Ancient Forest Exploration Guide


Home          Publications          Trails

Back to Top

ABOUT THIS GUIDEBOOK

This guidebook is intended to help you explore one of the rarest ecosystem types in Ontario - old-growth red and white pine forests. Variable amounts of information are available for the 35 stands included in this guidebook, therefore descriptions of stand features such as plant communities will also vary. The old-growth stands chosen for this guidebook do not represent all the stands in Central Ontario - they were chosen based on accessibility, size and geographic distribution. To properly explore these stands, make sure you, have the appropriate topographical maps and bring along guidebooks to help you interpret what you find.

Maps included in this guidebook show the location of each old growth stand and can be cross-referenced in the chart on page 9. Information on other old-growth stands in Ontario can be obtained by contacting Ancient Forest Exploration & Research and/or the Wildlands League. All topographical maps are available from the Canada Map Office at Energy, Mines and Resources Canada, 130 Bentley Ave., Nepean, Ont. KlA OE9. Information on mountain biking, lodges and float-plane access can be obtained from the appropriate Ministry of Natural Resources district office and/or from the Northern Ontario Tourist Association, 373 Main Street West, North Bay, Ont. P113 2T9.

Ancient Forest Exploration & Research can be contacted at R.R. #4, Powassan, Ont. POH 1Z01 (705) 724-5858.

The Wildlands League can be contacted at Suite 1335, 160 Bloor St. K, Toronto, Ont. M4W 1139, (416) 324-9760..

Old-growth trail guides produced by Earthroots Coalition can be obtained from the coalition at Suite 251, 401 Richmond St. W., Toronto, Ont., M5V 3A8, (416) 599-0152.

For information from the Ministry of Natural Resources or numbers of district offices, contact the Resources Information Centre at (416) 3141717.

Back to Top

INTRODUCTION

Old-growth forests differ from younger forests in three main ways: First, they have trees that are much older than the average age for the species; second, they have a greater number of snags (dead standing trees) than do younger forests dominated by the same tree species; and third, they have large numbers of logs on the forest floor and/or a high log mass relative to younger forests.

This last factor means that in some old-growth forest ecosystems you will find numerous logs lying across streams. These logs tend to form debris dams that are less common in younger forests. As well, because of their immense structural diversity (e.g. vertical vegetation layers, dead-wood habitats, internal patch dynamics) old-growth forests generally have greater species diversity than younger forests. But even knowing what we do now about old-growth forests, more research is needed to identify all the unique features of these ecosystems.

Old-growth forest ecosystems are valuable for many reasons: They maintain soil stability and water quality; retain-large amounts of limiting nutrients; provide a reservoir of genetic diversity; provide unique wildlife habitat; and act as carbon sinks (by absorbing and storing C02) which can help to modify global warming. Ontario's old growth pine forests also represent a valuable cultural heritage, as many. early settlements prospered by exploiting the rich resources of these forests.

Scientific study of old-growth forest ecology has also played a major role in the development of ecological theory. In the future, by using these special ecosystems as scientific control areas - places used to understand how nature manages undisturbed forests - these forests can provide the information needed to improve human forest management practices.

Unfortunately, few of the world's original old-growth white and red pine forests remain. In fact, throughout most of their natural range, these forests are threatened with extinction and in several states and provinces are, in fact, already extirpated. Despite this endangered status, in Ontario (where the vast majority of the remaining stands of this type are located) logging continues to 61iminate these forests from the landscape. Only through the concerted efforts of all sectors of society will these special ecosystems be saved from total destruction. Such action, however, must be based on a better understanding of the natural dynamics of Ontario's forest ecosystems and our relationships to them.

The natural history of Ontario's forests began approximately 10,000 years ago when the great Wisconsin glacier receded, uncovering a rough outline of the present-day landscape of Central Ontario. In the wake of this receding ice sheet, displaced plants and animals began to recolonize the newly exposed bare rock and soil. Tundra ecosystems were the first to become established and plants such as sedges, mosses and lichens as well as dwarf birch and dwarf willow trees grew up. As soil Is slowly built up and the early plant life created more shaded conditions, a boreal

forest ecosystem - dominated by white spruce, black spruce and poplar - began to succeed the tundra about 8,000 years ago. A thousand years after that, white pine began to move northward, followed by other temperate forest species such as red pine, sugar maple, yellow birch and hemlock, The forest we now see is the result of this slow migration and post-glacial changes in climate.

In ecological terms, Central Ontario is composed of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Forest Region (see map on page 25). This forest region has been described by Dr. Stan Rowe, Canada's preeminent forest ecologist, as follows (from Basic 1990):

"Extending inland from the edges of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River lies a forest of a very mixed nature which is characterized by eastern white pine, red pine, eastern hemlock and yellow birch. With these are associated certain dominant broad-leaved species common to the Deciduous Forest Region, including sugar maple, red maple, red oak, basswood and white elm. Other species with wide ranges are eastern white cedar and largetooth aspen and, to a lesser extent, beech, white oak, butternut and white ash, Boreal species such as white spruce, black spruce, balsam fir, jack pine, poplars and white birch are intermixed, and red spruce is abundant in certain central and eastern portions."

The logging of Central Ontario's forests by European settlers began with the harvest of eastern white pine and red pine. Small amounts were cut by the early French settlers of Quebec for ship masts as early as 1743, but it wasn't until later that the true commercial industry began.

With their main timber supply in the Baltic region cut off by the French during the Napoleonic wars, the British were forced to seek large timbers elsewhere to maintain and expand their sailing fleet. Their discovery of Ontario's expansive virgin pineries in the early 18008 marked the beginning of a period of commercial forest exploitation that has been unrivaled to date in North America. According to forestry professor Dr. Paul Aird, this early forest industry "generated the capital and jobs needed to nourish the settlement of Ontario, and ultimately led to the confederation of the provinces."

