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Ottertooth Forums * Temagami general * Archive through November 28, 2006 * Why is Temagami special to you? < Previous Next >

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Post Number: 71
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Monday, October 17, 2005 - 4:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

“Temagami” as a recreational area is peerless; fishermen, hunters, boaters, cottagers, campers, canoeists and adventurers of all sorts have descended upon this region for over a hundred years. The individuals who make up these “groups” each have a unique perspective of just what the area is and what it may provide. While some of these views, needs and expectations may ultimately be incompatible, I would also suggest that there is a common theme on some level that draws people out and onto the land.

Perhaps you are a cottager who has been coming to the region since you were a child -
Maybe you are a canoeist who heard about Temagami on the Web -
Perhaps you have been coming here in the fall for the annual moose hunt -
Did you go, or do you still go, to one of the canoe camps the area is famous for?
Do you seek solitude and wilderness?
Are you looking for adventure, culture or history?
An annual outing with the boys?
Maybe just get away from “it all” for a few days -
Something else entirely perhaps?

Is “Temagami” just trees, lakes, trails and bush road access to some fragment of remaining wilderness - resources to exploited, or is it something more? Why do you come here and what place does Temagami hold for you?

(Message edited by c_mel on October 17, 2005)
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Post Number: 72
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Monday, October 17, 2005 - 4:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Personally, I have been coming to Temagami for only ten years, although in some ways it feels like a lifetime. Before then the area was just a rumour; some news bits about controversy and wilderness - yet something stuck and I had to know more. I asked questions, bought maps and inevitably found my way to the central Lake Temagami access point. The ensuing canoe trip marked the beginning of an ongoing education - on many levels, and an unexpected relationship with this place - Temagami.

When I think about Temagami, I don’t really think about a specific place. Rather what comes to mind has something to do with the areas that lie geographically in and around the Wanapitei, the Ottawa and the Montreal River systems. I can’t really think about Provincial Parks, Conservation Reserves, Crown Lands, Special Management Areas, etc etc etc… I have trouble seeing the land that way - as a bunch of disconnected pieces or “management units”.

I think about wilderness - intact wilderness, the largest area remaining, this far south in The Province.

I think about history and thousands of years of early travel. I wonder what life must have been like and how hard it had to be and what clues yet remain.

I think about controversy and environmentalism upon the back-drop of stolen or swindled lands and the ongoing Land Claims.

I think about adventure and the Nastawgan. I look at the map produced by Craig Macdonald and I wonder about how it was, and I think about how it is and how it never will be again. Perhaps I am one-hundred years too late.

I remember my own adventures and what it’s like to travel the land with a loose agenda, knowing we have many options and all of them will bring adventure. It is always and adventure getting out on the land. Just getting there in the first place is often an adventure in itself.

Temagami has become both a spell and a curse; a double-edged enchantment. There have been only a few days that I have not thought of Temagami in these past ten years. I walk by my map on the wall and I have to stop - what’s up there? Why did they go that way? Could I make it through there now? What would I find - old blazes, pictographs, an ancient campsite perhaps? Has it all been obliterated by "modern man" or simply grown back to the bush? What's left today and what will be left for tomorrow's adventurers?

I know how it feels to be warmed by the sun and to let the currents pull me along lazily and let gravity have its way. I know how it feels to be warmed by the fire at night with strong drink and good company and to hear the wilderness around us speaking. I know how it tastes to drink clean waters freely and deeply and what it’s like to stroll along ancient footpaths in a relaxed state of euphoria - vibrant, fit and alive.

I know how it feels to be frozen, cold, alone and scared in big water so far from home and to wonder, “What the hell am I doing here?”

I am afraid that we are witnessing the end of something we shall not see here again. The Temagami Experience, if I may call it that, is so much greater than the sum of its parts. Yet these parts are slowly and steadily being pulled away, can the Experience endure?

I am concerned that the demise of the Temagami Experience is symptomatic of the ills brought on by our consumption and greed based society and where this may ultimately lead for the Earth and for humanity.

I am baffled by all this murkiness and controversy - it goes so deep and it seems justice will never be done.

I have a full and busy life: A young family and many commitments to try and keep, I must keep turning the crank and I have other interests and activities that seek to occupy my time. I sometimes think that I would be better served to be done with Temagami - that this is all too big, too complex and too far gone for me. Yet, whenever I allow myself to think this way, and actually take a step in this direction, I turn around only to find myself in deeper than ever. It seems the harder I try to swim away, the deeper I am pulled in.

