Citizens from Across Ontario Gather in Temagami's Wilderness to Celebrate the Changing of the Seasons

(Obabika Lake, Temagami).  Today a group of 80 people, standing in solidarity for the permanent protection of Temagami's ancient pine forests, gathered in the wilderness to celebrate the fall equinox.  The annual event was hosted by First Nations Elder Alex Mathias on his family's traditional land and included a ceremony, a group meal and guided hikes on the old-growth trails.

"The Changing of the Seasons ceremony is about giving thanks for everything the Earth provides.  Every year I invite others to join me in recognizing the importance of our ties to the land", explains Mathias.  "The ceremonial site is located in a very special place, one of the last stands of ancient red and white pine", Mathias adds.

Temagami is home to half of the world's remaining stands of endangered ancient red and white pine forests, and contains 4,700 kilometers of First Nations canoe routes and trails that have been used in the region for thousands of years.



The next 10 year forest management plan for Temagami was recently approved and key areas, like the Spirit Forest where the gathering took place, are currently under threat from logging.  During the gathering many participants hiked to Spirit Rock, an ancient rock formation of great cultural and spiritual significance.  A large cutblock adjacent to the site has been slated for logging under the new plan despite its proximity to this fragile area.

Over 300 activists, including former Premier of Ontario Bob Rae, were arrested for protesting proposed logging operations in Temagami during the late 1980s.

"This year's gathering is particularly important because it marks the 20th anniversary of the Red Squirrel Road blockade.  The public outcry during that time played a key role in achieving permanent protection of a significant amount of old-growth red and white pine in the region," explains Amber Ellis, Executive Director of the environmental group Earthroots.  "The roots of our organization are tied to the fight to save Temagami's ancient forests and we continue to participate in the gatherings to show our on-going support for increased protection of this irreplaceable ecosystem."  

Participants had a unique opportunity to talk with activists about the current threats facing the area and to explore the ancient pine forests.  "We want as many people as possible to experience the beauty and mystique of Temagami first hand in order to make a personal connection with what's at stake here," says Ellis.

 



-30-



For more information please contact Earthroots' Northern Ontario Campaigner Carly Armstrong, at 705-856-0084 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.