To the early settlers, the great pine forests of Ontario seemed endless. The numerous white pine trees often grew to 60 metres in height and occasionally to two metres in diameter. However, by 1900, timber production from Ontario's white and red pine forests had peaked and it has declined steadily ever since.

Sir John A. Macdonald recognized the problem of over-exploitation more than 100 years ago. In 1871 he wrote to the premier of Ontario:

"The sight of the immense masses of timber passing my windows every morning constantly suggests to my mind the absolute necessity there is for looking into the future of this great trade. We are recklessly destroying the timber of Canada and there is scarcely a possibility of replacing it ... It occurs to me that the subject should be looked in the face and some efforts made for the preservation of our timber."

To this day, the sustainability of white and red pine logging practices in Ontario is being questioned by many. Even-aged management, which includes the practice of clearcutting, is the form of logging used in more than 95 percent of Ontario's white and red pine forests. Without a doubt, this most intrusive form of logging is a heavy contributor to the continuing decline of healthy white and red pine forests (excluding plantations) in Ontario.

In fact, the pre-settlement pine forests of Ontario have never fully recovered from logging, leaving the timber industry, 200 years after cutting first began in Ontario, still reliant on a dwindling number of first-growth forests.

It was the proposed clearcutting of just such globally unique old growth pine stands in Temagami that Ontario Premier Bob Rae was protesting when, as opposition leader, he was arrested during the blockade of the Red Squirrel Road in 1989. Rae was joined by more than 370 other concerned Canadians on the arrest list.

Current research by Ancient Forest Exploration & Research indicates that less than one percent of the world's original old-growth white and red pine forest remains. It is clear that these special ecosystems are critically endangered and just as we work to protect endangered species, we must work to protect such endangered ecosystems as well.

Back to Top

Definitions of old-growth white and red pine in Central Ontario

Research recently completed by Ancient Forest Exploration & Research has provided definitions for old-growth white and red pine forests of Central Ontario. These definitions can be applied in ground-based inventories to locate and protect the few remaining remnants of these once common forest ecosystems. To date, however, the definitions have been ignored by government forest inventory specialists.

  1. Old Pine Trees greater than or equal to 140 years: at least 9 per hectare
  2. Snags (standing dead trees): minimum 30 per hectare; minimum 10 em diameter at 1.4 metres; minimum 2 metres tall
  3. Logs: minimum 10 per hectare; minimum 25 cm at large end; minimum 8 metres long
  4. Anthropogenic Disturbance: minimal to none

White and red pine in Central Ontario are commonly found growing in association with at least 15 other tree species. Both pine species often out-compete these other trees on dry coarse-textured soils. Relative to red pine, white pine grows in a wider range of soil moisture conditions. However, red pine is usually more abundant on coarser sandy soils and white pine on soils with finer sands and silt.

Logging has reduced the abundance of all old-growth pine communities, but the rarest of the old-growth white and red pine forest communities is characterized by tolerant (to shade) hardwood species such as sugar maple, yellow birch and American beech growing in association with large old white pine. This is often called the "white pine-tolerant hardwood" forest type.

The density of white pine in this old-growth forest type is normally lower than when white pine grows in association with other conifers or early successional hardwoods such as white birch and poplar. However, the individual white pine trees themselves are often much larger and taller than those found in the other forest types. This is due mainly to the better growing conditions found in areas where tolerant hardwoods are common.

Although little research has been done on the ecosystem dynamics of this forest type in Central Ontario, it is generally believed that in order for white pine trees to regenerate there must be some sort of natural disturbance in the forest such as a windstorm that blows over one or more large trees, leaving growing space for the white pine seedlings. In other old-growth pine forest types, natural wildfire plays an important role in white pine regeneration. In other old-growth pine forest communities, where the greater amount of pine and other conifers increases the chances of fire, natural wildfire generally plays a more important role in white pine regeneration. In mixed hardwood stands, fire is less important, mainly because tolerant hardwoods unlike other tree species - seldom burn when struck by lightning.

The only ecological study (Sheehy 1980) conducted in these mixed stands concluded that very little, if any, white pine regeneration is occurring in them. Primarily because of logging, this forest type is now one of the rarest of all old-growth pine forest types in Ontario.

Old-growth forests dominated by red pine are much less common in Ontario than forests dominated by white pine. For example, in Algonquin Park there is six times more white pine-dominated forest than red pine dominated forest (most is intermediate to mature in age). In the Temagami region, there is three times more white pine forest than red pine forest. Research throughout Eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States has shown that very little red pine regeneration is occurring in old-growth red pine stands. This is mostly the result of fire suppression policies that have been in effect since the turn of the century - red pine depends more heavily than white pine on non-catastrophic wildfire to reduce litter depth and expose mineral soil so that its seeds can have direct access to water and nutrients. Forest fragmentation by logging has also dramatically reduced the amount of wed produced and disseminated to produce new trees.

Back to Top

The Future of Ancient Forests in Ontario

Old-growth white and red pine forests are endangered less than one percent of the province's original old-growth forest remains. Ontario's old-growth white pine forest, in turn, represents more than 95 percent of what remains of this ancient forest type in Canada and 60 percent of what remains in the world. In fact, Temagami's old-growth pine stands alone represent approximately 10 percent of what remains in the world. This makes Ontario the last hope for saving this once common ecosystem, yet less than once third of Ontario's precious few remaining old growth white and red pine stands are legally protected.

