Some of Temagami’s most popular hiking trails are getting spruced up this spring thanks to a coalition of community groups. The White Bear Old-Growth Forest Trails start near the Temagami Fire Tower and loop through towering ancient pines on their way to Cassels Lake. As Temagami’s most accessible hiking area, the White Bear trails see over a thousand users each year. Plans include trail clearing, new signage, an information kiosk, repairs to an access dock, and a new map.
This effort is being organized by the Old Growth Trails Partnership, which consists of the Temagami Community Foundation, Temagami First Nation, Municipality of Temagami, Nastawgan Trails, Temagami Lakes Association, Temagami Chamber of Commerce, and the Friends of Temagami. The Partnership completed a similar project on Temagami Island last year.
“The White Bear trails are popular with tourists as well as locals, but they haven’t been getting the upkeep they need,” said Cathy Dwyer, Executive Director of the Temagami Community Foundation. “I’m so happy we’ve got a strong group that will look after Temagami’s trails for years to come.”
Highlights of the trails include white and red pines in excess of 200 years of age, rare orchid species, and a 3000 year-old portage trail, one of the oldest in Canada. Much of the White Bear forest is visible from the top of the Temagami Fire Tower.
Volunteers able to help between Wednesday May 27th and Sunday May 31st would be appreciated. For more information, call (705) 569-3737.
The White Bear Forest was named after Chief François White Bear, whose family territory surrounds the trails. In 1928, the area was licensed to the Gillies Bros. lumber company. However, the company decided to preserve the area for the enjoyment of their employees, whose townsite was across the lake. In the late 1980’s, the MNR drafted plans to log the forest, which was opposed by local residents. Today the area is protected within a Conservation Reserve.