I feel the lure of Temagami on the first warm breezes of spring when the geese appear and I know the land is waking and the water will soon be open. My blood stirs and I find myself staring at that map and wondering...

I feel it's pull when the bright October moon is in the sky and the smell of fall is on the north wind. I feel I must be moving - I don’t know why...

Temagami, to me, means all of this and more.

She has me.

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Post Number: 66
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, October 17, 2005 - 4:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Good post c_mel.
What I think is this: If all resource extraction was to end in Temagami, the great variety and diversity of recreation groups there would still mean issues for planning. Some would want roads and more access; some would not; some would want motorboats and some non motorized.....that list goes on and on.

This (to me) is one of the reasons Temagami has been so very difficult to "plan".
Motorized vs non Motorized can sum up a range of issues. So can the word "access" and the phrase "right to access". That is not my phrase by the way, as I don;t take that view, but that is such a common veiw point in Temagami with the "motorized crowd". The opposite in general with the "canoeing" crowd.
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Post Number: 73
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Monday, October 17, 2005 - 4:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi Doug.

I agree – it is a planning nightmare!

The only solution I can envision, or rather live with, is centred around the Nastawgan.

I think that there should be formal, legislated recognition and protection of the historic travel routes known collectively as the Nastawgan – summer and winter.

This collection of historic land use should be given Heritage Status as defined in; Timber Management Guidelines for the Protection of Cultural Heritage Resources, MNR 1991
This defines a Heritage Resource as, “any places or things of human activities which allows us to describe their way of life. Heritage resources means everything produced by the people of a given geographical area, the sum of which represents their cultural identity. This means their handicrafts, folklore, rituals, tools and equipment, buildings and furnishings, containers, transportation, communications, art, structures, personal artifacts, historical places and events.”

Based upon the documented routes provided by ethno-geographer Craig Macdonald, the Nastawgan map should be considered a Heritage Resource Value Map as it depicts known sites and high heritage potential areas.

This definition should extend beyond the context of forestry for which it was developed to all other land use activities with subsequent legislation to preserve and restore this network to the extent possible.

This, I feel is the only way the MNR can achieve it’s stated objectives with respect to the environment, recreation and cultural protection and education in light of resource development.

(But this is in the wrong thread now...)
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Post Number: 67
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, October 17, 2005 - 6:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Yes....I tend to generally agree with you.
Getting the cultural people (ministry) on board may not be that easy though. They have their guidelines that they developed for protection and those do not go far enough to acheive what you suggest. The concept as you describe it makes sense to me though....and it has been tossed around for many years too..even in government. More support needed I guess from like minded people..?

It may be the wrong thread but maybe not.....since "why is Temagami special" seems to fit this discussion... and others ?
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Post Number: 41
Registered: 03-2004

Posted on Monday, October 17, 2005 - 10:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Unlike my kids, I never had the privilege of visiting Temagami until a little later in my life. I had to “discover it for myself” as it were. After reading some articles about the fishing, I knew I HAD to visit this place for myself.
I first came to Temagami in 1992 as a “fisherman”! In fact, we flew into Diamond Lake on June 12, the day the fire on McGiffin Lake ignited. All weekend long we saw and heard aircraft flying into the park, and with the wind coming from the northwest, we could even smell the burning pines.
I have returned to Temagami every year since then, sometimes going 3 or 4 times in a single year…..still not often enough though! What initially started out as annual fishing trips evolved into family camping holidays, cottage rentals, houseboat rentals (dare I say it), and of course annual canoe trips. Pretty much done it all in Temagami…ice fishing weekends, fly-in fishing and canoe trips, house boating, hiking, camping and cottaging. What originally brought me to Temagami was the chance to catch monster lake trout, but in reality it is the awesome beauty of this truly incredible area that keeps not only myself, but also my wife and kids yearning to return every summer.
People who know me are familiar with my passion for Temagami, although those that I have not been able to coax into coming up perhaps don’t understand it. My love of the area is obvious around our place……2 rooms sport the Temagami Wilderness Society prints, and Robert Bateman’s Pines of Temagami hangs in the living room. Further evidence would be all the maps, books, brochures, etc. that I tend to collect.
As a local I met at the beach at Finlayson once said to me “when you drink a glass of water from Temagami, it takes a lifetime to get it out of your system”.