Even more puzzling is that Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources has chosen to treat the remaining old-growth forests as "renewable" resources -implying that old-growth forests can be logged and regenerated on a sustainable basis. If this management philosophy was workable, would the once common old-growth white and red pine forests be endangered by extinction today?

to contrast to this philosophy of management, the scientific community generally agrees that old-growth forests are nonrenewable. Dr. Peter Raven of the Missouri Botanical Garden states that:

"By treating 500- to 1,000-year-old forests as if they were a renewable resource, we are acting out a fiction, and thereby making a grave mistake." (from Norse 1990)

Even the most influential professional forestry association in the world considers old-growth forests to be nonrenewable:

"Old-growth management, for the foreseeable future, will be predicated on preservation of existing old-growth stands." (from Society of American Foresters 1984)

Therefore, if we are to maintain old-growth forests as a living component of the Ontario landscape, we must ensure that they are legally protected and properly managed.

Currently, the government of Ontario is sponsoring the development of an old-growth conservation policy, spearheaded by a Policy Advisory Committee made up of citizens from around the province. By the end of 1993, this committee will provide a set of old-growth conservation recommendations to the Minister of Natural Resources.

Your voice for ancient-forest protection can be beard by writing to the Policy Advisory Committee, c/o Ministry of Natural Resources, 199 Larch Street, 10th Floor, Sudbury, Ont. P3E 5P9.

Endangered Spaces Campaign

It has been calculated that there are Close to 400 natural regions in Canada -- 400 different "landscapes," each with a special blend of geographical features, plants and animals. This rich biological diversity is our nation's most important heritage. The Endangered Spaces campaign's goal is to protect that heritage by ensuring that representative areas from each of Canada's natural regions are fully protected by the year 2000. Despite the work of this campaign, many of Ontario's 65 natural regions still lack representative protected areas today, although the Ontario government has committed itself to the goal of completing the province's protected-areas network by the year 2000. Unlogged, old-growth forests are an important pan of the natural heritage that we must continue to work to protect while we still can.

Back to Top

Stand Features Chart

KEY: CR=Stand on established canoe route; HT=hiking trails in stand; BP= Backpacking to or in the stand; MB=mountain biking to the stand; BW=bushwacking required toreach stand; FP=float plane access ; CA=campsite in stand; LG= commercial lodge nearby; LV= level of expertise required: E-expert, I-intemediate, B-beginner.

AREA AND STAND NAME MAP # SIZE (Ha) ACTIVITIES / SERVICES
CR HT BP MB BW FP CA LG LV
ALGONQUIN PARK CENTRAL
ANGLIN-DICKSON 1 70 X X
E
BIG CROW 1 73 X X
I
OPEONGO 1 230 X X B
LAKE LAVIEILLE 2 92 X X E
DICKSON LAKE 2 28 X X
I
ALGONQUIN PARK SOUTH
LIVINGSTONE TOWNSHIP 3 305 X X X X X B
TEMAGAMI REGION EAST
BOULTON LAKE 4 141 X X X X B
RABBIT LAKE ISLAND 4 21 X X X B
SNAKE ISLAND LAKE 4 88 X X X X X X X B
TEMAGAMI REGION CENTRAL
CROSSBAY 5 42 X X X B
NARROWS ISLAND 5 40 X X B
WITCH BAY 5 22 X X X X B
1 TEMAGAMI ISLAND 5 220 X X X X X B
VOGHT ISLAND 5 78 X X X B
OBABIKA LAKE 6 240 X X X X X X X B
TEMAGAMI REGION WEST
FLORENCE LAKE 7 27 X X X I
FLORENCE RIVER 7 16 X X I
NORTH-CENTRAL ONTARIO
LOWER SPANISH RIVER 8 600 X
X
X X X IE
BARK LAKE 9 170 X X X X X
IE
ALGOMA HIGHLANDS 10 600 X
X
X X E
QUETICO PARK
THE PINES 11 4 X B
QUETICO PARK NORTH
DORE LAKE 12 21 X X B
ELIZABETH LAKE NORTH 12
44
X B
ELIZABETH LAKE SOUTH 12 95 X B
HALLIDAY LAKE 12 56 X B
QUINN LAKE 12 52 X B
RAM LAKE 12 103 X B
STURGEON LAKE 12 32' X B
QUETICO PARK CENTRAL
CAMEL LAKE EAST 13 14 X BI
CAMEL LAKE NORTH 13 23 X BI
CHATTERTON LAKE NORTH 13 29 X BI
CHAT TERTON LAKE SOUTH 13 14 X BI
HOARE LAKE 13 30 X BI
METACRYST LAKE 13 57 X BI
QUETICO PARK SOUTH
McNIECE LAKE 14 182 X IE

Back to Top

ALGONQUIN PROVINCIAL PARK

Algonquin, approximately 765,500 ha in size, became Ontario's first park when it was designated for protection in 1893. It is the only park in Ontario where logging, which began in Algonquin in the early 1800s, is still permitted. Today, only 25 percent of the park, including the wilder. ness and nature-reserve zones, is protected from logging. White pine forest covers approximately 12 percent of the harvestable area and 2.2 percent of the nature-reserve system. Red pine forest covers about two percent of the harvestable area and only one percent of the nature reserve system. Few studies of Algonquin's old-growth pine stands have been conducted. While the si, Algonquin stands described in this guidebook are protected, some other unprotected old-growth pine stands in the park are currently slated for logging.

The park is situated very close to the western side of the Ottawa River, just to the west of Pembroke and to the east of Huntsville. There are at least 29 different access points from which canoe trips can be started as well as numerous car campgrounds. Information about the park, its access points and facilities can be obtained from Algonquin Park Headquarters, Ministry of Natural Resources, Whitney, Ont. K0J 2MO, (705) 633-5572.

