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APRIL 23, 2006 

Ice out!

Yesterday the ice broke up in the North Arm of Lake Temagami marking the end to the 2006 break-up.

A wind came up over Friday and Saturday from the southeast — a less common direction — and finished nature's work. This is the second earliest break-up since 1985.

However, there is still ice along the shores. "Usually the snow is gone by the time break-up comes," says Glen Toogood.

"It was a weird break-up. There are still cakes of ice floating around. Normally as it goes out it melts and disappears."

Toogood is Ottertooth's official break-up observer. Once Lake Temagami is fully open, as one of the deepest lakes in the area, virtually everything else is already. The North Arm, north of Toogood on Garden Island, is one of the last big areas of the lake to go. Once he declares it open, we call it break-up.

With the melt, Toogood says the lake's water level is coming up pretty fast.

 BACKGROUND:  Break-up dates of the past

APRIL 22, 2006 

A record in memory, Toogood says

People are getting out to the landing today by boat from Bear Island. The North Arm is still closed north of Rabbitnose Island. Jason Pigeau at Keewaydin says that Ferguson Bay, north of him, is not open. This is nearly earliest that I recall seeing it open here — 1987 was close.

— Glen Toogood, Garden Island, Lake Temagami

APRIL 21, 2006 

Ice out early next week, Toogood predicts

We had a southeast wind today that made the ice move. It's well broken up between here and Bear Isand, but not going out yet. Still pretty solid (in a manner of speaking) from Garden Island north. We are expecting rain for the next three days. I might even stick my neck out and say that it'll be all gone by early next week.

— Glen Toogood, Garden Island, Lake Temagami

APRIL 21, 2006 

Temagami Forest Products gone

The town of Temagami's last industrial hope has ended in the receivership of Temagami Forest Products' birch mill.

Ottertooth previously reported on the likelihood of receivership on March 1. At the time of writing a secured creditor, identity unknown, had already begun proceedings to place the business in receivership as it had not been operating since August.

KPMG Inc. of Sudbury has been appointed trustee and put the assets (buildings, land and equipment) up for sale. "We hope all will go in one bundle," said trustee George Medakovic.

If this happens, then another business may try to establish an operation at the site. Otherwise, everything will be sold in pieces, leaving only a memory of Temagami's last sawmill.

  RELATED STORIES:  Proposed mill

                                Progress slow

                                First Nation out of mill

                                Mill gets license

                                Construction starts

                                Mill to open in a month

                                Birch mill officially opens

                                Mill closed for restructuring and new owner

                                Birch mill's future on the line

APRIL 20, 2006 

Break-up progresses

Continuing warm weather is shrinking the ice cover and turning much of it into black ice, the last stage before break-up. Much of Lake Temagami has reached this point.

Except for Lake Nipissing, the lakes south of Temagami are ice free.

This true-colour image replaces the infrared today as it better reflects the actual ice condition. Once the ice becomes uniformly thin the infrared loses resolution.


 GOODERHAM'S PHOTOS:  April 19-20   

APRIL 18, 2006 

Ice swiftly shrinking

The ice is shrinking quickly as the high today hits 20 Celsius.



APRIL 17, 2006 

Ice is going out everywhere today

The ice is going out everywhere in Temagami now.

Today the temperature hit 14 Celsius and the forecast is the same or higher for the rest of the week.

Allan Eustis, our imaging authority, says "it's probably only a matter of days before it's out."


APRIL 17, 2006 

Lake Temagami opening

After last week's hot spell, hitting a high of 16 Celcius on Friday, the ice shrunk considerably over the weekend.

Lake Temagami has open water in the Northwest Arm, Ferguson Bay, Northeast Arm and Cross Lake.


APRIL 14, 2006 

Lake Temagami still ice covered

Lake Temagami shows no open water yesterday, but Lake Wanapitei (always one of the first to go) has large open sections in this first good look beneath the clouds in several days.


APRIL 11, 2006 

Rivers ice free

The rivers are open as break-up progresses.


APRIL 10, 2006 

Endangered canoe routes of 2006

By Bob Olajos — Two canoe routes are threatened with destruction by logging this year. Their protection is straightforward and in Ontario's hands.

 FULL STORY:  Most endangered routes of 2006

APRIL 9, 2006 

Some additional water opens around Temagami

Today's satellite photo shows some progress toward break-up in areas around Temagami.


APRIL 7, 2006 

New group takes on canoe route protection

Diminished, neglected and trashed, Temagami's canoe routes have a new organization ready to stand as their guardian.

