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Ottertooth Forums * Temagami canoe routes & backcountry travel * Archive through August 27, 2019 * Letter to Wynne < Previous Next >

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Post Number: 446
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 1:37 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Dear Premier Wynne,

We are writing to express our concerns regarding the MNRF’s plans for logging in the Temagami area for the 10-year period from 2019-2029 as outlined in the Ministry’s Long Term Management Direction (LTMD).

The Temagami Region’s rapidly evolving status as Ontario’s, and arguably the world’s, signature wilderness and canoe-tripping destination is, or should be, well known. Its combination of accessibility, extensiveness, natural beauty, ecological importance and cultural significance make it uniquely deserving of conservation.

While much has been done over the past several decades to promote and enhance the protection of this unique area- the creation of parks, crown reserves, protected zones and so on- I am concerned that the region’s inestimable and ever-increasing value as an ecological, cultural and recreational resource is still, at this late date, being jeopardized by short-sighted and frankly outdated resource management policies.

The destructive exploitation of a low-value resource is being prioritized over a forward-thinking policy for resource management in the region, thereby frankly endangering the future of the above-noted, much higher-value resources.

We will try to be as succinct as possible:

WHY is Ontario STILL not comprehensively and specifically committing to the preservation of the 50% of all remaining old-growth red and white pine forests on the planet which are found in Temagami, particularly at a time when the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario has drawn attention to the fact that Ontario (at only 10.7%) has a long way to go to achieve Canada’s national commitment to preserve 17% of its lands and inland waterways by 2020?

WHY are the Ministry’s resource-management experts planning to allow logging in the Region’s few remaining roadless wilderness or near-wilderness areas, such as the Solace Wildlands and the Misabi Range?

WHY, in the LTMD and Provincial policy in general, is there no recognition of the (global) significance of the Nastawgan, the vast network of portage routes developed over more than a thousand years by First Nations, a network which once covered most of North America and of which the Temagami area canoe routes constitute the most extensive and best-preserved remaining example?

WHY is the Ministry planning to expand and increase logging in the region when the market for these logs is currently (and probably permanently) so depressed?

WHY is climate change not addressed or even acknowledged in the LTMD?

We would also like to place extra emphasis on the fact that the damage done by logging to the ecological/cultural/ recreational resources of the Temagami Region is not limited to the impacts caused by extensive clear-cutting. The more insidious and often longer-lasting damage is caused by the network of roads necessitated by logging operations. Experience has amply demonstrated that each timber-access road becomes an “artery” for unauthorized “capillary” roads and ATV trails constructed to gain access to hitherto roadless Crown Lands, Parks, Shoreline Reserves etc., especially along lakes and rivers.

While in theory these roads/trails may be illegal, the reality is that once they become facts on the ground they are difficult to eradicate: at best a constant (and costly) enforcement headache for the Ministry, the OPP and municipalities, at worst a permanent intrusion of motorized access into Parks, Crown Reserves and other pristine areas.

Examples abound, but from our own recent experience we would cite the lower Temagami River and the east side of the Sturgeon River to east and south of the Gervais Road. Both areas are Provincial Parks.

In our 25+ years of canoe-tripping in Temagami we have witnessed many changes, both positive and negative.

The greatest single positive change is the broadening awareness of the uniqueness of this area, particularly in its cultural aspect as exemplified by the Nasawgan. The ever-increasing number of people who have travelled these ancient routes, who have trodden thousand-year old pathways through the wilderness, who have camped at thousand-year old traditional campsites, has contributed to a burgeoning awareness and appreciation of the extraordinary rarity and significance of this cultural legacy. An historical map has been produced and widely disseminated that shows the original extent of the Nastawgan, and many canoeists have turned their attention to finding and rehabilitating some of the portions of this network that have fallen into disuse over the years and centuries.

The greatest single negative change is the ever-expanding network of roads and ATV trails allowing motorized access to remote areas. In many places ATV trails actually follow the Nastawgan, effectively obliterating them. The slender thousand-year old pathway through the forest with its stepping stones worn smooth by many centuries of use becomes just another rutted dirt track. Traditional campsites become trash-strewn, rapidly eroding parking lots.

In closing, we have canoed the Temagami Region and observed the still-ongoing struggles and controversies surrounding its preservation (or otherwise) for long enough to perceive that the future of the district is, in fact, steadily and inexorably evolving in the right direction.

We think the idea that it is appropriate Provincial policy to extend and expand resource exploitation in Temagami Region is becoming a more difficult argument to make as each year goes by. As our collective perception of the competing interests and values continues to mature and evolve, so eventually will Provincial policy. So why is the Ministry, and by extension the government, proposing to take several steps backward instead of moving forward with policies that reflect the interests of all Ontarians?

The current LTMD is quite simply on the wrong side of history and if adopted will not redound, in the future, to the credit of the government.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this very important issue.

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Post Number: 15
Registered: 01-2011
Posted on Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 9:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Nicely expressed grncnu
I hope you don’t mind I “borrowed” from you.
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Post Number: 447
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 10:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Not at all. I also borrowed, from Earthroots.
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Post Number: 5
Registered: 02-2016

Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 1:21 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thank you for sharing this.

Please consider also mailing this to the MNRF area foresters for the Temagami and Sudbury districts.

Robert Baker, Management Forester Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry North Bay District Office
3301 Trout Lake Road
North Bay, ON P0L1C0

Tim Lehman, R.P.F.
Area Forester
Ministry of Natural Resources
Sudbury District
3767 Hwy 69 S, Suite 5
Sudbury, Ontario
P3G 1E7

The Friends of Temagami have also submitted a comment on the 2019-2029 TMU LTMD.

Sudbury area is coming up early 2018... the proposed Turner Road through the Solace Wildlands is particularly irksome.

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