December 2011

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DECEMBER 29, 2011

Freeze-up today!

When it came, it came fast. Absolute stillness in the air and a temperature plunge, which never got above –12 C on December 28, that propelled Lake Temagami ice over early the next day. More...

  SATELLITE IMAGES:   December 29

                                   December 28

                               December 23 

DECEMBER 17, 2011

Freeze-up watch: satellite and lakeside at Camp Wabikon

"There is finally something happening," says photographer Penny St. Germain.

  PHOTOS:   Lakeside at Camp Wabikon

                  Satellite image, December 17  

DECEMBER 16, 2011

Minister overwhelmed? Target: premier

The minister of natural resources's fax machine shut down yesterday at a time when Earthroots' online fax mail to the minister had 1,000 faxes backlogged.


Earthroots is now asking the public to send faxes, emails and letters to the premier and their own MPPs.

DECEMBER 16, 2011

Camps will be on Wolf Lake for 100 years, not mine

The youth camps say they will be operating their businesses on Wolf Lake for another 100 years, not like a mine that leaves when the ore is gone.

"This is not a one-time extraction or a one-time financial injection," Bruce Ingersoll of Association of Youth Camps on the Temagami Lakes told CBC's Points North yesterday.

Youth camping is one of the oldest industries in the region, going back to 1902.

  EXTERNAL WEBSITE:   Summary of CBC interview

DECEMBER 15, 2011

Ex-mayor Sturgeon Falls: Wolf Lake protection settled in 90s

For a former mayor of Sturgeon Falls, Ontario's retreat from protection of Wolf Lake is a "bad surprise," according to CBC Radio-Canada.

"It is a project that we believed was closed," Garry O'Connor told Radio-Canada. "These are economic reasons. Some miners have managed to convince the government to re-open access to natural resources."

During the 1980s and 1990s, the former mayor of Sturgeon Falls Garry O'Connor served on an MNR committee for the protection of the Temagami forest.

Earthroots continues call for letters to Gravelle.

  CBC RADIO-CANADA:  O'Connor interview text

                                  O'Connor interview audio 

For background, see the stories below.  


DECEMBER 15, 2011

Camps: business harm from Ontario action at Wolf

Temagami youth camps say their businesses will suffer if Wolf Lake is turned over to industrial use for mining and logging.

“Mining in this area will negatively affect our ability to run canoe trips in the region and destruction of the old growth forests permanently eliminates a landscape vital to our economic health,” said Eoin Wood, president of the Association of Youth Camps on the Temagami Lakes (AYCTL).

The camps contribute over $3.5 million annually in direct spending to the economy, while providing leadership development, healing, and educational experiences to approximately 700 youth.

For 110 years, Wolf Lake has been a tourist and recreational destination, the dominant economic activity.

The camps oppose Ontario backing away from park creation on Wolf and Matagamasi lakes, announced in June. The AYCTL, representing eight camps, sent a letter to the minister of natural resources objecting to the cancellation of the proposed park.

  RELATED DOCUMENT:    Camps' letter to minister (PDF)                           

  EXTERNAL WEBSITE:   Camp's letter to the editor

  MORE MEDIA COVERAGE:  CBC Radio Morning North

                                                   CBC National News - Sudbury's response

                                                   CBC National News - old growth tree cookie

For background, see stories below.


DECEMBER 13, 2011

Toronto Star: Plan not a done deal

A followup story in the Toronto Star has the premier cornered into responding to the crisis at Wolf Lake as the political heat rises.

Minister of Natural Resources Michael Gravelle, on the defensive, says no decision has been made to remove the reserve status from the old growth around Wolf.

CBC News adds a online story with the headline "Old growth reserve may lose protected status." It was also a news piece on CBC Radio Sudbury.

Earthroots continues call for letters to Gravelle.

  EXTERNAL WEBSITE:   Toronto Star story

                                 CBC National News story

  BACKGROUND AND MAP:    Wolf Lake Old Growth

  RELATED STORIES:     Toronto Star: Ontario breaks Temagami pledge

                                  Old growth threatened at Wolf Lake 

                                  Most endangered wilderness 2008                     

                                  Wolf Lake old growth may be logged

                                  Wolf Lake old growth defence launched

                                  Drillers return to Wolf Lake


DECEMBER 12, 2011

Freeze-up watch: small lakes frozen

The small and some medium-sized lakes are frozen. The large lakes are underway.