All users of Algonquin must purchase a valid camping permit which can be obtained at numerous locations in and around the park. Advance reservations can be made by contacting park headquarters. This guidebook should not be used to explore Algonquin Park's old-growth pine forests without the map, Canoe Routes of Algonquin Provincial Park published by The Friends of Algonquin Park, Box 248, Whitney, Ont. EBJ 2MO. This map may also be available at some retail outfitters and bookstores.

Algonquin Park Central

All five stands in this area can be most easily reached from the Opeongo Lake access point (#11 on the Algonquin Provincial Park Canoe Routes map). The Opeongo Lake Road extends north from Hwy. 60 which runs east-west through Algonquin Park. A circular canoe-trip route starting at the south end of Opeongo Lake and proceeding to Proulx Lake through the north arm of Opeongo Lake to the Crow River, Little Crow Lake, Big Crow Lake, the Crow River, Crow Bay, Lake Lavieille, Dickson Lake and back to the east am of Opeongo Lake would take canoeists through all five old-growth stands. In most cases, Shorter routes can be designed to see just a few of the stands that are closer to the access point.

Both the Big Crow Stand (#2) and the Anglin-Dickson Stand (#1) are remnants of a forest type that once dominated much of Algonquin Park's west side - as well as large portions of Central and Southern Ontario. The Big Crow Stand can be reached by a trail that starts at the dam on the south side of the Big Crow River, just to the east offfig Crow Lake. The stand is approximately 1.5 kin up the trail which ascends some steep terrain.

The Anglin-Dickson Stand (#1) can only be reached by bushwhacking -visitors will have to start at a known location on the map along the south shore of Crow Bay and proceed to the stand using map and compass Significant landmarks within the stand include a stream and a wetland. This is a challenging hike and at least one whole day should be set aside for it.

To see the red pine-dominated Lake Lavieille Stand (#4) requires a side-trip of one to three days. To get there, take the portage from the northeast corner of Dickson Lake to Little Crooked Lake and follow Skylark Creek to Skylark Lake. From there, bushwack further along Skylark Creek to the stand.

The Dickson Lake Stand (#5) is dominated by hemlock. However, the large, old red pine that are present in the stand are the oldest known in the park - some of these pines are more than 340 years old. Red pine found growing with hemlock and white cedar, as it does here, is a very rare forest type in Ontario. Red spruce, which is also rare in Ontario, is also found in this stand. The stand is easily reached from the eastern shore of Dickson Lake.

In the Opeongo Stand (#3), the old red pine are commonly found growing in association with white pine, with the purer portions of red pine in the stand growing on a sand plain. The stand is easily reached along the north shore of the east arm of Opeongo Lake.

Algonquin Park South

The Livingstone Township Stand (#6) is composed mainly of the white pine-tolerant hardwood forest type described earlier for the flit Crow and Anglin-Dickson Stands. There are at least four canoe- trip routes that can be used to reach this stand and they are all featured on the Algonquin Provincial Park Canoe Routes map. The approach front the west (access point #14) is described here: From Hwy. 35 approximately one kilometre north of the village of Dorset, take the Kawagama Lake Road east. Travel 0.7 km to the second intersection, turn right and drive approximately 24 kin to the Livingstone Lake Lodge Road. Proceed to the lodge.

Paddle south on Livingstone and Bear Lakes and east on Kimball Lake to Rockaway Lake. The southwest section of the stand is located at the east end of Rockaway Lake. Two portages go through this stand and all of Minkey Lake is included within the reserve containing the stand. Two portages and the lakeshore make excellent starting points for exploring the stand with map and compass.

Back to Top

TEMAGAMI REGION

The Temagami Region, as defined by the boundaries of the Ministry of Natural Resource's Temagami Administrative District, is approximately 717,500 ha in size. There are seven parks in the region amounting to 14 percent of its total area; approximately three-quarters of the total park area is within the boundaries of Lady Evelyn Smoothwater Provincial Park. White and red pine forest each makeup 4.8 percent of the region's forest cover. Commercial logging in this region began in the late 1920s and has continued to the present day.

Temagami's old-growth pine stands have been the most intensively studied old-growth pine stands in Ontario, but of the 11 Temagami stands described in this guidebook, only the Florence River and Florence Lake stands are legally protected. Most of Temagami's old-growth pine stands border shorelines, making access easy.

The heart of the Temagami Region is located about 80 km northwest of North Bay, Ont. The main access to Temagami canoe country is via Hwy. 11 and roads westward from there. (Southern portions of the region can be reached on Route 805.) A car campground and swimming beaches can be found at Finlayson Point Provincial Park, which is located only a few kilometres south of the town of Temagami on Lake Temagami. Numerous campsites are available on lakes and rivers throughout the region.

Camping permits for canoe-accessible sites outside of the parks are not required for residents of Canada, but are required for non-residents. Permits can be obtained from the Ministry of Natural Resources District Office located in the town of Temagami. Valuable references for exploring this region are Hap Wilson's Temagami Canoe Routes, published by Northern Concepts and the Canoeing in the Temagami District map published by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. At least one of these references should be used in conjunction with this guidebook.

Teme-Augama Anishnabai

The Temagami Region is the homeland of the Teme-Augama Anishnabai (Deep Water People) First Nation. Currently, the Teme-Augama are involved in negotiating important land stewardship issues as part of a proposed Treaty of Co-Existence with the Ontario government. Uncontrolled and unrestricted access to this land is a major concern of the Teme-Augama Anishnabai. Of particular concern are the lands under the jurisdiction of the Wendaban Stewardship Authority. It's recommended, therefore, that those wishing to explore the Obabika Lake old growth pine stand get permission from the Wendaban Stewardship Authority, c/o Mary Laronde, Stewardship Director, Teme-Augama Anishnabai, Bear Island, Lake Temagami, Ont. POH 1CO.

