The MNR's North Bay District Office has restricted access of normal highway vehicles, to the Lac La Cave stretch of the Ottawa River twice (in the fall of 1999 and again in the fall of 2010) pulling the bridges from the Timber Creek water crossing of Coxeys Landing Road (unorganized Township of Antoine) on a part of the 1885 Mattawan_Temiscamingue Colonization Road, which is an   " orphan Road " but is still a highway under law until it is formally closed under that Road Access ACT and the Coxeys Landing Road Complex (roadway, stream crossings, parking lot, boat launch and road) exists because it has had public monies spent on it as mitigation for the MNR's "cave - fourneau" Water Power Lease #25 -- this alone makes Coxeys Landing Road "a common road" under the Road Access Act and because of that I believe that the MNR's North Bay District Office should restore that access immediately! I can not see any reason why the Public at large or the other property stakeholders on Lac La Cave should lose their right to this 130 year old public access (road, bridge, parking lot, boat launch and dock) to the 50 kilometre stretch of Lac La Cave (widening of the Ottawa River) and it's excellent fishing (part of FMZ 12) and tremendous scenery, by far, the most beautiful to be found in the MNR's North Bay District!

All of the Ontario citizens or tourists that now use or will ever use this 50 kilometre stretch of the Ottawa River have the right to expect response to dire emergencies but how can that be done when there are no roads that could take EMS vehicles (especially an ambulance), no landing pads that can accommodate a helicopter and no large boats that can readily be deployed anywhere close to this water body and right now there isn't any place to put them in with the dam construction going on upstream and the access gated at the generating station downstream!

This is the situation that MNR's North Bay District Office created when in the fall of 2010 the MNR's North Bay District Office once again pulled the bridge from Coxeys Landing Road, denying the continual access to normal highway vehicles since 1885! Now if an EMS call of any kind is unsuccessful and there is a catastrophy there is the possiblity that will likely result in some very serious indefensible litigation to the Province because of that deliberate restriction of that 130 year vehicle access to the mid point of this waterway headpond!

Following is some and facts about the area of concern:
  1. In the late 1830's the lumber extraction trade began using a caribou migration/aboriginal trail system which had already existed and been constantly used for several thousand years.

    Click for a PDF

    • Confirmation of this can be found in various newspapers (Pembroke, Renfrew, Ottawa, Globe)
    • Peter Fancy's "Temiskaming Treasure Trails - vol 1";
    • G. L. Cassidy's - "Arrow North";
    • Joan Finnigan's - Laughing all the way home - p150";
        After Vic Doucette was interviewed by Joan Finnigan he gave a number of these signed books to my Dad, cottage neighbour Larry Walls, etc. Page 150 is his story of the area, particularly of this old roadway.
          "My grandmother was Bridget O'Donnell ... she was keeping a stopping place on what is Hwy 533 today." ... "There was no train then." ... "They were logging, drawing up hay and oats and foodstuff for the Hudson Bay Company and the lumber companies back of the Kippawa"
            (the HBC post was at the mouth of the Montreal River (over 100 miles north of Mattawa -- it wasn't until I visited the NAPL (Nationl Air Photo Library with their large stereoscopes) on June 2010that I realized that "back of Kippewa" meant a narrowing and crossing of the Ottawa at what was the foot of Seven League Lake we knew about the drowned one on the Ontario side but what was new that the old road (now trail) we followed to get to a couple of lakes to fish trout was actually the Beauchene/Kipewa road.)
          "She would feed the horses, board the men and keep them for so much a day." ...
          "There was 200 teams at a time on this road."
            If you read the Ottawa Valley logging histories this isn't at all uncommon in the fall and these teams with their loads (wagons and/or sleighs) had to cross the Jocko River at the farm or cross the Ottawa River at the foot of Seven League Lake (by ferry or ice bridge because there wasn't any other way to get to that part of Quebec.)

