gate, erected by MNR, were destroyed by vandals on September 15. No charges have been laid and the gates were restored. "Gates are nothing but trouble," said Prieur.

November 30, 2001

Hap's winter tours and Xmas catalogue

Hap Wilson has announced his winter-tour schedule and released a catalogue of Xmas items from his own works.

November 29, 2001

Ontario removes another hurdle to logging

Plans to log next to the Wakimika Triangle old-growth stand have progressed another step. Logging had been postponed while the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) created a new guideline for clear-cutting. The guideline, released yesterday, cleared a technical hurdle. Liskeard Lumber plans to log a stand known as Block 30, located between Obabika Lake and Sharp Rock Inlet. The stand abuts the eastern boundary of Obabika River Park. Access will require crossing Bob Lake Conservation Reserve and opening an abandoned portion of the Red Squirrel Road. Blockades of the road by environmentalists and the Teme-Augama in 1989 resulted in 344 arrests. "This is a special area worthy of protection," said Richard Brooks of environment group Earthroots. He urged the public to voice its opposition to Dave Payne, North Bay district manager of MNR at .    

November 26, 2001

Wilderness canoeing symposium Feb.1-2

The 2002 wilderness-canoeing symposium will be dedicated to Arctic canoeing. Twenty-one speakers will address the two-day Toronto conference, sponsored by the Wilderness Canoeing Association.  The speakers and their slides form the backbone, but the breaks and meals buzz with activity. The event is the largest annual gathering of wilderness canoeists, who come from across North America. Most years the symposium sells out its one thousand seats in advance. Symposium info

November 24, 2001

North Bay man builds handy bear armour

An inventor has built a 68-kilogram (150-pound), high-tech, bear-proof suit of armor, according to a story in the Globe and Mail. On Dec. 9, the inventor will bravely don the suit and test it, somewhere in Western Canada, against a Kodiak bear. Troy Hurtubise admits he's "scared," not by penetration by the bear, but by being "crushed." 

November 9, 2001

Hiking trail group holding first AGM

Nastawgan Trails Inc. will be holding its first annual general meeting (AGM) on November 24 at Temagami Shores Inn, in Temagami village. The local group, founded in 1999, has begun a hiking-trail system for Temagami and surrounding region. 
. More info (PDF) file
. Download Adobe Acrobat Reader to read above file
. Contact Norman Hawirko at


Photo: bear damage in cottage on Lake Temagami

   Photo: Peter Healy

November 5, 2001

George, did you remember to lock the door?

A recent black, furry guest at a cabin in Sharp Rock Inlet decided to redecorate. The stove in the photo is on its side on the floor. More photos

November 2, 2001

Public opposes bigger clear-cuts: poll

Ninety-two per cent of Ontarians polled oppose a Ministry of Natural Resources' plan for larger clear-cuts. The poll was conducted by Sudbury-based OraclePoll Research for environment groups Earthroots, Wildlands League, and Federation of Ontario Naturalists. clear-cutting, planned for Temagami, was postponed until the proposed guidelines are approved.

November 1, 2001

Scientists oppose Ontario's clear-cutting plan

Three hundred scientists petitioned the Ontario government to abandon its proposed plan for more and larger clear-cuts. The petition was presented to the Ontario government by environment groups Earthroots, Wildlands League and Federation of Ontario Naturalists. “This guideline rests on a foundation of sand,” said Dr. Roberta Fulthorpe, referring to Ontario's proposal. Dr. Fulthorpe is a professor of environmental science at University of Toronto. clear-cutting is planned for Temagami, including an area between Obabika Lake and Sharp Rock Inlet. 

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