Temagami Region East

These three stands can be most easily reached by starting a canoe trip from the western-most portion of Snake Island Lake. To get to this starting point, follow the gravel road from the Temagami train station east for approximately 650 metres. Northland Paradise Lodge is located at the end of this road.

From the lodge, the Snake Island Lake Stand (#9) can be reached by canoe within an hour or two under calm conditions, and It is possible to explore the stand and return to the access point in a single day. This stand borders the shoreline of the lake, which in places is very steep. There is more red pine than white pine in the stand and the main associates are conifers - species such as black spruce, balsam fir and white cedar. An extensive trail system now explores the stand, and an accompanying guide book explains the history and ecology of the area.

The Blueberry Lake Old Growth stands, located at the far east end of Cassels lake can be reached in a few hours by canoe. There is a good campsite near the portage on Cassels, and other campsites on Blueberry Lake. A diversity of old growth stands are found here, including red and white pine, yellow birch and cedar, and poplar forest. Temagami's newest interpretive trails are found here. For more information consult the Guide to the Blueberry Lake Ecology Trails.

To reach the Boulton Lake Stand (#7) and the Rabbit Lake Island Stand (#8) requires more than a day's travel. The Boulton Lake Stand is dominated by equal amounts of white and red pine, while the Rabbit Lake Island Stand is dominated by white pine. There are campsites near both stands.

Temagami Region Central

Canoe trips to see these old-growth stands should start from the Central Lake Temagami Access Point road (formerly the Temagami Mine Road), which runs west from Hwy. 11 about 6.5 km south of the town of Temagami. This gravel road is about 18 km long and can be very rough. There is a public boat launch and a large parking area at the end of the road. As a day trip, the most feasible stand to explore from this access point is the Temagami Island Stand.

Temagami Island Stand (#13)

The old-growth pine stand located at the north end of Temagami Island is one of the most spectacular and ecologically significant in all of Canada. It is less than one kilometre directly northwest across the lake from the Central Lake access point. The Temagami Island Trail Guide (published by Earthroots Coalition) is an excellent reference for use while exploring this stand.

There are numerous large old pines in the island stand and the diversity of forest habitats and plant species found here is high. This is one of only a handful of pine stands in Ontario that has been the subject of a fair number of ecological studies. White pine outnumbers red pine in the stand by a factor of about four-to-one, while the variety of habitats found within the stand also support a number of other tree species, including yellow birch and sugar maple (these hardwoods are actually more typical of forested areas further south, e.g. western Algonquin Park). White's survey of 1Y90 found four regionally significant plant species -striped maple, white baneberry, daisyleaf grape fern and leathery grape fern - and one locally significant plant species smaller enchanters nightshade - in the stand.

Young white-pine regeneration is abundant in the stand, but tree& in the 50- to 100-year-old age range are uncommon. A period without any surface fires, needed to expose the mineral soil critical to seed germination and seedling establishment, may be primarily responsible for this age gap. Regeneration of red pine in the stand is even poorer, reflecting the species' even more specialized set of regeneration criteria.

Obabika Lake Stand (#15)

The Obabika Stand is the largest stand of its kind in Canada, east of Sudbury, Ont. It is globally significant and also has some of Temagami's finest scenery. To get to the stand by canoe, either of two access points can be used. From the Central Lake Temagami Access Point, follow the route that goes northwest past Spawning Bay and Kokoka Bay to the northwest arm of Lake Temagami (see Canoeing in the Temagami District map). Continue down the northwest arm to the end of Obabika Inlet where there is a 940~rnetre portage leading to Obabika Lake. From the end of the portage, a two- or three-hour paddle under calm conditions is required to each the stand, located at the north end of the lake.

An alternative access point is located at the south end of Obabika Lake. To reach it, take Hwy. 64 north from Sturgeon Falls (on Hwy. 17) or Hwy. 64 south from Marten River (on Hwy. 11) to Field, At Field, take Hwy. 539 north to Hwy. ~05 and follow the signs to Obabika Lake Lodge.. (Hwy. 805 is a gravel road and is very rough in places, particularly for the last lOkm.) A public boat launch and small parking area are located a few hundred metres to the east of the lodge. (The boat launch is approximately 73 kin from the town of Field.)

From here, a paddle of approximately 21 kin is required to reach the old-growth pine stand at the north end of the lake. Be cautious on Obabika Lake - its waters can be extremely rough when winds are strong. Take three or more days to do this canoe trip, in order to have time to spend at least one full day exploring the Obabika old-growth stand. The Obabika Lake Trail Guide (published by Earthroots Coalition) is a useful reference for exploring this stand and its extensive trail system.

Along with the Temagami Island Stand, the Obabika Lake Stand is one of the most intensively studied old-growth pine stands in Ontario. Of all the old-growth pine stands in Temagami, it has the greatest variety of habitats and thus a high diversity of plant species and vegetation types. The primary reason for this diversity of habitats is the rugged topography of the area: A number of north-south oriented ridges and escarpments, for example, dominate in the northern -and largest -section of the stand. Thin, dry soils, open forest canopies and high fire frequencies are common on the hilltops and ridge tops. Valleys, on the other hand, are generally characterized by moist soils, dense forest canopies and low fire frequencies. In some valleys, wetland plants such as alder dominate, Generally, the density of white and red pine increases up-slope from the valleys to ridge and hilltops in this stand.