      Click to get a PDF

    1. Circa 1860 both Lower(Quebec) and Upper(Ontario) had pretty much run out of arable(farm) land and because it was traditional that the eldest son inherited the farm a great number of people who had been raised on farms and well suited to this were emigrating to the U.S.
    2. There was also the problem of which province was going to get parts of Ruperts land as HBC tenure was to be given up.
    3. In the early 1880's the CPR was installed and running so now the emigration from these two provinces grew by leaps and bounds as these people went west and still to the US - seeking jobs or their own farm land.
    4. To counteract this the Quebec Oblate Order started to petition for funds to build a rather weird transportation system consisting of 3 river steam boats, 4 portages on the Quebec side (prior to that they were all on the Ontario side) and a much bigger steam ship to ply Lake Temiskaming with the intention of settling the very rich farming lands of Quebec's Little Clay Belt. The Federal government financed this system with grants.
    5. Fearful of losing the very fertile farming lands of Ontario's Little Clay belt to Quebec the Ontario Government used that Caribou / Aboriginal / Lumber road and upgraded it to colonization road status so it could used by wagons and stage coaches. This went up to the foot of Seven League Lake and eliminated 3 steam boats and 3 portages downstream of 7 League Lake along with all the drudgery and tedious loading, carrying and unloading at each portage.
        Because it had been funded by the Federal Government the priests (though unhappy about it) had to accept paying passengers and cargo on the uppermost steam boat on Seven League Lake and then on the narrow gauge railway that had been installed around the 6 miles of the Long Sault Rapids which meant the could board the steam ships on Lake Temiskaming which could bring even further north (150 kilometres) where there was lots of prime farmland ready to be homesteaded.
      This soon ate into the Oblates ridership!
    6. and was the start of a "pissing" match between Ontario and the Quebec Oblate order and in 1887 they installed horse drawn tram ways on each of the 3 lower portages which carried luggage and cargo but the passengers still had to walk those portages along with loading and unloading.
    7. in 1889 Ontario countered this by extending that colonization road all the way up a point across from the steam ship docks along with a dock on the Ontario side.
    8. The Oblate Railway system of steam boats, tram ways and narrow gauge railways was in trouble.
    9. the number of steamships on Lake Temiskaming increased constantly because of the demand. Richard Tatley - "Northern Steamboats: p74-83
    10. I have been unable to find out how may homesteads were taken up by 1894 but my educated quess would be about 1,000.
    11. In 1894 the Oblates seemed to get the last laugh when they got funding from the Feds and convinced the CPR to bridge the Ottawa and build a railway line all the way to Lake Temiskaming.
    12. Ontario's road didn't carry much from the point on as it was far easier to use the CPR train.
        but it did continue to carry traffic (because in 1913 the Lake Temisckaming water control had roadway built into it that maintained vehicular traffic to Temiscaming and the rest of Quebec) ["Our Roots" - Temiscaminque Vol 1.] and that continued on until 1937 when Hwy 63 was constructed to those bridges - there must have been quite a demand for this to have been continued! Probably to compete with the CPR's monopoly on this region.

    In 1905 Ontario won this "pissing match" when the T&NO (Temiscaming & Northern Ontario) railway entered New Liskeard and proceeded northward. Just before that the Crown Land Commissioner) all of would have come in via the steam ship traffic on Lake Temiskaming.
    This Colonization Road is historically important because this route was used to settle Northern Ontario simply because there was no other way to get settlers into this region.
    Without this extended colonization road it is possible that there wouldn't be a Northern Ontario, quite probably it would simply be an extension of Quebec!

    The following map
      (taken from OBM data - no details of Quebec showing including the east half of the Ottawa River)
    gives an idea of what this area from Mattawa to Temiscaming, QC looked like:

    Click here to get PDF

    The initial 1885 stretch of this Mattawan - Temiscamingue Colonization Road went to the foot of Seven League Lake
    1. has been continually used to access this 26 kilometres of still water between the Long Sault rapids and the Mountain Rapids.
    2. because the boats of the Upper Ottawa Improvement Company were berthed there.
    3. It also provided access to other organizations - Wabe Maquaw Club, Highview Farm, Opeongo Lumber Mill, England's farm, Beauchene Club, Crest Club
    4. along with hundreds of other sportsman (hunters and fishers as this stretch of the Ottawa because of those rapids was, apparently fisherman's paradise!
    The following 1939 air photo shows the colonization road going the foot of Seven League Lake and on the Quebec shore the peninsula (Wabe Maquaw) and the "road to Kippewa." All outlined by a buffer of dashed yellow lines.
And then this 1885 stretch of the Mattawa-Temiscaminque colonization cum development road was again very heavily used during the 1948 to 1952 construction of the H.E.P.C. La Cave Generating Station which has the following quote:
    "Relocation of Railway
    Prior to the building of the Otto Holden station, a roadbed of the railway near the project was about three metres) above the river. As the flooded area extended to Lake Temiskaming, a diversion of approximately 61 km was required. Towering hills of gneiss and granite flanked the river on both sides and the relocating of this 61 km (38 miles) of line presented similar problems to those encountered by railway construction engineers on the north shore of Lake Superior. The job was carried out by Peacock and McQuigge Limited on the southern sections, and The Therrien Construction Limited on the northern end. Assistance was given by the Hydro construction crews."