Ice can be seen on Obabika Inlet and Island Bay of Lake Temagami. Cross, Willow Island and Sucker Gut lakes are largely frozen.

  PHOTOS:   Satellite image, December 10

DECEMBER 12, 2011

Toronto Star: Ontario breaks Temagami pledge

The Toronto Star publishes a front-page story on the threat to Wolf Lake from Ontario's reversal on its commitment to a park for the world's largest old-growth red pine forest.

Earthroots is calling on Michael Gravelle, minister of natural resources, to protect Wolf Lake and is calling on the public to notify him of their opinion.

"We consider," says Dave Sone of Earthroots, "it to be his personal responsibility to intervene in the public interest before the wrong decision is made on the removal of forest reserve status from Wolf Lake."

  EXTERNAL WEBSITE:   Toronto Star story 

                                 Earthroots action page for letters to minister

  RELATED STORY:   Old growth threatened at Wolf Lake

DECEMBER 5, 2011

December kick-off of freeze-up watch: flyover photos

Ron Miller puts his lens on his wings.

  PHOTOS:   Lake Temagami flyover

DECEMBER 2, 2011

Man missing four weeks, help sought with poster

Dan Trask is now missing four weeks since he parked at the end of the Red Squirrel Road, near Sandy Inlet. The OPP has called off the search.

His family would appreciate help in distributing the poster below.

There is an active thread on the forum.

  POSTER:   Missing person: Dan Trask (PDF)

  RELATED STORY:   Search for man missing off Red Squirrel Road


DECEMBER 1, 2011

Environmental commissioner highlights FOT battle

Ontario's environmental commissioner drew a circle around Friends of Temagami's defense of canoe routes against the slash-and-burn strategy of MNR and the forest industry.

Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller (ECO) wrote — note the sarcasm — in his annual report in a section called Up the Creek Without a Paddle:

"People have been paddling canoes along the lakes and rivers of Ontario for hundreds of years – from the Aboriginal people and early European explorers to the recreational canoeists of today. Since canoes are a part of our history, it comes as no surprise that canoe and portage routes cover Ontario’s landscape, connecting the Great Lakes, 250,000 inland lakes and countless rivers and streams."

"In 2010, Ontarians [FOT] filed an application under the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 (EBR) requesting a review of the Ministry of Natural Resources’ policies for addressing canoe portage routes in its management of Crown lands. The applicants assert that MNR is denying the existence of three historic canoe routes (Marjorie Lake, Pinetorch Creek, and Backdoor) in the Temagami Forest and Sudbury Forest Management Units (FMUs), because they are not included in the Natural Resources and Values Information System (NRVIS). NRVIS is a geospatial database used by MNR staff to collect, maintain and analyze land and natural resource data."

"If MNR does not formally recognize the existence of a historic canoe route, it is not deemed a “value” and, therefore, the ministry is not required to protect it from the depredations of logging through the forest management planning process. “Values” are features, benefits or conditions of the forest that are linked to a geographic area, that are of interest from various points of view, and must be considered in forest management planning. Any person or party (e.g., MNR or other government staff, non-government organizations and the public) can identify values information, at any time, but MNR must confirm identified values."

Miller disagreed with MNR's denial of the request:

"Canoe routes and portages in Ontario are important, not only as recreational values, but also as cultural and historical values. It is reasonable to believe that Aboriginal peoples used the same routes and portages that recreational canoe enthusiasts use today. From a geographic perspective, there may only be one logical route between two lakes, regardless of maintenance within the last 50 years. MNR tolerates many disturbances on Crown land, including forestry and mining, and these activities are often at conflict with canoeing activities. While the NRVIS database contains many landscape values and features, it is unreasonable for MNR to deny the existence of traditional canoe routes strictly because they are not in the ministry’s database. In this reporting year, the ECO received two applications for review in which members of the public expressed concern and frustration with MNR’s process for confirming identified values (i.e., canoe routes and cougar habitat) in forest management planning. The ECO believes that MNR should ensure that traditional canoe routes and portages are protected because they are an important part of our cultural legacy."

Ontario's environmental commissioner is a watchdog, though hard-charging, whose power is limited to his annual report to the Legislature, his whispers in politician's ears, and his public voice.

  EXTERNAL LINK:   Annual report 2010/2011 see PDF pg 137                 

  RELATED STORY:   FOT expands logging oversight                     



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