January
 

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JANUARY 29, 2008

Truck salvaged from under the ice

George Mathias of Bear Island led a crew that salvaged a three-quarter-ton truck that went through the ice of Lake Temagami on January 11.

See the photo essay of the salvage.

FULL STORY AND PHOTOS:  Salvage

JANUARY 21, 2008

Canoe route maintenance in 2007

Canoe-route maintenance has always been a concern, but now that Ontario Parks is charging hefty camping fees, in part to cover maintenance costs, it is a hot topic.

Parks is not alone doing upkeep portage and stream clearing, campsite cleanup, and thunderbox installation and replacement in the backcountry. A lot, if not more, is done by the sweat of Good Samaritans.

Ontario Parks

Ontario Parks launched in 2004 and MNR (and here we mean the rest of the ministry) re-started this year, a canoe-route maintenance program abandoned by the Ontario government in the late 1980s. In the interval the trails were quietly kept open by a lot of devotees, and they are still at it. Despite the money that Parks and MNR have now brought to the effort, many canoeists see little to show for it.

Ontario Parks had two wardens between May and September in the backcountry parks (excluding Temagami River and Chiniguchi River, which are not currently managed). This is the most active - and expensive crew in operation, but its time is also divided by training, enforcement (laying fines), bureaucratic imperatives, and performing maintenance outside of the parks in September (under contract to MNR's Crown Land Field Services Division). Parks says that the wardens cover every park portage in a season

MAP: Backcountry parks

Questions remain about its effectiveness. Numerous thunderboxes in the parks are bursting and can't be used. Consequently, those campsites revert to a pre-thunderbox, hopscotch field.

Parks' standard for portage maintenance is to clear portages to two metres width, remove impediments to walking and all safety hazards, even trip hazards. Hangers and deadfalls, even if six inches tall, are considered safety hazards. Hmm, no rock blasting? 

The crew clears deadfalls, the primary obstacle on trails, with a chainsaw. A number of canoeists have told me that they have seen the wardens, deep in the backcountry, without a chainsaw, and skipping over deadfalls. No chainsaw, no clearing. Now why take the time and effort, especially when the crew isn't likely to get there again that season, to go into the backcountry without the tool to clear the route? And what's wrong with an axe or Swede saw?

Another interesting observation by canoeists is that the width of many trails, after wardens have gone through, is noticeably less than two metres.

Municipality

The Municipality of Temagami pulled together a last-minute, three-person crew that operated June to August. The town is politically driven by the notion that it should be funded to run the regional canoe-maintenance program proposed in the newly approved Temagami Integrated Plan (TIP). In an attempt to create a track record, it pulled together a demo program after it learned of some available money at MNR. The result was an inexperienced crew that did a disappointing job. Some of the work it scheduled didn't get done, and little of the work it did report as done could be verified by its supervisors, who couldn't agree amongst themselves what was accomplished. The municipality has never been involved in backcountry recreation and it showed.

Good Samaritans

For all the public money tossed around, what's impressive is the private work done by camps, lodges, and individuals. Five local canoe-trip camps did maintenance on-the-fly when they encountered places in need, as their trips have done for decades. Two camps did additional campsite cleanups in specific areas of Lake Temagami, a motorboat lake where campsites are hard hit. Three local conservation groups did work on specific routes. Two lodges and a cottagers' collective jumped in. And four individuals made their own cleanup trips. They don't claim to be creating two-metre-wide corridors, nor are they seeking credit or money.

 

MAINTENANCE 2007  AREA
  Parks
  • All portages and campsites in backcountry parks (except Temagami R and Chinguchi R)
  • Outside of parks:

  • Pinetorch corridor

  • Yorston River

  • Seagram Lake to Pilgrim Creek

  • Iceland to Wasaksina to Jumping Cariboo lakes

  • Jumping Cariboo to Red Cedar lakes

  • Upper Redwater down Marten River to Red Cedar Lake

  • Anima Nipissing to Net lakes

  • Mannajigama and Gilbert lakes

  Municipality of Temagami
  • Hay to Spawning lakes

  • Driftwood to Wasaksina to Cross lakes

  • Olier to Wasaksina lakes

  • Cross Lake to Cross Bay, Lake Temagami

  • Iceland to Rabbit lakes

  • Anima Nipissing to Eagle to Turner to Lynx lakes

  • Kokoko to Jackpine lakes

  • Up to 50 privies installed on lakes: Temagami, Rabbit, Cross, Red Squirrel, Cassels, Wasaksina, Anima Nipissing

