Tourism preventing local use of area lakes

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As published in Northern Life

By: Letter to the Editor

 | Jun 30, 2014 – 11:29 AM
Congratulations to Andy Zandarin and the others from Ontario Outdoors Recreational Alliance (OntORA) for reminding all of us that the MNR is treating Ontario taxpayers as second-class citizens when it comes to enjoying our own forests and lakes.
The Sudbury OntORA Chapter erected a sign on Hwy 144 pointing out that much of our Crown land and best lakes are off limits to ordinary Ontarians.
The MNR has closed off more than 2,000 of our best lakes, as well as thousands of square kilometers of pristine Crown lands for the sole benefit of the influential and lucrative remote tourist industry and their paying guests.Locals are not allowed, by pain of heavy fines for trespassing on our own public lands, to use forest roads paid for by Ontario taxpayers. And it gets worse every year.Bridges and culverts are removed after forestry operations are completed; large berms are built; gates are erected with “No Trespassing” signs posted on roads leading to well-stocked lakes for the benefit of the remote tourist lodges on those lakes.
This, of course, allows the tourist operators to charge premium rates for the added “remoteness,” which means locals will not interfere with their guests’ enjoyment of these virtual private game and fish farms for the wealthy.
The MNR and Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario (NOTO) will tell the public these 2,000 tourist lakes are indeed accessible to the public – all you have to do is walk in carrying your canoe, food, fishing gear and camping equipment on your back for a minimum of three kilometres. No motorized vehicles are allowed.This effectively prevents any kind of real access to much of our natural heritage. This cannot go on.
Ontarians deserve better – if you agree, speak up, tell your MPP and join the fight.
Simon R. Guillet
Guilletville, Ont.
{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Joe Schmidt July 5, 2014, 12:44 am

    little education to the public goes a long way. Here is some banter I used on Northern Life to educate one reader.
    Just Visiting •
    I have no problem with a small percentage of our lakes being accessible only by foot. With tens of thousands of lakes still readily accessible by road, this is a non-issue to me.
    Anyone with access to a plane with floats can fly in to virtually any lake. This is nothing new.
    Reply

    “JAW Reformed Sequel” to Just Visiting
    You miss the point – Crown land, MNR removing access and MNR refusing reasonable access. We just all can’t keep a float plane in the backyard.
    Thanks.

    Reply #2 Just Visiting to JAW Reformed Sequel
    Actually, I get the point quite well. I don’t have a float plane.
    I enjoy lakes where I can drive in. I have also, on occasion, gone to lakes where the only way of getting in is by foot….sometimes portage from another lake, sometimes walking a couple miles from where I parked my vehicle. To me, the extra effort made the rewards all the sweeter.
    Where is it written that every citizen of Canada should be able to drive his car right up to the shore of every single lake in the country?

    Reply from me:
    Joe Schmidt to Just Visiting
    Just Visiting—Just to be clear- Others can drive legally to those said lake. If your a paid tourist. I frequent lakes that you have to portage to the same as everybody else has to portage to. It’s when some group is given special treatment because they have the BUCKS.
    I am from the Sault and we don’t see what other areas are seeing. These remote camp operators have four-wheelers for clients to use on these closed roads. Who do you think paid for the roads. OntORA Promotes EQUAL Access.

    Reply
    Just Visiting to Joe Schmidt
    Joe, thanks for your reply. Virtually everything I have read on this topic said that the only access to these lakes was by plane. Your post has provided a little more clarity, and causes me to re-assess my opinion.

    To the people of OntORA
    My point is that many people don’t understand the focus of OntORA. They are fed information about remote tourist operators that is not true. They don’t understand that NOTO has control of the MNR and the MNR closes down our traditional roads and lakes we have been using for many previous years. If a remote tourist operator has operations that have been in service for many years and is only accessible by float plane we in OntORA don’t have any issue with them unless they ban others with float planes from accessing those lakes. It is when our traditional access is taken away from us so the so called remote tourist operator have the MNR restrict our access to said lakes/roads. A polite rebuttal has changed one person’s thinking.
    Joe Schmidt. “Ontora Mailings Director”

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