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JUNE 18, 2004

Logging environmental assessment denied,

cutting to start

Ontario's Minister of Environment denied the "bump-up" request for an environmental assessment of logging in Temagami.

In keeping with Ontario's track record on assessments of logging, the decision came as no surprise. Environment group Earthroots made the request on February 16.

The denial comes within hours of passage of legislation blocking the Adams mine landfill and appears to have been timed to provide political cover for the Liberals.

Logging is expected to continue after 15 days following the approval of the Annual Work Schedule. Due to summer restrictions there will be no logging beyond the gate on the Red Squirrel Road until fall. The Eagle Lake Road will be quiet as the mills have not requested cutting along it before April, 2005.


JUNE 18, 2004

Birch mill officially opens

Temagami's new birch sawmill will be officially opened today, making it Temagami's largest employer with a payroll of 50. It produces lumber on the site of the former Milne sawmill. Temagami Forest Products hopes to add value and employment in the future by producing complete products such as tongue depressors and popsicle sticks.

JUNE 18, 2004

Adams mine landfill is dead

A bill that prevents lakes from being turned into landfills passed final reading yesterday in the Ontario Legislature. The bill effectively kills the proposed Adams mine landfill near Kirkland Lake.

The Adams Mine Lake Act would also apply to any Sherman mine landfill, an idea that has had some life in the past.

JUNE 17, 2004

Hap's new book reviewed

  BOOK REVIEW:  Hap's Temagami guidebook 

JUNE 15, 2004

Hap's Temagami guidebook in stores

Hap Wilson's updated and expanded guidebook to Temagami has arrived in many book stores. Hiking trails and kayak routes and Lake Timiskaming and the Wanapitei River have been added.

The first autographing will be held at Chat Noir Books in New Liskeard on June 25 at 6:30 p.m. Hap will also be giving a slide show and will be available to chat about route selection.

More Info: Chat Noir Books

JUNE 14, 2004

Fire continues to burn

The fire at Spirit Rock (see June 12 story below) continues to burn, but is under control, reports MNR fire management in North Bay.

Due to the rocky nature of the site, and the fact that the three-hectare fire known as North Bay 7   had gone subterranean, it is been difficult to extinguish. "The fire should be called out tomorrow," says Tim Dempsey from the North Bay briefing room.

This fire, and two others on the Northwest Arm of Lake Temagami that were successfully extinguished, were discovered during a routine detection flight by an MNR aircraft.

All fires were caused by recreationists. This is a remainder to always use caution with your fires.

JUNE 12, 2004

Fire at Spirit Rock

A fire broke out yesterday on the rocky slope below the sacred Spirit Rock, north of Obabika Lake. MNR fire crews responded late in the day.

A high school group from Deep River had been on Chee-skon-abikong Lake earlier in the day and conducted some form of solo exercises. A student lit a campfire.

A helicopter brought in two three-person crews and an Otter water bomber made several drops. The fire is particularly stubborn because it had moved under the boulders of the slope. The slope is composed of Volkswagan Beetle-sized boulders with large, inaccessible airspaces between. The crews kept watch overnight.

A number of red and white pines along the shore were felled to allow helicopter access.

The lake is a sacred site to the local Temagami First Nation. It is also within the Obabika River Provincial Park and the site of the world's largest stand of old-growth red and white pine.

Alex Mathias, a nearby resident, paddled 100 feet from shore while the fire was subterranean and largely invisible. "You could feel the heat," he said.

  MAP:  Chee-skon-abikong Lake location 

JUNE 9, 2004

Rangers on patrol in backcountry parks

Two rangers are now patrolling the backcountry parks in Temagami. They are checking for overnight-camping permits (new this year) and are maintaining portages and campsites.

While on patrol, they will be re-surveying and evaluating the park campsites as part of a long-term project to determine which will need to be closed or rehabilitated. Some will be closed temporarily and others permanently, particularly those on shallow-soil sites.

New campsites will no longer be permitted without park approval. Campers that are not on designated or established sites risk fines. Designated campsites are those found on the Temagami Canoe Routes Planning Map published by Ontario Parks. The campsite survey will lead to a revision of the map with campsite deletion or addition some established sites are not on the map.

The rangers are veterans with Ontario Parks. Jeremy McAndrew worked in the backcountry at Quetico and Lake Superior provincial parks. Andrew Loss worked at Finlayson in Temagami.

They shouldn't be seen as just enforcers. They carry satellite phones and can call in emergency assistance.

Parks staff welcomes volunteer efforts to improve the parks but efforts need to be coordinated. "We ask people to check with us before they do anything," said park superintendent John Salo.

In the case of privies, volunteers have been setting them up throughout the area for years. By working with park staff, they can ensure the privies are installed properly and Parks can learn their locations so they can be maintained. 

"We are looking forward to meeting people and for the blackflies to die off soon," said Salo. 

  MAP:  Remote parks patrolled

  BACKGROUND:  New park fees 

JUNE 8, 2004

A summer without logging?

Logging remains suspended while the Ontario Ministry of Environment makes a decision on whether to require an environmental assessment.

Cutting was to commence on April 1. It now appears unlikely the ministry will make a decision before July, and it could drag on longer.

The last five-year plan (1999 to 2004) also had a "bump-up" request for an environmental assessment and that decision which denied the request took six months.

If this one also takes six months, there will be no decision before late August, and a moratorium until then.

Once logging is approved, it takes another 15 days for the Ministry of Natural Resources to get the annual approval (Annual Work Schedule) for logging in place.

The largest four mills, cutting in the area known as the Temagami unit (see map), are Grant Forest Products, Domtar, Liskeard Lumber and Goulard Lumber. All the mills log in several units, so none are dependent on Temagami, but the mill that receives the largest portion of its supply from Temagami is Goulard, located in Sturgeon Falls.

Environment group Earthroots requested the "bump-up" on the plan for logging the Temagami management unit from 2004 to 2009. The plan was created by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Earthroots called for the assessment over the failure to control logging roads, cited by the forest auditors, and the lack of a coordinated recreation strategy, all required by the rules governing logging and land use.

A factor in successfully getting an assessment has always been strong public support. There wasn't any in the unsuccessful effort in 1999 and there hasn't yet been any this time either.

It may be silent in the woods for a season, but will it make a difference beyond that?

   MAP: Logging management units

   BACKGROUND: Anxious silence in the woods

JUNE 1, 2004

Car hits moose on Hwy 11

A car hit a moose on Highway 11, killing the driver last night, the North Bay Nugget reported today.

The 11 p.m. accident happened near Wilson Lake, south of Temagami village. A passenger was taken to North Bay General Hospital.

Please drive carefully. Moose are a year-round risk, particularly at night.

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