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Post Number: 4
Registered: 08-2005
Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - 12:08 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

This thread has struck a chord.

I was 6 mos. old when I first visited my uncle, the head eletrician at Copperfields Mine on Temagami Island, so I can partly blame resource extraction for my Temagami obsession. I learned to swim, fish and paddle a canoe in Lake Temagami. My first canoe trip was into Wasaksina years ago. I even learned to drive on the Mine Road.

Temagami has always meant adventure, looking at maps and planning trips, daydreaming about them, the anticipation building as time grows near. The vacation will fly by, followed by a sense of melancholy that grows stronger as I get older, a feeling that things are changing. The Town and the Lake seem much the same as when I was a kid, but what makes Temagami special is the back country. The fascination behind wondering what’s over that ridge, knowing you can’t drive there and knowing there isn’t likely to be anyone else there when you portage or hike in there. Even if I am not on a canoe trip myself, watching and talking to the campers heading out and coming back is part of the Temagami experience

I am lucky to have been a lot of places, but nowhere else stirs these emotions. It is selfish but I need the respite Temagami provides. I want to share it with my kids. Temagami is worth continuing to fight for. I understand the need for mining and logging and can appreciate right of access, but replacing this wild place with tree farms and ATV trails is destroying something far more valuable than the timber harvested.
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Post Number: 59
Registered: 01-2005

Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - 2:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I can fully say that I got to know, and fell in love with, Temegami due to one of the camps on the lake. Previous to the summer when I was 14, I had only really ever camped in campgrounds all over Ontario south of North Bay, learnt to paddle on Lake Ontario and at the Boyne River, and dreamed about paddling some beautiful northern lake --- but my thoughts never ventured much farther than Algonquin, i.e. beyond any deep geographical understanding.
The winter of 2001, though, I was resolved that I wanted to experience a true "hardcore" canoe trip during the summer; so my mom and I started researching up on a variety of canoe tripping camps all over Canada, which could've involved paddling everywhere from Lake of the Woods to Labrador and Newfoundland. Eventually, I liked the look of Camp Wanapitei... and soon found myself learning a bit about Temegami... but not yet understanding how much I'd grow on it.

Being a "pioneer" aged camped that first, and the following summer, I went on 9-day trips that didn't actually take place in Temegami --- rather, I did the Noire in Quebec and the Spanish NW of Sudbary [Both of these rivers and regions I was awed by, and may return to someday]. I returned a 3rd and 4th year, only these two years I further learnt about the area where Camp Wanapitei is, and always wondered "What lies behind Fergusan ridge, south on Lake Temegami? What is Lady Evelen Like? How far and how long of a trip could I set out on from this point right here?" I constantly had my heart stirred by the view from Sandy Inlet; even coming back from an 11 or 24 day canoe trip, I'd be deeply and immediatly inclined to hop in a canoe there and then, and paddle off.
In those two years, I went on longer trips aiming towards James Bay; I solidified my rivers skills, love of the land, and sense of discovery with canoeing (I find something especially fascinating about river travel, to be honest).

I found myself buying the "Temegami Canoe Routes" planning map after my 4th summer... and the thing about maps and geography lovers is this: a map can be like a book. You can pour over it for hours and hours, put it down, then pick it up and read into an entirely new story (I'm sure some of you can agree with me here). This past summer, I was working down in Toronto for 2 and a half months (working at a canoe camp; great experience, introducing inner city kids to small trips in "tamer" areas of southern Ontario), and would not be venturing off on a longer river trip. I did, however, plan right from March to head up to Temegami no matter what. This, I knew, would be my first available summer to venture off onto the deep, wide waters of Lake Temegami, paddle alongside the inviting hills, and approach Wanapitei from a new angle -- from the water, not the road. This summer was also what can honestly be said to be my first Temegami canoe trip.
This trip answered my first questions: "what does paddling on Lake Temegami entail"; and it solified my appreciation of summers at Wanapitei by letting my explore the area, and seeing "what lies on the other side of Ferguusan Ridge" as I paddled up Kokoko and then onwards to Wanapitei.