  Temagami youth camps: Temagami, Project C.A.N.O.E., Keewaydin, Wabun, Wanapitei
  • For all places visited by trips:

   1. Leave campsite cleaner than found

   2. Clear every portage to walk-with-a-canoe standard

  • Camp Temagami campsite patrol: Lake Temagami's South Arm, Cross Lake

  • Project C.A.N.O.E. campsite patrol: Lake Temagami's Hub, Kokoko Lake

  Bill Buchan
  • Wakimika to Dorothy lakes

  • Nasmith Creek

  • Obabika River above Wawiagama

  • Bob to Small to Diamond lakes

  • Sharp Rock to Virginia Lake

  • Mud to Chee-skon-abikong lakes

  • Sharp Rock-Ramrod portages

  Friends of Temagami

  (Bob Olajos)

  • Violet to Ardahl lakes

  Nastawgan Network

  (Brian Starr)

  • Reuben to Paul to Black lakes

  Friends of Chiniguchi
  • Campsites: Kukagami, Donald, Matagamasi, Wolf, Chiniguchi lakes

  Kukagami Lake cottagers
  • Campsites on northern Kukagami Lake

  Northland Paradise Lodge

  (Doug Adams)

  • Campsites on Rabbit-Cassels lake system
  • Firewood for Snake Lake campsite

 

Sportsman's Lodge

  (George Robbins)

  • Portages and campsites: Kukagami to Donald to Karl lakes

  Tim Bankerd
  • Eagle to Whitewater lakes

  Anonymous 1

  (by choice)

  • Graymud to Makobe to Banks lake
  • Makobe River

  Anonymous 2

  (by choice)

  • Wawiagama River

  • Obabika Falls portage

  • Kelly lakes crossover via Ozhway)

  • Frederick Lake to Stouffer Lake to Sturgeon River

  • Sturgeon River from Stouffer downstream to Pilgrim

  • Lady Evelyn to Goodfish to Angler lakes

  • Sugar to Nichol lakes portage

 

JANUARY 14, 2008

Ice hardens

Freezing temperatures, dropping as low as minus 27 yesterday, since January 11 have hardened lake ice.

JANUARY 11, 2008

January thaw

Above freezing temperatures melted most of the snow on the ice (and in the bush) and thinned ice.

SATELLITE IMAGES:  January 3 and 10

JANUARY 4, 2008

Park fees drop, sort of

MNR is lowering backcountry overnight-camping fees for Ontario's parks by 5 to 10 cents per night. That's not a typo.

Ontario Parks says the reduction reflects the one percent drop in the GST, from 6 to 5 percent, effective January 1.

Adult overnight-camping fee per night:

 Park 2006 2007 2008  
 Temagami backcountry 7.50 8.50 8.40
 Algonquin* 9.00 10.00 9.90  
 Quetico (except south access)* 13.00 14.00 13.85
 Wabakimi* 7.50 8.50 8.40  

 * Residents of Canada

There remains no fee for non-summer campers, motorboaters, ATVers, snowmobilers, day campers and other day use, so the burden of fees will continue to be borne by canoeists.

Chiniguchi Park and Temagami River parks will not have fees this summer.

Camping fees in Temagami backcountry parks began in 2004. This is the first decrease.

  Temagami Fees 2008    
   Age

Regular

Ontario

seniors

Ontario persons with disabilities

 

6-17

    3.95   1.95
 

18 and over

    8.40    6.70 4.20

Backcountry parks with fees:

Lady-Evelyn Smoothwater Wilderness

Obabika River

Sturgeon River

Sturgeon River Addition

Solace

Makobe-Grays

MAP:  Backcountry parks

     BACKGROUND: Backcountry Parks Guide

    WEBSITE: MNR's new parks fees

 

Photo: ice on North Arm of Lake Temagami, 2008
Photo: ice on North Arm of Lake Temagami, 2008
 

JANUARY 2, 2008

Lake Temagami

by Adam Keevil

Top photo: January 1 Looking north up the North Arm with Devil's Mountain in the centre background and Rabbitnose Island in the right midground.

Bottom photo: December 31 Looking southwest with High Rock Island in the left background and the Southwest Arm in the right background.

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