THE MNRF’s $$$ LOVE AFFAIR WITH REMOTE TOURISM
Back in the days, not so long ago, when ordinary Ontario resident taxpayers could freely enjoy the wonders of outdoors nature in our province, before the Ontario government and the MNR’s incredible infatuation with, and total indulgence to, the remote tourism industry, good memories still linger.
Those were the days when local residents could snowmobile into Little Missinaibi and Trump Lakes in the winter, and drive in on forestry roads in the summer. These lakes are among the most productive and popular lakes in the district with the excellent lake trout in Trump Lake having a deep red meat from feeding on shrimp. Little Missinaibi Lake was, and is, indisputably one of the hottest walleye lakes in northern Ontario. Back then, Hawk Air Service and the remote tourist camps there would even rent the locals a place to sleep overnight for $10.00.
That all changed when the Missinaibi Provincial Park management, backed by the Ontario government, decided to exclude everyone but the paying tourist guests at the various remote tourist lodges on these and other area lakes. They claimed that the whole area was then designated a “Wilderness Zone” and that henceforth, absolutely no mechanical vehicular or air access, and no outboards, would be allowed in the Little Missinaibi Lake, Little Missinaibi River, Trump and Elbow Lake area –that is, a Wilderness Zone for everyone EXCEPT the paying tourists at remote tourist lodges. Today, our best lakes in the province, over 2,000 of them, are thus reserved for paying tourists. Ordinary Ontario residents became second class citizens, and remain so to this day.
Such is the nature of the present day MNRF and Ontario government – discrimination and favouritism in favour of a rich industry which profits from the exclusion of the locals, where rich tourists can claim the pristine forests and bountiful lakes as their own – without the bother of having locals fishing or hunting on their private game and fish farms, sanctioned by OUR government.
Read the following letters from one such local resident, Mike Boudreau, who still bristles at the rampant discrimination and unsuccessfully tried to obtain official approval to land a private airplane along with all the tourist lodges airplanes. Why are Ontarians tolerating this?
I seek your permission to land our plane to fish lake trout on Trump lake and walleye on Little Missinabie lake
I realize that you are the only one who can authorize this request. I also realize that these two lakes are in a designated wilderness park,managed by Ontario Parks,but i see no difficulty getting permission,since you authorize Hawk Air,Wilderness Outfitters and an outfitter from Chapleau to land their planes and use outboards to fish these lakes.
Thanks in advance.
November 26, 2017
Dear Mr. Boudreau,
Thank you for your email requesting permission to land your plane to fish lake trout on Trump Lake and walleye on Little Missinabi Lake.
Please be advised that your request is denied as was your previous request and my subsequent response (registered letter November 2, 2015), due to the Wilderness Zone designation for the Little Missinaibi Lake, Little Missinaibi River, Trump and Elbow Lake area which is reinforced by provincial legislation in addition to the direction within the Missinaibi Park Management Plan (approved 2004).
The area around Little Missinaibi Lake is designated as a wilderness zone and the direction in the management plan is to manage the area to allow natural processes to function freely with visitor travel generally by non-mechanized means. Access, motorized travel, and non-conforming uses in the Little Missinaibi Lake area were some of the most significant issues identified through the public consultation that occurred as part of the extensive planning process for the park.
While access and travel within the Little Missinaibi Lake wilderness zone is generally by non-mechanized means (canoe or hike-in), the Little Missinaibi area contained tourist outfitters with established businesses that pre-dated the establishment of the park. Through the park planning process a decision was made to allow these existing tourist outfitters and their guests to continue to use mechanized travel in the area .
I hope that this information has helped clarify the management direction and legislative provisions for mechanized travel in this Wilderness Zone area, which have remained consistent since the approval of the Missinaibi Park Management Plan for Missinaibi Provincial Park and specifically the Little Missinaibi area.
29 November , 2017
Ms. Barb Henkenhaf
Re: Permission to land airplane on Trump Lake and little Missinaibi Lake.
Thank you for your reply to my second request for permission to land a floatplane on the above mentioned lakes, which was again denied, in your words: “due to the Wilderness Zone designation for the Little Missinaibi Lake, Little Missinaibi River, Trump and Elbow Lake.
You go on further to state: While access and travel within the Little Missinaibi Lake wilderness zone is generally by non-mechanized means (canoe or hike-in), the Little Missinaibi area contained tourist outfitters with established businesses that pre-dated the establishment of the park. Through the park planning process a decision was made to allow these existing tourist outfitters and their guests to continue to use mechanized travel in the area.
It is quite obvious that allowing tourist outfitters and their guests to continue mechanized access and outboard motor use – while everyone else in Ontario is banned from such access – smacks of favouritism, discrimination against ordinary tax-paying non-tourist-guests Ontarians, thereby ranking them as second-class citizens.
If these lakes were closed to access for ecological, environmental and/or conservation reasons, then logically these lakes must to closed to EVERYONE, not open to just a select few. Such double-standard of injustice and unfair treatment are from another era, and have no place in modern-day Ontario – where everyone must be treated equally.
In fact, when these new discriminatory rules were being considered back in 2003, many of us who all fished Trump and Little Missinaibi Lakes, including, myself and Ed Nyman, Danny Lacasse, Guy Pelletier, Steve Turyk, Roger Audet, Gerry Beerkens, George Turyk, R Boucher, Tim Boucher, Marlynn Lacasse, Olive Boudreau and Barkley Sprang requested to be “grandfathered” as users, the same as the other users at tourist lodges, before it was designated as a Wilderness Area. Many are still not aware that a Wilderness Area designation means no motorized vehicles or outboard motors.
Designating this area, with its inherent flagrant favouritism and discrimination was a mistake, and one that will long negatively affect the MNRF’s credibility, sense of fairness, and lack of concern for ordinary outdoorsy Ontarians.
Hopefully, the next government will correct this long-standing MNRF discrimination and favouritism.