    Within Quebec there was little to no vehicular access to this construction project in this entire particularly rocky, rugged and craggy stretch of railbed construction. This is important to note this because throughout the length of that project, that now drowned railroad still had to be kept in service for the trains, passengers, cargo to and from the various pulp and saw mills along with other organizations up as far away as Angeliers!

    From this clipping of Quebec's Legal Survey Map of Campeau Township you will notice that there is:
    1. at the end of 1885 Mattawa-Temiscaming Colonization Road and the foot of Seven League Lake there was a 200 metre narrowing of the Ottawa River between two riverine gravel bars and still water.
    2. both banks and the hills beyond were not as steep as the rest of the river upstream from Snake Creek
    3. Prior to this period the boat launch ramps were used for launching, loading and berthing the boats of the Upper Ottawa Improvement Company, the Opeongo Lumber Company and various other tourist camps and Fish & Game Clubs. The parking lot held the vehicles these people used.
      On the Quebec side there was Brooks Siding(CPR) and Wabi Maquaw (A Fish and Game Club cum Roman Catholic retreat with parking lots, boat launches and docks on either shore.)
    4. such a complex had to purchased, because it was to be drowned, it makes sense that during construction hat this area with it's buildings roads and other facilities were used as headquarters for the HEPC and construction crews in the relocation of 61 km. of the CPR railway away from the river, decommissioning of the old railway , clearing the trees, etc.
    5. and because both sides of the river had roads, parking lots, boat launches and docks the HEPC crews had to create new connecting roads, parking lots, boat launches, and docks and were to be replaced as mitigation under MNR's "cave-fourneu" Water Power lease #25) because of the drowning of the old facilities.
    6. the Wabe Maquaw fish and game lease was purchased by a John Coxey from Ohio and he also purchased the buildings bringing some of them up to where they are now across from the new Coxeys landing. For about 10 years this operated as Coxeys Tourist Camp - hence the name of the road eventually he turned this into a Fish and Game Club - my father was one of the member and eventually so was I and the rest of us. As the older ones started to fade we younger ones (not liking the idea of exclusive Fish & Game Clubs or Tourist Camps gave up the lease in exchange for leases of an acre around each of the cottages. In 1997 each family took advantage of the Quebec government's offer and purchased that land around each cottage meaning each family has full rights to those parcels including the same access to these parcels that was there at the time of purchase.

      All the above proves to me that these facilities, Coxeys Road and Landing in Ontario are still owned by the Ontario Government who have the responsibility for them ever though this government has never maintained the facilities as they should have.
        Over the last 50 years the maintenace of these facilities i.e. road, bridge (they built and paid for bridge in 2000, even though they encountered unnecessary draconian treatment in doing this) along with the parking lot; boat launch and dock.) All this has been done by members of the, now defunct Coxeys Fish and Game Club, the Jocko Hunt Club and the Antoine Club with their own labour and at their own expense. None of the other public users have ever assisted with this but just left a lot of garbage (which we cleaned up and disposed of.)
      The Ontario Government, particularly the MNR,
        has rewarded this volunteerism by it's citizens by crapping on these volunteers!
      when it should have lived up to it's own mandate and maintained this facility.

      It is time to do that now!

      The renaming of the Mattawa - Temiscamingue colonization road to Secondary Highwy 533
      • In 1953 the only access to Coxeys Landing was from Mattawa along the Mattawa-Temiscaminque colonization/development road that was improved by the La Cave dam construction.
      • in 1956 this road was renamed as Secondary Highway 533 up to what is now known as the Olrig road.
      • Even then the location survey crews of the DHO were defing trial lines to connect up with Highway 63 and Temiscamingue, Que.
      • In 1959 day labour construction was started at the east end of this new link by the DHO!
      • The overall goal was to connect up Secondary Highway with Highway 63 and thus reopen a highway route from Mattawa to Temiscaming, QC. or vice versa it was probably done for political reasons because the CIP pulp mill wanted connection to Montreal their headquarters in Canada.
      • This also was one of the first project I ever worked on in my tenure with the DHO so I can attest to this. To get to this project we would drive to Mattawa and then up the old colonization road until we reached the junction with the Consolidated Paper Road about 50 metres south of the current Timber Creek crossing (this also was the site of the headquarters and a substantial gravel deposit - i.e. esker) which was used to build the new alignment from Crooked Lake to the west end of Timber Lake over an older Consolidaed lumber road.

