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February 28, 2002

Letter to Editor: North Bay Nugget  - Feb 23

Re: Nugget story "Earthroots plans return to Temagami" 

I just read Arnie Hakala's article on Earthroots stand on Temagami and want to comment. I am normally on the side of business on these issues, but I find myself siding with the environmentalists here because of the economic damage this logging will do to Temagami's economy. The idea that the logging industry should be permitted to damage the eco-tourism industry in the area is baffling and indicates that the MNR is behind the times in its understanding of what makes Temagami's economy tick. In my view, it is immoral for a government to destroy the economy of one town for the sake of another town.

I sincerely hope The Nugget's reporters do some research into this issue before attempting to publish the right-wing point of view, for things are not as stereotypical as they seem here.

— Bond Keevil  

February 21, 2002

Bear Island removes chief

On Tuesday, Temagami First Nation held a public meeting and 89 members voted to oust Chief Raymond Katt with one opposed. The band is now chiefless. 

February 19, 2002

Bear Island tensions high with chief

Temagami First Nation Chief Raymond Katt was barred from the band office on Monday by six or seven members, according to a North Bay Nugget story yesterday.

On February 5, 77 of 78 members present at a meeting voted to oust the chief. However, the Nugget reported that the constitution requires a majority of the 157 eligible voting members to be present and support such a vote. With 79 non-confidence votes needed, a second vote has been scheduled.

February 18, 2002

Snowmobile trails open

Ice conditions have improved sufficiently to open the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) trails on Lake Temagami. We have an unconfirmed report that the trail between River Valley and Lake Temagami  (via Gull Lake) is open. Caution is still advised and conditions continue to change.

February 16, 2002

Snow bears of Temagami

Photo: snow bears at Temagami Winter Carnival, 2002

Phil Koistinen (that's him in the middle) with his Temagami Winter Carnival buddies in front of Dad's store, downtown Temagami. 

Photo: Don Miller

Logging west of Sharp Rock is like demolishing the Sistine Chapel and leaving the altar.

— Alex Mathias

February 15, 2002

Mathias accuses Ontario of religious persecution over logging near Chee-skon-abikong

Temagami aboriginal Alex Mathias accuses Ontario of religious persecution over its plan to allow logging around a sacred site this year.

"My spiritual beliefs come from the forest for miles around the Spirit Rock," says Mathias. "For the Anishnabai, logging west of Sharp Rock is like demolishing the Sistine Chapel and leaving the altar."

Clear-cutting will come within 650 metres of the Spirit Rock, called Chee-skon-abikong in Ojibway. Mathias is the head of the Misabi family. "They did not ask my permission to build roads on my family land or log it," he says. "If they ask, I will never give permission."

"My people have been coming to the spiritual site for thousands of years," Mathias says. "It is my duty to protect its integrity."

              MAP: Spirit Rock & Misabi land

The Spirit Rock is located at the eastern boundary of the Obabika River Park. Earlier this week, environment group Earthroots denounced the clear-cutting (see Feb 11 story) adjoining the park because it threatened an endangered old-growth ecosystem within the park, and required re-opening the Red Squirrel Road. In 1989, 344 people were arrested blockading construction.

Alex Mathias is the last Temagami aboriginal living off the reserve on ancestral family land. In 1992, he became family head and the following year he moved back to the land. He lives on Obabika Lake, just west of Lake Temagami, four kilometres from the sacred site.

              BACKGROUNDER: Alex Mathias

He traps, fishes and hunts, and tries to gather as much food as he can from the land. He grew up here and he intends to pass it on in better shape than the way he received it. 

February 11, 2002

Wakimika Triangle logging opposed,

environmentalists call for public's help

Earthroots is opposing logging and new road construction in the Wakimika Triangle area. Either activity could begin as early as April 1. Access to the stands west of Sharp Rock require re-opening the west end of Red Squirrel Road. That road has been abandoned for ten years.

             MAP: Logging blocks 30 & 46

Earthroots opposes the logging for the following reasons:

1 Threatens the world's largest remaining stand of old-growth red and white pine
2 New roads will be constructed
3 Precedent-setting road will be constructed through a protected area, Bob Lake Conservation Reserve
4 Destruction of virgin forest
5 Red Squirrel Road will be re-opened
6 Fragmentation of the landscape
7 Loss of natural connectivity between habitats

The timber will be exported to mills outside of Temagami and all bush work will be done by non-Temagami companies.

