May 2012

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MAY 31, 2012                                                                                                                UPDATED: JUNE 1


Ontario renews mining lease

Ontario announced by press release it is renewing a mining lease on Wolf Lake that expires today.

Minister of Northern Development and Mines Rick Bartolucci and Minister of Natural Resources Michael Gravelle call this a "balanced approach." They said this does not open the area up to new prospecting and mineral claim staking. But they do not point out that it does perpetuate existing prospecting and staking with the goal of mining.

This threatens the largest remaining old-growth red pine forest in the world.

Local media have been hammering this point for five months. Yesterday the Wahnapitae First Nation came out in support of protection. Wolf Lake lies on its traditional land.

On May 29, Jane Goodall released an appeal to save the forest.

A joint press release between ministers is unusual. It is often used to find cover when one minister, or the premier, is feeling pressure. Which means Gravelle could take some heat for a decision not his. Was he ordered to by the premier?

The 130-hectare, 21-year mining lease lies at the heart of a collection of leases and claims belonging to an outlaw miner. These cover Wolf Lake and the heart of the ancient forest.

In fact, there has been little to no support for the outlawed miner Murdo McLeod, except from the Ontario government.

Mining leases are created under Ontario's Mining Act for mineral production.

"According to public records, very little activity has occurred on this lease for the past 30 years," says the Wolf Lake Coalition. "Not only is this area not in production – it is not remotely close. 

The Sudbury Star earlier this week reported that McLeod had confirmed "the company has not been active in the lease area."

   RELATED STORIES:  Ontario backs off, but no mining ban 

                                Premier invited to canoe Wolf Lake 

        Toronto Star: Ontario breaks pledge

                 Followup Dec 13: Not a done deal

         Sudbury Star: front page story

  BACKGROUND AND MAP:    Wolf Lake Old Growth

  EXTERNAL WEBSITE:   Ministers' press release

                                  Sudbury Star: Claims renewed 


MAY 31, 2012

Fire ban lifted

With rain and a forecast for more, the northeastern Ontario fire ban was lifted at midnight. 

The ban had been in place on Crown land since May 16 and prohibited open fires.

The hazard level remains high.




MAY 29, 2012


Jane Goodall's appeal for Wolf Lake

Provided by the Wolf Lake Coalition


MAY 27, 2012

Map: Smoothwater added to interactive series

Ottertooth adds the Smoothwater area to its interactive map series.

This map, the twenty-third, covers Smoothwater and Sunnywater lakes, and the upper stretches of the South Lady Evelyn River and Scarecrow Creek.

   MAP:  Smoothwater interactive map

MAY 25, 2012

Missing Trask's clothing found

Earlier this week, canoeists on Diamond Lake found two articles of clothing belonging to Daniel Trask, missing since the fall.

OPP conducted a search of eastern Diamond and found a scarf, but not Trask. Read this forum post from his parents.

MAY 24, 2012


Mattagami First Nation evacuation

The Mattagami First Nation, northwest of Temagami, was evacuated yesterday in the face of smoke from a 21,000-hectare wildfire. The smoke extends over Timmins.

Northeastern Ontario remains under a fire ban.

MAY 21, 2012


Fire risk extreme; Kirkland Lake evacuation

Outlying areas of Kirkland Lake have been evacuated in front of a 1500-hectare wildfire.

Fire risk remains extreme across northestern Ontario and the ban on open fires continues.

   RELATED STORIES:  Fires banned across northeast 

MAY 17, 2012

Two TFN members fined for illegal moose

Can an aboriginal person be convicted for illegal-moose possession? After all, they have aboriginal hunting rights.

Yes, if that person takes a moose killed illegallly by a non-aboriginal hunter.

That's what Temagami First Nation elders Alex Mathias and Leo Paul did in October 2009. They transported two moose to a butcher shop for the hunters. 

Conservation officers watch wild game entering butcher shops. They followed this meat to the non-aboriginal hunters who pleaded guilty to illegally shooting them.

Once they had the convictions, and the testimony of the butcher who said he had received the moose from Mathias and Paul, it was easy to charge them with possession and transport of illegally killed moose.

Mathias and Paul argued in their defence that they had the right to hunt in a mixed party of aboriginal and non-aboriginal hunters. This kind of hunt was a tradition, they said. As such, any moose taken belonged to the party and was equally theirs.

Justice of the Peace Michel Moreau heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice, North Bay, on April 25, 2012.

He ruled that aboriginal hunting rights could not be transferred to non-aboriginals. They were fined $1,950 each and prohibited from hunting for two years.

