Citizens of Dubreuilville and Hornepayne have informed the Ontario Outdoors Recreational Alliance (OntORA) that on or about the 4th of June, 2010 the Wawa Ministry of Natural Resources closed a major road connecting their two towns to public access.
The road commonly known as the 401 road has for many years been a main artery connecting these two towns as well as a means for the public to access and enjoy the surrounding countryside, which is entirely Crown land. This was a huge blow for many people who used the road to visit friends and family or simply enjoy the recreational pursuits that our public lands offer. To make matters even worse, it appears that 85% of the prime recreational lands in this area already have public access restrictions, in effect, the MNR has created private game and fish farms for the wealthy and the public is liable to charges for trespassing on their own lands.
This is a devastating blow to the local populace, the road-based tourism operators and to the many seasonal visitors who travel anywhere from four to twelve hours to vacation in the area. One local business which uses the road for guided ATV tours has already complained to the MNR about the tremendous negative impact it will have on their business.
OntORA area Director Michael Boudreau has contacted the MNR on a number of occasions for a clarification behind this closure but so far has only succeeded in being redirected to one of the staff, a Mary Ellen McKenna. Ms. McKenna told Mr. Boudreau that the “main” reason behind the effort in preventing public access to these huge tracts of public land was noise, that the so called ‘remote-based’ outfitters wanted a serene atmosphere for their clients, that the periodic sound of a few vehicles a couple kilometres away may not compliment the ambiance for their guests.