Wild Northerner Magazine Summer 2018 - Page 65

Park Usage

Kevin Pinkerton is the Area Ontario Parks, Superintendent, Temagami Cluster of Provincial Parks; he provided some statistics on back country usage.

“Park visitation for the five operational interior parks has remained stable over the past five years. Based on overnight interior camping permit sales over 4700 visitors enjoy these parks annually. Temagami has been a tourist destination for over a century and with over 2400 kilometers of interconnecting canoe routes and portage trails it is considered one of North America’s premier canoeing destinations. The area attracts local residents as well as visitors from provincial, national and international markets. The five parks became operational in 2004 with the introduction of interior overnight camping fees and the hiring of interior wardens to undertake maintenance, education and compliance work along the canoe routes. Fees collected cover the costs of maintaining portages, campsites, privies and overall compliance throughout all five parks.” (I witnessed the ongoing maintenance program; the clearing of historic portages. With historic, indigenous tree blazes still discernible on the trunks of over mature trees.)

The majority of travel into the one wilderness and four waterway parks occurs from access points a considerable distance away. Many canoe routes start or finish well outside park boundaries on adjacent Crown lands. Often recreational users travel in and out of parks, Conservation Reserves and Crown land continuously, unaware of the land use designations they cross. (Adjacent MNRF districts, surrounding the parks in all directions, have not necessarily implemented an ongoing summer maintenance program of clearing portages on Crown land, their responsibility; so don’t be surprised with windfall.) You can access Florence Lake via canoe routes that start: northeast of Sudbury/Wanapitei, along the Sturgeon River; north of Field via Lake Obabika; west of Temagami via a number of routes; south from Elk Lake and the Gamble Rd (Chance Lake) and west of Haileybury to Mowat Landing (Lady Evelyn Lake).

And Kevin said, “Each person travelling in Temagami’s interior can play a part in its stewardship. Much of the area is relatively remote, offering solitude and challenge for those seeking a backcountry recreation experience.”

You can fly in or consider Florence in a day from the Chance lake access point from Elk Lake (Gamble Lake Rd.). Here is a tip, take the two portages – the direct Dees Lake shortcut and track the rapids upstream to Duff Lake (where there is a campsite) See this Ottertooth post: http://www.ottertooth.com/Temagami/Wilson/Route2/florence.htm . There is a Back Roads Bill map, sign in to Google: My Maps or go to https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=15O2acumI5oxUkprkkWm9MbQ3LU0&ll=47.306497948986944%2C-80.5383253&z=11 As a trip bonus find the trailhead for the vista view on Florence (SW end).

Today, being present at Florence Lake means living for a few days surrounded by wilderness. It is recommended that you secure the ‘Temagami Canoe Routes Planning Map’ or go to www.friendsoftemagami.org ; and the definitive book, ‘Canoeing, Kayaking & Hiking in Temagami’ by Hap Wilson.

(Bill is the founder and General Manager of the Canadian Ecology Centre; he teaches part time at Canadore College and Nipissing University. Contact the author, wilstonsteer@gmail.com ; LIKE on Facebook – Back Roads Bill Steer and go to www.steerto.com .)

Back Roads Bill

For Wild Northerner

In outdoor marketing, Temagami is a well-known brand. It is the third most popular canoeing area in North America after Quetico/Boundary Waters and Algonquin Park).

With Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Wilderness Park at its core, it is a rugged landscape of rocky shores, old-growth red and white pine, waterfalls, Ontario's highest elevation, (Ispathina first, Maple Mountain, second). It is one of the few designated wilderness parks that does not have a campground attached to it. The vast thousand-year-old-plus network of nastawgan — the portages and routes by lake and river — opened by the Temagami Anishnabai, centered by Lake Temagami.

Five provincial parks covering 104,248 hectares, one fourth the size of PEI or half the size of the GTA, lie in the western part of Temagami. Surrounding the parks are eight conservation reserves which make up an additional 42,836 hectares of protected area. The remaining land base consists of unregulated Crown lands. Temagami lies within Daki Menan, the ancestral homeland of the Teme-AugamaAnishnabai—“the deep water people.” Many sacred sites are found within the area, and the landscape of Temagami continues to hold great cultural, spiritual and economic significance for indigenous and non-native peoples.

And there is one area that is true wilderness, untouched by contemporary humankind development, with Florence Lake as the core (WGS 84 - N47° 13.901’ W80° 33.911’ or 17 T E532914 N5231003).

Temagami Wilderness

Thor Conway, is recently retired, but was a leading government archaeologist in northern Ontario for four decades. Later this year his new book, 'Secrets of the Temagami Wilderness' will be released, he knows a few, particularly for Florence Lake. I was able to have a sneak peek at a draft chapter entitled: ‘Florence Lake wilderness and someone’s back yard,’ I reached him in British Columbia.

“The white pine and red pine covered shores of Florence Lake are steeped in aboriginal use. Indians have lived on the shores of Florence Lake for so many generations that the native name for the uniquely shaped lake almost turned into a cryptic word,” said Thor. “The original name for Florence Lake is Kishkimskhazhishing. The lake, which is divided into two sections by a spit of land sticking out with water, like a river going around the spit,” certainly a lengthy, but accurate description. He explained, “This strange geographic feature, ‘The Fine Grained Sand Dam, divides Florence Lake into two sections. Ka-Bingwee-Kog names the sandy neck connecting the mainland to the huge peninsula filling the south half of the lake.” From oral history and interviews with Elders he said, “The barely remembered Indian community and cemetery on Florence Lake was also called (Fine Grained) Sand Dam Village.”

Natural and Cultural Heritage