Information for Off-Roaders
The governments of Ontario and Canada have negotiating with the Algonquins to settle a long standing land claim by transferring 117,500 acres of crown land to the Algonquin. Another 30,000 acres will become a new park. The transferred land will become private land and the Algonquin will be able to use it or develop it just as any private landowner can.
This is a multi-year plan with agreements that need to be ratified by the Algonquin and details yet to be determined. This is about 90% Ontario government involvement and 10% Canada involvement.
OF4WD attended information sessions held by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH), Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association (CSIA), Federation of Ontario Cottagers (FOCA) and public information sessions held by the Land Claim Negotiating team. We have called and met with members of the negotiating team, provided initial comments and requested detailed plans.
Immediate Impact in Eastern Ontario
There are parcels of land included in the Agreement-in-Principle that are adjacent to our trails:
- Gorge – Parcel 129R – detailed mapping indicates that the road into the Gorge is part of a road allowance that is excluded from the land claim agreement. The Gorge trails passes within about 50m of the land claim parcel at McNulty Lake
- Gorge – Parcel 315B – this is a small parcel claim (2-5 acres) the location of which has not yet been decided
- Rusty Bat – Parcel 315Q – this is a small parcel claim (2-5 acres) the location of which has not yet been decided. There is a good chance this will not be on the trail as there are minimum setbacks from trout lakes and rivers however there is pressure from competing mining claims in the area
- Norcan Lake Rd (Quinn) – Parcels 241 & 242 – detailed mapping shows that the road that is travelled from the Mt Chute Dam to the Quinn trail is on road allowances that are excluded from the land claim
As it currently stands it appears we have dodged a bullet by literally a few metres. We will continue to monitor the situation as closely as possible if and when the negotiating team makes more information available.
Longer Term Considerations
This agreement will take years to implement and will need to be monitored carefully for changes.
We remain extremely concerned regarding the increasing pressure on crown lands and the decrease of available crown lands for recreation of all kinds. There will be secondary effects, for example forestry will have a smaller pool of crown land on which to draw. There has been speculation that other land claimants may come forth and this agreement could be used as a precedent across all of Ontario. With decreasing crown land area there will be greater pressure to restrict motorized use.
In meeting with the negotiating team, it became apparent that our form of recreation is not recognized nor well understood. Without a recognized trail system and without land use permits that are difficult or impossible to receive there is no legal interest protecting our trails.
OF4WD is working for greater recognition and closer relations with other crown land users and motorized user groups.
What You Can Do
- Get informed starting with the links below. The Agreement-In-Principle is written in plain English and can be accessed in PDF format from the Aboriginal Affairs web site. The maps show what parcels will be transferred and each is identified with a number.
- Be a responsible trail user! Tread lightly! Play safe! Be respectful of other trail user groups. Do not give anyone any excuse to restrict access to motorized vehicles.
- Support OF4WD so they can continue to support the sport and our trails.
- Tell your friends and neighbours. If they use crown land they may be directly affected or suffer from secondary effects
- Call, email or write your ONTARIO political representatives to express your concerns about access to public lands. There is a list of contact numbers, email addresses and mailing addresses on the web site at www.algonquinlandclaim.ca
- Contact the Algonquin Land Claim Negotiating Team with your comments and concerns. Please let us know what you hear back.
Aboriginal Affairs Preliminary Draft Agreement-In-Principle and Maps: (read it!) http://www.aboriginalaffairs.gov.on.ca/english/negotiate/algonquin/algonquin.asp
Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH), Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association (CSIA), Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA) information web site and Questionnaire: http://www.algonquinlandclaim.ca (includes contact information for your political representatives)
Ontario Negotiating Team: firstname.lastname@example.org 613-732-8081 or 1-855-690-7070
Canada Negotiating Team: Revendication-Algonquins-OntarioClaim@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca 1-800-567-9604 (toll free)