Mathias says he intends to appeal.

MAY 17, 2012

Fires banned across northeastern Ontario

Low precipitation and anticipated high temperatures raised the risk of wildfires, prompting the MNR to ban all open fires, including campfires, across northeastern Ontario.

The ban, or restricted fire zone, applies to northeastern Ontario, the area north of Lake Nipissing and Lake Huron, and east of Wawa. It became effective at midnight. Burning permits are suspended.

The hazard is aggravated by the low snowfall over the winter. Spring prior to green-up is normally a high fire-risk period in the forest.

Fire bans occur periodically, though this is the first for the year. Backcountry travel is not restricted, but campers must use a portable gas stove for cooking and warmth.

Failure to comply with the ban could result in a fine up to $1,000, financial responsibility for fires caused, and a jail term.

Restrictions will remain in effect until further notice.

    EXTERNAL WEBSITE:   MNR's fire information

                               Northeastern Ontario fire-ban map

MAY 16, 2012


Ontario aids outlawed miner

Ontario tampered with mining claims to benefit a miner banned from publicly traded companies in Canada, says a group protecting the Wolf Lake ancient forest.

Murdo McLeod's expired and invalid claims around Wolf Lake were reinstated by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines — often by order of the minister.

The current minister is Rick Bartolucci, MPP for Sudbury. Wolf Lake lies within the boundaries of the City of Greater Sudbury.

The Wolf Lake Coalition released a report today, 10 Reasons to Protect Wolf Lake Forever, that details the ministry's tampering and the background on the mining impact in the sensitive area.

McLeod holds his claims and leases in his one-man Flag Resources that was delisted from Canadian stock exchanges.

Last year, in a ruling upholding a ban on McLeod, the Court of Appeal of Alberta wrote that he "expressed disdain for the regulatory process...[and] used intemperate language to brush off the law's requirements."

"He expressed a determination to reoffend."

On May 31, a 130-hectare mining lease expires. The minister will decide on a 21-year renewal.

“If Ontario does not act now," says David Sone of the Coalition, "they may close the window on protecting Wolf Lake for another two decades."  

   RELATED STORIES:  Ontario backs off, but no mining ban 

                                Premier invited to canoe Wolf Lake 

        Toronto Star: Ontario breaks pledge

                 Followup Dec 13: Not a done deal

         Sudbury Star: front page story

  BACKGROUND AND MAP:    Wolf Lake Old Growth

MAY 14, 2012

Temagami closes on fishing title; go vote

Residents and anglers want your support in hooking the World Fishing Network's title for Ultimate Fishing Town. And they are working hard at it, as the videos below show.

Mike Drenth, a campaign organizer (and host of the videos), says if the town takes home the $25,000 winner's pot it will be used to support local fishing, including the walleye hatchery.

Currently, Temagami is in third place behind Hastings and Port Colborne. You can vote here, until the end of May — and vote often.

  EXTERNAL VIDEOS: Temagami is the fishing town

                              Temagami and walleye stocking 

MAY 10, 2012

Map: road access to north side of park

Here's an update to our map of the Gamble Lake Road on the north side of Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Wilderness Park.

This road is also known as the Liskeard Lumber Road.

  MAP:    Gamble Lake Road

MAY 9, 2012

Premier invited on canoe trip to Wolf Lake

Keewaydin invited the premier on a canoe trip this summer to Wolf Lake, site of a globally significant, and threatened, old-growth forest.

"We know that you enjoy canoe trips, so we are confident that you will appreciate Wolf Lake, one of Ontario's most picturesque and ecologically unique places," wrote Director Bruce Ingersoll in a letter to the premier.

Wolf Lake holds the world's largest remaining old-growth red pine stand, endangered by mining and mineral exploration permitted by the province of Ontario.

Keewaydin Camp on Lake Temagami is the world's oldest canoe-trip camp and has been using Wolf Lake since 1905.

The invitation to Premier Dalton McGuinty extends to his family, which he has taken on at least one previous paddling trip to Temagami.

The trip will be co-hosted by the Wolf Lake Coalition, which is fighting to stop the mining and get the province to keep its 13-year-old commitment to protect the 1,200-hectare stand of ancient pines.

   DOCUMENT:  Letter to premier 

   RELATED STORIES:  Ontario backs off, but no mining ban 

        Toronto Star: Ontario breaks pledge

                Followup Dec 13: Not a done deal

                               Sudbury Star: front page story

  BACKGROUND AND MAP:    Wolf Lake Old Growth



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