NOVEMBER 25, 2005
Snowstorm doesn't slow Toronto backcountry meeting
About 130 people fought last night's snowstorm in Toronto to discuss upcoming parks-and-recreation plan, known as Temagami Integrated Plan (TIP).
Discussion focussed on protection of the traditional canoeing territory and ecological integrity of the remote parks.
Presentations were made by the 700-member Wilderness Canoe Association, and environment groups Wildlands League and Earthroots, as well as the planning team from MNR.
Victor Lorentz of Earthroots pointed out that the TIP process is unique in Ontario because, for the first time, a range of jurisdictions will be brought together under one management plan: parks, conservation reserves and Crown land.
"They will be dealt with in a manner more consistent with how they're actually experienced by the public."
"It shifts the normal focus from forest management and resource extraction, which means mitigation of damage, to parks and recreation, which means protection of the wilderness as is. This is a big opportunity for canoeists and other users."
ATV damage to portages, user fees, and unrestricted motorized access received a lot of attention.
Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Gord Miller was seen at the back of the room.
Organizer, and veteran canoeist, Ed MacPherson noted that this was just the beginning of getting traditional use and ecological protection placed at the core of the plan. "We now need to get busy writing letters to the MNR to document our concerns."
ATVs and Canoe Routes (2.4 meg)
Presenter: Erhard Kraus of
Wilderness Canoe Association
NOVEMBER 23, 2005
Parks and recreation meeting held in Ottawa
A parks-and-recreation-plan open house, the first outside of the Temagami region, last night in Ottawa attracted 55 people.
John Salo, Temagami parks superintendent, and Rick Calhoun, MNR district planner, gave a 30-minute presentation that described the background and direction of the upcoming Temagami Integrated Plan (TIP).
A couple of hours of questions and answers followed. Most of the questions focused on park-planning efforts and concerns for Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Park with a focus on ecosystem integrity.
Crown land recreation issues were also covered with an emphasis on the protection and continuity of historic canoe routes, access controls, and conflicting usages.
The meeting was organized by canoeist Ed McPherson and facilitated by Jay Morrison, vice president of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), Ottawa Valley chapter.
Morrison described the event as, "a very constructive exchange between environmentalists and wilderness canoeists with Ontario Parks and Crown Lands planning staff. This was just a short first step in a long process, but we believe that we are on a trail that will lead to creating a better future for Temagami, and everything we love about it."
MNR staff will be in Toronto tomorrow night to deliver a similar information package.
John Salo said, "I have always maintained that we will go anywhere to consult the people of Ontario and to gather input for this process."
This is the beginning of the process that will be followed by the very critical Issues and Opportunities Stage.
— Chris Melanson
NOVEMBER 22, 2005
Hap Wilson's new book 'The Cabin'
Hap Wilson is launching his first non-travel book with the story of his experiences, and that of his family, at his isolated, utopian cabin at Cabin Falls, on the Lady Evelyn River.
The cabin is on the only private property in Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Wilderness Park, and Hap relates its origins and how he came to be the luckiest outdoorsman in the world, its owner.
There will be a public book launch on Wednesday in Hull (see details below).
The book will be available in Canadian bookstores starting this week.
Watch for a review on Ottertooth.
EVENT INFORMATION: Book launch in Hull (PDF)
NOVEMBER 18, 2005
Canoe industry has vision for Temagami
The local canoe industry presented its vision for the Temagami backcountry to the parks and recreation planners of the Temagami Integrated Plan (TIP).
Local outfitters and the Temagami Canoe Company called for the closure of the Liskeard Lumber Road in the wilderness park at Gamble Lake. ATVs should be banned in this park, in accordance with provincial policy.
Within the wilderness park, leases, and cabins with land-use permits should be bought up when they are put up for sale or the leases expire. Only commercial motorboats should be permitted.
In the other parks, private motorboat caches should be ended and ATVs should be banned.
In conservation reserves and on Crown land, boat caches should be restricted and no new ATV trails and roads permitted. ATVs should not be permitted on portages.