Nastawgan Network was born out of frustration over the progressive decline of the backcountry. The founders organized last fall's meetings in Toronto and Ottawa with the Ministry of Natural Resources' parks and recreation planners to give a voice to people not represented by special-interest groups.

"Last fall I almost broke my neck on a portage that is now a chewed-up ATV track off Jumping Caribou Creek," says co-founder Chris Melanson. "I am infuriated by the failure of the MNR to protect the portages."

Nastawgan is the aboriginal term for the travel routes, winter and summer, over lakes, rivers and land. Many of these include portages that have been in use for thousand years. Few, if any, of the nastawgan could be said to be fully protected.

The group points to the growing damage from ATVs on portage trails, garbage dumps on campsites, boat caches, logging roads, logging cuts and neglect.

As a first step for comprehensive government protection, the group wants MNR to recognize all the nastawgan, which get little despite their renowned heritage status.

And it has a vision deeper than just preservation. "There's a real opportunity to open up the old canoe routes and take some pressure off the busy ones," says Melanson, who did just that two summers ago between Regan and Solace lakes.

Membership information can be found on the group's website.

 WEBSITE:  Nastawgan Network

 BACKGROUND: Nastawgan



SFL Industry Partners


  Alex Welsh (New Liskeard)
  Domtar (Elk Lake)

Grant Forest Products



Goulard Lumber

   (Sturgeon Falls)


Liskeard Lumber

    (New  Liskeard)

  Tembec (Mattawa)

APRIL 2, 2006 

New logging license elusive

A new logging license for the core of Temagami muddles along in the eighth year of discussion between Ministry of Natural Resources, Municipality of Temagami, Temagami First Nation and the logging companies.

The goal, elusive since 1998, has been to create a 20-year, renewable Sustainable Forestry License (SFL) in what is known as the Temagami Crown Forest Management Unit.

There is renewed vigour, right now, as the 2009 to 2013 timber management plan approaches and an SFL holder would need to conduct the planning so it could assume full management when the plan becomes operational.

  MAP:  Temagami forest units

However, the costs to an SFL of managing the unit are estimated at $400,000 per year, according to Bill Hagborg of Ministry of Natural Resources. There appears to be insufficient timber cut each year to cover this because the annual allowable cut is so small. The SFL would go broke.

To promote industry efficiency MNR is encouraging license mergers around the province, but Temagami has its own set of problems.

"It's one of the highest cost units in Ontario," says Hagborg.

There's the T-word. Temagami stands head and shoulders above all other units for its politics. Entrenched interests — environmentalists, aboriginals, two municipalities, canoeists, hunters, anglers, snowmobilers, cottagers, outfitters, tourist operators — dramatically expand the planning necessary. And that means the cost. No efficiencies can reduce it.

The Timiskaming Forest Alliance, which manages the Timiskaming Forest license to the north, had briefly considered the Temagami SFL in 1998 but backed out over the politically driven economics.

"It needs extensive access roads to get to small blocks of wood," says Allan Foley, general manager of the Alliance, "extensive buffers [around sensitive areas that reduces block size], more intensive planning and longer public consultation."

At 255,000 cubic metres of timber cut annually — that would keep Elk Lake Planing Mill running for 154 days — Temagami is a small unit by provincial standards. The Timiskaming Forest provides 850,000 cubic metres annually.

An alternative to a Temagami SFL would be to merge it into a neighbouring license to allow for some economies of scale. The obvious alternatives are the Nipissing Forest license to the south and Timiskaming Forest to the north, but that prospect has not created much interest.

"There's never been a push from industry," says Foley.

              websites:  Timiskaming Forest Alliance

                                 Nipissing Forest Resource Management

SFL's, or tenure agreements, now cover all Crown lands in Ontario except two forest management units: Cochrane-Moose River near Cochrane, and Temagami. Since the mid-1990s, Ontario has been working to convert to these industry-does-all licenses — planning, self-enforcement, cutting, road building, herbicide spraying, and replanting.

One of the biggest benefits is the unloading of the financial burden and much public control from the taxpayer to industry while giving industry greater security over its timber supply, more control of the forest, and the ability to squeeze greater cost efficiencies.

Critics say these tenures are difficult to revoke once granted, focus more on industrial goals than protection, allow the fox to guard the henhouse, and leave other forest users with fewer rights.

Temagami First Nation and the Municipality of Temagami would be partners with the current logging operators (see sidebar) in the proposed SFL.

Hagborg points out that if there is a concrete proposal for an SFL there will be public consultation and open houses.

Temagami still remains distasteful to the forest industry. “You are always in someone else’s backyard," says Foley.

  website:  MNR Forest Planning and Licensing


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