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Temagami is a forest region located 400 km north of Toronto. An internationally recognized ecological site, the region contains nearly 50% of all remaining old-growth pine forests. These ancient forests now only exist in 1% of their pre-colonial range, and therefore constitute an endangered ecosystem. The Wakimika Triangle is the largest stand of old-growth pine in Temagami; it has majestic trees that are 15 stories high and more than 300 years old.

Temagami is also home to the Teme-Augama Anishnabai whose history and culture is interwoven with the land. Several sacred sites still exist in Temagami, along with an extensive system of traditional trails and canoe routes called Nastawgan, which have been used for thousands of years.

Earthroots began as the Temagami Wilderness Society, established to protect the Temagami region from logging. Earthroots played a pivotal role in the Red Squirrel Road blockade in 1989, when environmental and First Nations activists, as well as the public, peacefully resisted the logging of Temagami’s old growth pine. The action prompted the Ontario government to take measures to protect the region. At that point, the blockade was the largest act of peaceful civil disobedience in Canada history (later to be surpassed in size by the protests in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia). Over 300 people were arrested for blockading the Red Squirrel logging road extension.

Soon after the blockade, the Ontario government initiated the Temagami Land Use Plan. By 1996, the planning process was complete, and several provincial parks and conservation reserves were established, protecting just under half of Temagami’s old growth.

Since 1996, Earthroots has worked hard to preserve Temagami’s remaining unprotected old-growth, and aboriginal sacred sites. It has also promoted low-impact recreation in the region, such as hiking and canoeing, and has raised public awareness about this unique region.

Today, nearly 20 years after the Red Squirrel Road blockade, Temagami still isn’t fully protected.

Temagami Forest Management Plan 2019 - 2029

For over three decades, Earthroots has had extensive involvement in the forest management planning of the Temagami forest management unit. As the latest plan was finalized, we felt as though it fell short in five major areas of concern. For an in-depth look at our pursual of these issues, please see our technical submissions below:

Temagami’s Old-Growth Pine Forests in a Changing Climate

The Carbon Dynamics of Old Growth Forests

Effects of Increased Access on the Temagami Canoe Culture

The Importance of Intact Forest Landscapes

The Problems with the Enhanced Forest Resource Inventory (eFRI)

Earthroots filed all the appeals that we could, asking that these issues be addressed in the plan – unfortunately, all of our appeals were summarily denied without explanation or challenge. But then it got worse! Just as we were submitting a request to the courts to review this denial, the government changed the planning system to remove citizen’s right to request an environmental assessment of a flawed forest management plan. This thwarted our efforts to pursue a truly sustainable forest management plan in Temagami this management period.

But our fight doesn’t end there! Earthroots is currently in court jointly with others challenging the government on their recent attack on environmental protection. You can get the whole story in this page:

The “War in the Woods” never ended!

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