White's survey of 1990 found nine regionally significant plant species - dwarf mistletoe, virgin's bower, Juncus militaris (rush), round-leaved orchid, smooth blackberry, water dock, marsh fern, painted trillium and Vaccinium angustifolium var. nigrum - and seven locally significant plant species - water plantain, Canada water weed, dwarf St. John's Wort, monkey flower, large-leaved pondweed, three-toothed cinquefoil and twistedstalk - in this stand.

Relative to all other old-growth pine stands in Ontario that have been studied, the Obabika Stand is unique in that it has a very healthy white pine population -meaning that all ages from one year to 370 years are represented by numerous individuals. This tells us that the stand is most likely large enough, and functioning naturally enough to sustain its old-growth white pine condition well into the future. How. ever, the same cannot be said for red pine in this stand or in most other old-growth pine stands in Temagami.

Other important natural features in and around this stand include extensive cliff and talus slope communities, cold seepage springs, bog communities, open-water marshes, Silty Shoreline communities, floodplain meadows and wetlands, and a small area of old-growth white cedar-black ash floodplain forest.

Other Stands

An overnight trip is recommended for exploring the Cross Bay Stand (#10), the Voght Island Stand f#14), the Narrows Island Stand (#11) and the Witch Bay Stand (#12). Campsites are located close to all of these stands and their boundaries border the lakeshore, making access easy. There are no public trails in any of these four Stands which means bushwhacking is required to explore them.

Temagami Region West

Both the Florence Lake Stand (#16) and the Florence River Stand (#17) are located in the Lady Evelyn Smoothwater Wilderness Park. These are the only known old-growth white pine stands remaining in the park, which was heavily logged prior to its designation in 1983.

There are a variety of routes that can be used to get to the Florence stands. The quickest and most direct way is to charter a float plane (from Temagami, North Bay, Elk Lake or Sudbury) and get dropped off with gear (including canoes) on Florence Lake. The plane could return for a pickup at a pre-arranged time and place or you could paddle out to a pickup point and meet or retrieve a vehicle. The issue of access to this wilderness park is still being addressed through the park management planning process. Therefore, pilots wishing to land on Florence Lake or other lakes in Lady Evelyn Smoothwater Wilderness Park must obtain permission from the Ministry of Natural Resources District Office in Temagami.

The quickest overland access to Florence Lake is via the Deep Lake Road which runs north-south through the middle of the park. To reach it, take Hwy. 11 to the intersection with Route 65 near New Liskeard. Take Route 65 west to Elk Lake and then pick up Route 560 west. At Longpoint Lake, go south on the gravel road to Beauty Lake (also known as Isabel Lake) at which point the road splits. Take the road to the left which goes south to Gamble Lake (22 km south of Longpoint Lake) and eventually to the Lady Evelyn River (30 ken south of Longpoint Lake). The road comes within 125 metres of the river. Before June 15th and after September 15tb it is possible to drive beyond the gate at this point to the South Lady Evelyn River. The road is rough, however, so you might want to choose a point further north on this road (Beauty Lake, Gamble Lake) from which to start this trip.

From the gate at the Lady Evelyn River, paddle downstream to the confluence with the South Lady Evelyn River. Paddle up the south branch (west) to Duff Lake and eventually to the Florence River, which flows out of Florence Lake. Then paddle up the Florence River (south) to Florence Lake. Florence Lake is very isolated - this trip is recommended for experienced canoeists only. Set aside at least three to four days for the trip.

Back to Top

NORTH-CENTRAL ONTARIO

The three areas described in this section are not as well known as Algonquin, Transform and Quetico, but their ancient forests are equally valuable and impressive. However, none of these three areas are legally protected.

Back to Top

Spanish River (#18)

The old-growth white and red pine stands located on the west side of the Spanish River between the mouth of the Agnes River and the mouth of Acheson Lake Creek are not as old nor as dense as some other areas, such as that around Bark Lake. However, the site of this ancient-forest area - approximately 6,000 ha (part of a greater area totalling approximately 40,000 hectares of ancient forest) - is rivaled only by the Algoma Highlands.

Thirty to 40 percent of the area is dominated by old-growth white and red pine that range in age from 120 to 145 years. The closeness in age of the stands in this area indicates that they may have regenerated after a major fire in the late 1800s. Other dominant tree species in the area include white birch, poplar, white spruce, black spruce and jack pine. Small amounts of sugar maple and yellow birch are also present.

The best way to reach these stands is by canoe along the Spanish River. Two sources of canoe route information for this area that should be consulted are: Canoe Routes of Ontario (see route #62); and the Ministry of Natural Resources District Office at Espanola. In addition, the Cartier 1:50,000 topographical map and the Sudbury 1:250,000 topographical map should be acquired for this trip.

The trip can be started at any access point on the Spanish River north of the ancient-forest location, but the closest point to start from is called "the Elbow." To reach this point by car, take Route 144 to Windy Lake Provincial Park. From there, travel west on the gravel road that borders the northwest section of the park. Follow signs to Windy Lake and / or Northern Heritage Paddling Co. At the north end of Fox, Lake (approximately 25 kin west of Route 144), go right on the gravel road to the north. From this turn-off, the Elbow is approximately 2.5 kin. Do not attempt to drive this route without careful study and use of the two topographic maps for this area.

The following is an excerpt from the MNR's description of this portion of the Spanish River Canoe Route:

"At the Elbow, two old camps are located on the south side; these camps are in poor condition but a tent site is available here. There is also a gravel road from the campsite that runs south to Macauley Lake and Fox Lake Lodge (approximately two miles away). From the Elbow to the Graveyard Rapids, there is fast water. The Graveyard Rapids are DANGEROUS and NOT NAVIGABLE. There is a portage on the north side beginning 600 feet above the rapids; approximate length of this portage is one mile long. At the mouth of the Agnes River, there is another portage on the south side of the rapids. This portage is again approximately one mile long. After this last portage, the river is navigable, but fast, shallow water and rapids are present in some sections. Approximately one-half mile below Acheson Lake Creek, there is a good campsite."