The area should be managed between park and Crown land as a seamless unit, and it should be given a name that can be used for tourism marketing. All recreational users would pay fees structured to accommodate families, residents, and commercial operators.
Smoothwater Outfitters and Temagami Outfitting called on backcountry users to participate in the process to help keep Temagami wild.
The next two open houses on the plan are in Ottawa and Toronto, November 22 and 24 respectively. (See November 1 story.)
Outfitter will miss Temagami
Ted Krofchak spent eight years building Temagami Outfitting into Temagami's most visible canoe outfitter, one of the first buildings seen from the highway into town.
"They were the best summers of my life," he reminisced after its recent sale.
Krofchak was a bush pilot flying in Temagami for Sudbury Aviation in the summer of 1989. He has flown all over the world, but said, "I have never seen a place quite like Temagami. It's like the Rockies without the mountains."
He found himself flying people, reporters and supplies into the Temagami Wilderness Society's Red Squirrel Road blockade camp on Wakimika Lake, and saw firsthand the commitment to protecting the old growth.
But he also saw from the air, too clearly, the loss of forest and wildlife habitat to logging. He made his own commitment to operate something sustainable.
After a stint in the Canadian Forces flying electronic warfare planes and F-18 fighters, he went to work as a pilot for Air Canada.
In 1996, he bought the building now housing Temagami Outfitting, and opened Lady Evelyn Outfitting (in 2001 the name was changed).
When he started there were three major outfitters dividing up most of the local market. Today, Temagami Outfitting and Smoothwater Outfitters dominate.
Holding down two jobs was stressful, leading to the sale. "I need to spend more time with my family," he said. "My parents are getting older and my kids are young."
RELATED STORY: Temagami Outfitting has new owner
NOVEMBER 13, 2005
First snow reveals changing forest
This satellite photo of the first snowfall reveals the changing forest, from coniferous to hardwood, wrought by logging.
SATELLITE PHOTO: Friday, November 11
NOVEMBER 10, 2005
Eagle's view of Ontario's highest spot
Aerial photos of Ishpatina, Ontario's highest elevation, in Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Wilderness Park as winter approaches, taken today by airborne voyageur Andy Stevens.
PHOTOS SERIES: Spectacular Ishpatina - Nov 10
NOVEMBER 10, 2005
Temagami Outfitting has new owner
Temagami Outfitting, one of the area's largest canoe outfitters, has been purchased by Dean Pearson, a former canoe guide.
Pearson purchased the business from its founder, Ted Krofchak, on November 1, after two years of discussion.
Pearson has been paddling the area since 1971, and was one of the first staff at Langskib, the canoe-trip camp in Sharp Rock Inlet, after it was purchased by Dave Knudsen that year.
His four children attended either Northwaters or Langskib, Knudsen's canoe-tripping camps on Lake Temagami.
Pearson runs a farrier business for jumping horses, which counts the U.S. national equestrian team among its clientele.
He has long thought about getting back to Temagami. Several years ago he purchased an island in the Northeast Arm.
The purchase of Temagami Outfitting was the culmination of his real dream to return to work in the area..
The only change he sees making in the operation is increasing the guiding side. His daughter, a former staff at Northwaters, will be the "top guide and outfitter."
"This is an exciting time for my family," said Pearson," to be in a place we believe in and a sport we love."
He looks forward to making new connections and welcomes calls at 484-467-1068.
FOLLOW-UP STORY: Outfitter will miss Temagami
WEBSITE: Temagami Outfitting
NOVEMBER 9, 2005
Fishery group gets first staffer
The Temagami Stewardship Council has its first staffer, Nathan Kirby, provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources.
The group originally thought it was receiving a full-time staffer, but the Minister of Natural Resources gave notice that it will provide one staff split between the Temagami and Lake Nipissing stewardship groups.
"We could use a full-time position just to work in Temagami," said a disappointed Gaye Smith, chairman of the Temagami Stewardship Council.
The municipality has offered office space.
