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MARCH 31, 2010

Smaller lakes to south opening


MARCH 25, 2010

Lakes to south and Timiskaming begin to open

This wide image shows some lakes to the south opening. Lake Timiskaming is the one exception in the north.


Photo: Temagami First Nation's new airboat

March 23, 2010 The Temagami First Nation purchased this 11-passenger airboat to end its isolation during break-up and freeze-up.

Chief and Council made the decision to buy the boat because the 200 residents of Bear Island are cut-off from the mainland during periods of unstable ice that can last over two weeks. It will also eliminate the need for high school students to board out during these periods.

It will be not be a taxi, but operate on scheduled and emergency runs between the island and the Mine Landing.

Unlike the flat-bottomed, pug-nosed airboats in the southern US, this 23-footer is far more efficient in open water and on snow-covered ice. It can also operate in mud and dirt.

"Good through thick and thin," says Gary Anderson of 1000 Island Airboats, the manufacturer. The company has customers in seven countries.

The OPP is considering an airboat for the Temagami detachment. 

Truck Recovery at Mine Landing

Photo: truck recovery from under ice of Lake Temagami
Photo: truck recovery from under ice of Lake Temagami
Photo: truck recovery from under ice of Lake Temagami, 2010
Photo: truck recovery from under ice of Lake Temagami, 2010

March 19, 2010 The pickup that sunk on March 17 off the Mine Landing (see story and photo below) was recovered today. The crew is from Bartlett's Towing of North Bay.

There is unconfirmed talk that a snowmobile went through without injuries while travelling off the ice road. The ice is dangerous and the OPP has issued warnings.

Photo: truck breaks through ice of Lake Temagami, 2010

Photo: truck breaks through ice of Lake Temagami, 2010

Photo: truck breaks through ice of Lake Temagami, 2010

MARCH 19, 2010

Winter continues to break its own rules

An angler from out of the area went through the ice (top photo), just off the Mine Landing, in the evening of March 17 while on the ice road to Bear Island. He got out safely before the cab went under and the grille hit the lake bottom.

The next morning George Mathias, a resident of Bear Island, went partway through just off the north end of Temagami Island (bottom two photos).

The Temagami First Nation closed the ice road to vehicles, 13 days earlier than normal. Snowmobiles continue to use the lake.

Many residents had already moved their vehicles to the mainland earlier this week.

Mathias vehicle was pulled free yesterday. Today a crew from Bartlett's Towing of North Bay is working on the other. One of Bartlett's specialties is ice and lake recoveries.

Almost in anticipation of the early spring, the Temagami First Nation's new 11-passenger airboat will arrive this weekend.

MARCH 18, 2010

Glamping comes to Temagami

While your wine is chilling, you lounge on a wild, remote lake listening to the loons. If this sounds like your idea of camping, then glamping glamorous camping is for you.

Misabi Adventure Company will be offering it on Obabika Lake this summer. Glamping is a new form of outdoor travel that began in England. When Cowan heard about it, he realized it was perfect for people who wanted to visit a Group of Seven-type lake but not do the work hard to get there.

The all-inclusive wilderness camping vacations are customized for families, groups and couples. "You show up with your suitcase and we provide all the amenities," says Kim Cowan, the operator of Misabi.

The standard package will mean a stay at a single campsite for a week with day trips to aboriginal spiritual sites, old growth or a sweat lodge, escorted by Alex or Natasha Mathias of the Temagami First Nation. Obabika is their traditional family territory.

"It is all about relaxing in one of the most beautiful places in all of Ontario. If you want a beach, we'll camp on a beach. We put up large tents and do all the cooking."

Prices start at $100 per day per person. Cowan is a backcountry traveller and has been working on the annual Changing of the Seasons Ceremony since it began on Obabika Lake a decade ago.

The website went online two weeks ago and already Misabi has received inquiries from Korea and Japan.

"We are about making our guests stay peaceful and meeting their needs. I have a four-poster bed waiting for someone to request it."

  EXTERNAL WEBSITE:   Misabi Adventure Company  

MARCH 16, 2010

Highs break records

The soaring temperatures have set records and may create turmoil this spring. Almost not a surprise after this unusual winter, starting with the extraordinarily late freeze-up on Lake Temagami.

 March 1 was the last day that the daytime high was below freezing.  Yesterday it hit 15 C.

After a winter of poor snowfall, the heat wave has cleared most of the snow out of the bush and off the lakes. There is little there to bring lake levels back up.

The ice road to Bear Island is still open with two feet of ice. There's no slush, but some black ice.

"We're watching it day to day," says Doug McKenzie of the Temagami First Nation Public Works Department, which maintains the road.

He believes if temperatures do not drop by the weekend, they may have  to close the road. Normally the road is not closed until April 1.

McKenzie cannot put out of his mind the record break-up that oldtimers on the island talk about: April 15, 1946.  

MARCH 11, 2010

Photos: a drive down the Northeast Arm

Yesterday Harold Keevil drove down Lake Temagami's Northeast Arm and took these photos.

He reports that the first gulls of the season have returned and he heard a songbird at the South Tetapaga River.

George Mathias told him the ice at Skull Narrows measured 16 inches in the morning.

  EXTERNAL WEBSITE:   Photos: Northeast Arm

MARCH 11, 2010

Clearcuts: bird's-eye view

Bob Olajos of Friends of Temagami did a flyover of local clearcuts. Here are his photos. Snow makes them stand out.

  EXTERNAL WEBSITE:   Aerial photos of clearcuts

MARCH 2, 2010

McKenzie re-elected as TAA chief

For some, retirement is a time to kickback. Not for John McKenzie.

The former police officer was re-elected as chief of the Teme-Augama Anishnabai (TAA) on February 21. In January, he became the Temagami First Nation's (TFN) second chief.

For the TAA his primary duty is to lead settlement negotiations, begun in 1877, with Ontario on behalf of the group's 1,200 members.

"I want to see this stuff with the province done," said McKenzie. "That's my goal."

He and Chief Roxane Ayotte of the Temagami First Nation sent letters to Ontario requesting renewed negotiations. These were suspended by then-chief Gary Potts in August, 2009.

The TAA was organized in 1975 to represent the entire Temagami tribe, which includes the TFN members and non-status Indians also known as Metis, who lost their status, or their forebears did, under Indian Act rules. Until 1992, the TAA was the sole aboriginal negotiator. Today it is joint with the TFN.

McKenzie was the first officer in the Bear Island Police in 1978. He retired in 2008.


  John McKenzie (I) 47 X  
  Gilbert Katt 21    
  Ursula O'Sullivan Sawyer (I) acclaimed X  
  Steve Laronde 49 X  
  Gladys Farr 44 X  
  John Turner 44 X  
  Marie Paul 40 X  
  Lydia McKenzie 31    

                I = incumbent 



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