The ancient pine stands can be reached from the west river bank anywhere between the month of the Agnes River and Acheson Lake Creek. There are no trails in this area, so a map and compass are required. Little is known about the exact location of the ancient pine stands that are scattered throughout the area. More information about exploring the many old growth pine stands around the spanish river can be found in the exploration report Paddling the Lower Spanish Forest

For all practical purposes, this is a one-way trip, so it will be necessary to have a vehicle waiting at some point downstream from the starting point. If your starting point is the Elbow, only a few days are required to get to and explore this ancient forest area.

Back to Top

Bark Lake (#19)

The old-growth white and red pine stands in this area are located on the east side of the lower portion of Bark Lake. White pine is more abundant than red pine and old pine-tree density is among the highest of the stands described in this guidebook. Other common stands in this ancient-forest area are those dominated by black spruce on the lower, wetter sites and white birch and jack pine an the upland sites. Bald eagles, an endangered species in Ontario, have been seen in this area.

Bark Lake is located in the southern portion of the Mississagi Provincial Waterway Park. Information on this park and canoe routes can be obtained from the Ministry of Natural Resources District Office in Blind River. This information is essential for reaching the stand by canoe, which will take paddlers several days. A much faster way of reaching the area is by float plane, which can drop travellers only metres from the shoreline of the stand. The 1:50,000 Mozhabong Lake topographical map covers the ancient forest area. Campsites are available on Bark Lake.

Back to Top

Algoma Highlands (#20)

This ancient-forest area located between and to the east of Galloway and Quinn Lakes is the largest complex of old-growth stands described in this guidebook. The old~growth white pine stands (approximately 2,000 ha of the 6,000 he total) included in this complex are composed mainly of sugar maple and yellow birch growing in association with white pine and the occasional red pine, which often tower above the hardwood canopy.

As stated earlier, this forest community type is the rarest of all the major old-growth white pine community types and generally has the lowest white pine density. In addition, work done by the Wildlands League indicates that this old-growth stand complex is located in an ecological site district that currently contains virtually no legally protected reserves, making this complex a logical candidate for future legal protection. The provincially significant great grey owl is know to inhabit the area.

This area is the only one described in this guidebook that has not been officially designated as a recreation route or area, although government land-use plans do recognize its recreational potential. For this reason, there is no specific information regarding canoe routes or campsites available.

The Blind River and Chapleau 1:250,000 scale topographic maps show the road system leading to the stand. Take Route 129 to the gravel road that goes west approximately five kin south of where Route 129 crosses the Mississagi River. The Welcome Lake 1:50,000 scale topographical map should be used to pick up the route from here (the route runs just north of Saymo Lake starting in the southeast corner of the map). The gravel road continues west and eventually ends on the Welcome Lake map at the south end of Hanes Lake (located in the middle of Gapp Township). The majority of the ancient-forest area is located within Wlasy and Schembri Townships. The Bulley Lake 1:50,000 topographical map covers the portion of Schembri Township that is missing from the Welcome Lake map.

Continue north on the road that runs close to the south east of Hanes Lake. This is called the Ranger North Road. Quinn Lake is located approximately six kin north of where the road crosses Hanes Creek, The old-growth pine forest is located on the east side of Quinn Lake -it can be easily reached with a canoe. To get to Galloway Lake, continue north, taking the road that branches to the right about eight kin north of Hanes Creek. About 16 km north of Hanes Creek, Galloway Lake comes within view from the road. At this point the view is from east to west across the lake and b ere the m ajo ri ty of the at d-growth pine Ste nd is located to the east of the road. Since this Stand can be reached by road, only a few travel days are required. Contact the Ministry of Natural Resources District Office in Sault Ste. Marie to obtain current information and additional advice on access.

Back to Top

QUETICO PROVINCIAL PARK

Quetico is approximately 465,000 he in size and is located in the northwest section of Ontario's Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Forest Region. It was first designated a provincial park in 1913 after logging had begun around 1900, Logging was banned from Quetico in 1971 when it was designated a "wilderness park." White pine dominates in only three percent of Quetico's forests and red pine in only 4.5 percent. Most of Quetico's white and red pine forests are located along and close to the shorelines of lakes, which makes for relatively easy access to these stands. At present, very little is known about the nature of Quetico's old growth white and red pine stands, all of which are legally protected.

Quetico is located approximately 140 ken west of Thunder Bay, south of Hwy, 11. Two points along the north boundary of the park can be reached by car: The park headquarters are located at Nym Lake; the Dawson Trail Campground is located at French Lake and has car camping sites and swimming beaches. Both points can be used to start canoe trips with the goal of exploring Quetico's ancient pine stands. Campsites are available on most lakes throughout the park.

A park permit is required by all users of Quetico and can be purchased at both French Lake and Nym Lake. Camping permits are also available for advance reservations from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Atikokan, Ont. POT 1CO. A Quetico, Provincial Park Map ,should be used in conjunction with this guidebook to locate Quetico's old-growth white and red pine forests. The map is published by The Quetico Foundation (Suite 1301, 170 University Ave., Toronto, Ont. M5H 3B5)and is also available from Irwin Publishing Inc. (180 West Beaver Creek Road, Richmond Hill, Ont. L4B 1134). Bookstores can also order the map

The Pines (#21)

The Pines is a very small stand of nearly 100 percent old-growth red pine. It is included in this guidebook because it is so close to the French Lake access point that it can easily be visited as part of a day trip by canoe from the French Lake campground. The oldest trees in the stand or, around 250 years old. Access is easy as the stand borders the lake and the understorey is generally open and easy to walk through.