The stewardship group is a research and public education group devoted to the fishery and health of Lake Temagami and Cross Lake. It evolved from successor groups that began in 1995. The council does not operate the fish hatchery located on Temagami Bay, but supports it.
Since 1999, the group has conducted or supported studies of lake trout, walleye, whitefish, herring, invading species, spawning areas, ice-hut abundance and water quality, and worked on changes to fishing regulations.
WEBSITE: Temagami Stewardship Council
NOVEMBER 7, 2005
MNR says dump on portage illegal
A landfill placed on a portage north of Chiniguchi Lake, and reported in the last story, is illegal and the Ministry of Natural Resources is launching an investigation to find the offender.
Any dump on Crown land requires the authorization of the ministry and none was issued, said Stephen DeVos, area supervisor with MNR for the Sudbury district.
Although illegal dumping on Crown land occurs throughout the province, he says the ministry has a "good rate of resolution."
The maximum penalty under the Public Lands Act is $10,000 plus the cost of clean-up.
If the ministry does not find the culprit, who may voluntarily, or by court order, clean up the site, the MNR will do it.
PORTAGE DUMP Photo taken from Adelaide-Sawhorse portage, north of Wolf Lake, on October 23. PHOTO: MIKE MCINTOSH
NOVEMBER 4, 2005
Portage becomes landfill site
The well-used Crown-land portage between Adelaide and Sawhorse lakes has become the site of a private landfill.
The dump was discovered on August 7 by veteran canoeist Mike McIntosh of Sudbury. He reports it was not there in 2003.
Garbage is strewn throughout the surrounding forest. Besides food scraps, the dump contains construction waste, old mattresses, sinks, a propane stove and empty commercial food containers.
He saw bear tracks and came across a group of feeding turkey vultures. "I think the trash is a safety hazard," said McIntosh. "It's a constant attractant for black bears."
Tire tracks lead to the location from a nearby old logging road. There are only two properties along the road within miles.
He is disappointed because he reported it to MNR's Sudbury district office right after his return, but has seen no attempt to identify the source of the trash or undertake a cleanup.
RELATED STORY: MNR says dump on portage illegal
NOVEMBER 1, 2005
Parks and recreation plan meetings set for
Toronto and Ottawa
The planning team for MNR's integrated-recreation-and-parks plan for Temagami have a date with the Ottawa public on November 22 and the Toronto public on November 24.
This process — Temagami Integrated Plan (TIP) — will produce individual park plans for five of Temagami's backcountry parks and eight remote conservation reserves, and a recreation plan for the non-park Crown land, all integrated into one master plan.
The Toronto and Ottawa meetings, and the recent series of public meetings in the Temagami region, provide background about the scope and intent of the process.
Few members of the public appreciate the significance of the plan. Management plans, created for various aspects of Ontario's Crown land, cement public policy in stone for a period of five years or more. And set precedent beyond that.
The entire plan creation process is often technical, requiring large amounts of a citizen's time to comprehend, just to contribute something meaningful. This usually leaves only industry and special-interest groups still present in the final days, as they can pay professionals dedicated to the task.
Many of the plans only hold meetings in the local area, squeezing out wide public participation, often leaving one point of view. Public notices are few. All this contributes to poor understanding, little participation, and public cynicism.
So far, the TIP meetings have been heavily attended by people vocally demanding broad motorized access to the parks, often in contradiction of provincial park policy.
Recognizing these problems, veteran canoeist Ed MacPherson organized this meeting and prepared a citizen's guide for backcountry users, who have been under-represented to date.
Date: November 24
Place: University of Toronto, Bahen Centre, St. George St., Rm. 1170
Time: 7-10:00 p.m.
Date: November 22
Place: Travelodge, 1376 Carling Ave., Rotary Room
Time: 7 p.m.
DOCUMENT: Citizen's guide (PDF) by Ed MacPherson
RELATED STORY: Elk Lake parks meeting turns ugly
WEBSITE: MNR's Temagami Integrated Plan
UPDATED NOV. 11, 2005
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