            INDEPTH: Wakimika Triangle old growth

The ministry says it is leaving a 200-meter reserve next to the old-growth stand. "We really don't know what a safe buffer is in this case," says old-growth scientist Dr. Peter Quinby. "Research has shown that highways can adversely affect fisher and black bear populations for several kilometers away from the highway. Until we have at least a basic understanding of the impacts of clear-cutting on adjacent old-growth ecosystems and their resident species, logging should be halted."

Ministry forester Kevin Rankin says an alternative to the Red Squirrel Road and the road across the reserve is to build a road from the south. "We discussed the option of a road across the Obabika Inlet." The result of these new roads would be the road encirclement of Lake Temagami.

            BACKGROUND: Red Squirrel Road

"A MNR forester's job is to cut," says Richard Brooks of Earthroots. "His only alternative is to find a way to do it under the public's radar, so he dwells on roads, as they are the most visible. You go to his superiors to stop the clear-cutting."

Earthroots is calling on the public to contact MNR's district manager. The group is asking for the public's help in calling for a halt to logging of blocks 30 and 46. "It is important to give two or more reasons for your opposition," says Richard Brooks. "The timing on this is urgent, so comments should be sent in right away."

Dave Payne dave.payne@mnr.gov.on.ca

District Manager                                    705-475-5599

Ministry of Natural Resources

3301 Trout Lake Rd

North Bay, ON  P1A 4L7 

February 8, 2002

Slush on Lake Temagami 

Photo: early snow leaves slush on Lake Temagami, 2002

With early snow after freeze-up, slush remains a problem when travelling off the ice road.  Photo: Peter Healy 

February 7, 2002

Ottertooth wins second award 


February 6, 2002

Migratory birds harmed by logging 

Up to 85,000 bird nests are being destroyed annually in Ontario by logging, says a coalition of nine environment groups.  

“The lack of protection for migratory birds is a national embarrassment,” says Richard Brooks of Earthroots. “The expansion of clear-cutting in Ontario will only lead to further loss of birds in coming years."

An access-to-information request by the coalition to the Canadian Wildlife Service revealed no charges have been laid against logging companies for destroying bird nests.

The coalition, led by Sierra Legal Defence Fund, has asked NAFTA's Commission for Environmental Cooperation to investigate the failure to enforce migratory-bird legislation.

February 5, 2002

Temagami old growth threatened, says scientist 

Logging in the vicinity of old-growth forest is a threat to its survival, says old-growth scientist Dr. Peter Quinby. 

Logging is planned adjoining the ancient stands in the Wakimika Triangle. "Any further damage from logging could be irreversible, Quinby says.

“Research shows that old-growth forests surrounded by uncut wilderness areas regenerate better than small islands of old-growth surrounded by logging roads and clear-cuts.” 

Environment group Earthroots is calling on the Ontario government to create protected areas around the ancient forests.

  M A P:   Planned logging  

Photo: ice road on Lake Temagami, 2002

February 2 (left) — Ice road, looking north toward the Mine Landing (right background).

Photo: Tim Gooderham

February 1 (right) — Loon Lodge, yesterday near Manitou Landing.

Photo: Tim Gooderham

Photo: ice road on Lake Temagami, 2002

February 1, 2002

Dispatch from Temagami Tim 

We have finally had some cold weather, which has produced a barely adequate amount of ice. But it is not a good idea to go where no one has not gone before. 

Yesterday afternoon I went down the Northeast Arm by snowmobile and it was pretty rough. There are frozen pools of slush and old track ruts through the slush that are frozen solid and about a foot deep. One would be very foolish to try to go faster than 30 mph. Most travellers have been freelancing far off the staked "trail." Snow is forecast for tonight and tomorrow. That should smooth things out a bit. Maybe Temagami Trails will be able to bring the small snowmobile-trail groomer up the arm. It is highly unlikely that the large groomer will see the lake this winter — it needs about 16 inches of solid ice and we don't have that yet. 

Nevertheless, John Moskwa of Loon Lodge has been working diligently to produce the normal nice parking area in front of the lodge (above photo). You will note that the cars are not parked very close together. That is prudent!

— Tim Gooderham

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