Quetico Park North

Three to four days should be set aside for a round trip to this area, including one to two days for exploration.

The stand at the south end of Dore Lake (#22) is a mixture of white and red pine. The portage between Dore and Twin lakes runs along the western boundary of the stand and makes an excellent starting point for an exploration of it.

The stand on the east side of Quinn Lake (#26) is dominated by white pine, but has a significant red pine component. It is easily reached from the shoreline of the lake.

Two stands are located at the east end of Elizabeth Lake: The stand along the north shoreline (#23) has slightly more red than white pine; the stand on the south side (#24) is separated from the shoreline by a narrow band of white birch and the old-growth stand itself is dominated by white pine. The eastern end of the stand has higher white pine densities and older trees. The stand located at the east end of Halliday Lake (#25) is dominated by roughly equal amounts of white and red pine. The stand is not contiguous with the shoreline of the lake, thus a short stretch of bushwacking is required to reach it.

At the east end of Sturgeon Lake(#28) along the north shore is an ancient pine stand dominated by white and red pine in almost equal amounts. Some trees are as much as 200 years old.

The stand located along the northwestern shore of Ram Lake (027) is dominated by white pine with a lesser amount of red pine. It is quite accessible and is one Of the larger stands in Quetico described in this guidebook.

Quetico Park Central

The two old-growth red pine stands on Chatterton Lake are located on the east side of the southern portion of the lake. Red pine in the northern stand (#31) grows in association with other tree species such as white spruce, black spruce and balsam fi,, whereas the southern stand (#32) is Composed almost exclusively of Red pine.

The Metacryst Lake Stand (#34) is dominated by white pine with a high sub-dominant concentration of jack pine. Much of the stand borders the lakeshore, making access easy.

Both the Camel Lake East Stand (#29) and the Camel Lake North Stand (#30) are dominated by red pine with a significant component of white pine. The pines in these stands are some of the oldest in the park. Access to the stands is easy as their boundaries for the most part are contiguous with the lakeshore.

The old-growth stand at Hoare Lake (#33) is dominated by white pine with a significant sub-component of red pine and balsam fir. This stand borders the entire southern shoreline of Hoare Lake.

Allowing a few days for exploration, allocate five to seven days for a trip to this area.

Quetico Park South

The ancient-forest stands at McNiece Lake (#35) are dominated by white pine, although some portions also have high densities of old red pine. Additional old-growth white and red pine stands are located in the area between McNiece Lake and Ptolemy Lake to the northeast. These stands are some of the most impressive of this type in the park. The shortest route to McNiece Lake begins at French Lake then runs through Pickerel Lake, Bisk Lake, Beg Lake, Bud Lake, Fern Lake, Alice Lake, Shelly Lake, Kahshahpiwi Creek, Cairn Lake, Keefer Lake and Kahshabpiwi Lake to McNiece Lake. Take seven to nine days for this trip.

Back to Top

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Aird, P. L. 1985. In Praise of Pine: The Eastern White Pine and Red Pine Timber Harvest from Ontario's Crown Forest. Canadian Forestry Service, Petawawa National Forestry Institute, Report No. PI-X.52, Chalk River, Ontario. 23 pp.

Cundiff,B. 1989. "New IdeasAbout Old-Growth."Seasons 29 (441-35)

Earthrouts Coalition. 1991. Obabika Lake Trail Guide. Earthroots Coalition, 401 Richmond Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5V 3AS. 22 pp.

Earthroots Coalition. 1991. Temagami Island Trail Guide. Earthroots Coalition, 401 Richmond Street West, Toronto, OntarioM5V3A8. l8pp.

Hammond,H. 1991. Seeing the Forest Among the Trees. Polestar Press Ltd., Vancouver, B.C. 309 pp.

Hosie,R.C. 1990. Native Trees of Canada. Fitzhenry& Whiteside Ltd., Markham, Ontario. 380 pp.

Hummel, M. (editor). 1989. Endangered Spaces: The Future for Canada's Wilderness. KeyPorterBooks, Toronto, Ontario. pp.267-274.

Labatt, L. and B. Litteljobn (editors). 1992. Islands of Hope: Ontario's Parks and Wilderness. Firefly Books Ltd., Willowdale, Ontario. 287pp.

Maser, C. 1988. The Redesigned Forest. R.& E. Miles, San Pedro, California. 234 pp.

Munro, D. A, and M. W, Holdgate. 1991. Caring for the Earth: A Strategy for Sustainable Living. IUCN/UNEP/WWF, Gland, Switzerland. 228 pp.

Norse, E. A. 1990. Ancient Forests of the Pacific Northwest. Island Press, Covelo, California. 327 pp,

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1991. Sustainable Forestry: What is it? What's it all about? Queen's Printer for Ontario, Toronto, Ontario. (pamphlet).

Society of American Foresters. 1984. Scheduling the harvest of old~ growth. SAF, Washington, D.C. 44 pp.

Theberge, J. B. (editor), 1989. Legacy: The Natural History of Ontario. McClelland & Stewart Inc., Toronto, Ontario. 397 pp.

White, D. J. 1990. An Assessment of Representative and Special Life Science Resource Features of the Temagami Planning Area. Consulting Report prepared for the Ministry of Natural Resources, Sudbury and Temagarm Districts. 252 pp.

Wilson, H. 1989. Temagami Canoe Routes. Northern Concepts, P.O. Box 100, Temagarni, Ontario. 144 pp.

Back to Top

CAMPING SUGGESTIONS