What does Temegami mean to me? It's part of who I am; it's the an area which is central to part of where I grew up and learnt many lessons; it's where I felt most in my element; it's an area that I know well my map, and want to set out an explore.
One of my long-term goals is to set out on an extended solo trip in the area: to find the hidden corners where I can live in solitude for days, to hike up some of the higher hills and ridges of Temegami's uplands, to see Lady Evelen, Florence, and other places of lore to me.

I must also say: a classic song called "The Old Canoe" always brings back images of late nights at the end of summer at Wanapitei; of great music and old friends, of stars and the northern lights; and, of course, it inspires me to go pull out some maps, and set aside a week of my summer for some paddling.
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Post Number: 66
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Friday, October 21, 2005 - 1:51 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

after going up for 23 years and spending most of my life at my family's cottage, it wasn't until i was a teen that i realized the truth...the word "Temagami" has a special sound and meaning to it, and when people (who know it) hear it, it conjures up images of wilderness, seclusion, and in a sense, going back to pioneer days...of course this is all an illusion, a myth. it's this myth that drives people to come to the area, it's this myth that makes people fall in love with the's like Rome..Rome was an idea, a dream, much like Temagami is. however, Temagami has a certain feel, even a certain smell to it..maybe it's this myth that i grew up believing in, but ask me if there's any other place quite like it, and of course, i'll tell you there is not. it is one of a kind
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Post Number: 81
Registered: 03-2004

Posted on Friday, October 21, 2005 - 5:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Oh how I wish I had my digital camera today. The colour is at its peak, not a breath of wind nor cloud in the sky. A truly perfect day! I flew right over the Wakimika old growth, never before have I seen it stand out so clearly, a beautiful patch of green in a sea of gold. I chose to ignore the R.S. road extension. Today Temagami was at its very best, very special indeed.
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Post Number: 221
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Saturday, October 22, 2005 - 1:55 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

four_eyez post struck a responsive chord!

I will not soon forget the day I opened up a book by George Marsh while browsing in a used book store here on Cape Cod for I opened to the page on which was pritnted his song THE OLD CANOE.

At the time my hard core canoeing days were over but I was homesick for The North.

A flood of personal memories would accompany me with the reading of each of George Marsh's classic books.

After I had devoued all his books, by chance?!, I opened up a book by James Oliver Curwood called GOD'S COUNTRY AND THE WOMAN [ by chance?! I was newly married ]. On the page I opened up to I was stunned to read how the main character was singing " The Old Canoe " as he paddled along!!

After Curwood there have been scores of other great reads...all of which have a safe place in my library for the day my good buddy, canoebear, hibernates in front of our fire.

All the books could never cure my homesickness.

Especially when, while working, one of my favorite camp songs would uncontrolably surface - THE TRIP IN - a song describing the trip to Timagami Keewaydin in the old days.

I was not around in those ' old days ' and Timagami was a place of dreams...until I finally made the trip bush plane...with my wife some years ago.

It has been said, " it is not the amount of time one necessarily spend but the quality of the contact that is imporatant. "



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Post Number: 112
Registered: 03-2004

Posted on Sunday, October 23, 2005 - 12:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

This is from the CPAWS website - Ottawa Chapter.

Great Canadian artist, author, and award-winning film maker Bill Mason didn't enjoy writing letters either. His daughter Becky explains why he did it anyway:

" I asked Dad once why he wrote so many letters asking government officials to reconsider their stance on various environmental platforms. I figured it was odd for Dad to devote half a day of every week to letter writing when he was already so busy making his films and books about preserving our environment. He lifted a letter from his done pile and asked me to read it. As I read I was impressed at how polite and simple it was, I understood the message and also felt the passion he had for our disappearing wilderness. Dad told me that just one personal letter written to the government is important because they realize that if one person has written in,at least a hundred probably meant to write but never got around to it. It was a real eye opener for me that all letters short, long, learned, or just heart felt can accomplish the perceived impossible. " - Becky Mason, CPAWS-OV member and volunteer (November 1998)
It's important to remember that our politicians are our elected representatives, and it's their job to listen to our concerns.
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Post Number: 70
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, October 23, 2005 - 9:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Bill Mason is such a great example!
He accompished so much, in a way that was calm, peaceful, educational, inspirational and enjoyable. He was not one to protest at public meetings or stage roadblocks etc, to make his point. He did not do it that way and I'm pretty sure he had no intention of ever doing it that way. He could simply "show" people what "it" was about ...and most of those that watched......beleived.
Hard guy to replace.

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