        My conclusion here is that because public monies have been spent on this portion too, the complete length of Coxeys Landing Road is a "common Road" under the Road Access and Public Lands Acts.

        As an LCC member, I was asked to participate on the Roads Committee (because of my knowledge about local roads gained by my 35 year tenure with the Northern Region of the MTO.) This was supposedly refining and defining the road values for the Nipissing Forest 2009 - 2019 FMP (Forest Management plan.) Right off the bat I was told to download the following Policy Directives on Roads - so I did to my laptop Curiously I never had to use them and I don't ever recall any reference to a "use management strategy" orally, printed or written during that exercise. Actually the first time I heard that phrase was when my character was being attacked in front of my peers at an LCC meeting on Feb 15, 2011!

        1. PL 10.00.00 - Crown Land Roads Manual Introduction and Context
          tip: select table of contents - for a quick path for Non-Forestry roads like Coxeys Landing Road.

        2. PL 10.01.00 - Use Management Strategies - Roads
          tip: select table of contents for a quick path for Non-Forestry roads like Coxeys Landing Road.

        3. PL 10.02.01 - Determining Road Responsibility
          tip: select table of contents for a quick path for Non-Forestry roads like Coxeys Landing Road.

      This has caused me to believe that the MNR's North Bay District Office ignored the MNR Policy because there is no NO "Use Management Strategy" for Coxeys Landing Road or for the Primary Roads (particularly Crocan Lake road, Sparks Lake road and Patois Road which had status I didn't agree with during the session) During the Public Information Centres of the first and second halves I queried this status and was completely and totally ignored (Another reason I resigned from the Nipissing Forest LCC.)
        to test this theory on May 14,2016 I checked the GIS Data for "Road 3484" (which is Coxeys Landing Road segment that encompasses the bridge site (NB3 00/01) and it has not been updated since 1998-04-28-00:00:00" and the following field is "verified". If there was a "Use Management Strategy" done it was kept hidden! My next test was to scan that phrase on the internet (no hits) then I tried "crown lands roads" and I got one hit ebr registry 010-5855
      Why would they not do that?
        To me, in re-reading this Road Access Manual (it never was produced which was promised in policy PL 10.00.00 page 1) it became very obvious that the MNR's North Bay District Office did not develop the mandatory Road Use Strategy that they should have! I believe that if they had done this and sought local public input things would have been very, very different.

        I can't help but think that the whole problem that the Lac La Cave property stakeholders, who paid for and erected the second bridge, out of their own pocket, along with public in general who have been denied access on a 130 year highway/common road to the Ottawa River was caused because the of the MNR's North Bay District Office simply didn't do their job and did not follow MNR policy.

    Here is copy of the map that covers the Ottawa shoreline within the region covered by the MNR's North Bay District Office. It was supposed to be a wild waterway park P131 designated by Lands for Life but they have ignored it and now it is simply a wannabe park. Is that just another exampls of the MNR's North Bay District Office ignorance or is there some other reason?

    click for a pdf

    Can anyone explain why out of the 115 kilometres of head pond shore line (of Lake Temiskaming, Lac La Cave and Holden Lake) that is in the MNR's North Bay District that there isn't even one Public Boat Launch?

    This does not compare very well with the MNR's Pemboke District that has 55 kilometres of head pond shore line and Lake Holden) and has, at least, 4 public boat Lauch facilities!

    I think that somebody should straighten the MNR's North Bay District Office out and get them to start paying some attention to the Citizens within their jurisdiction because they have been demonstrating some very draconian methods in dealing with them in the last 15 years while, all that time trying to take away public's access, from the water bodies and their Crown Lands - I understand this applies to all of Northern Ontario.

    I love this North Country primarily because of it waters and it's Crown Lands and refused to move my family into the Southern parts of Ontario because of the restrictive access to almost everything natural down there.

    I am always amazed that so many Southern Ontario residents come as far as they do to be on the Canadian Shield out of the cities, if only 3 to 5 days, if you exclude the travel time but I shouldn't be amazed because it must help these poor people's sanity too!

    Roy Summers
    121 Timmins Street,
    North Bay, ON. P1B 4K2
    (705) 474-4795