Published: January 3, 2018
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
Snowmobilers in the area will continue to have access to a popular fishing spot located in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park, after an Ontario Parks decision to extend temporary access to the zone.
The Knox Lake access zone was set to close at the end of 2017 as part of a 10 year phase-out of recreational snowmobiling within the park that was approved in 2007.
Park Superintendent Anne Young says the decision to issue the extension was based on internal review criteria and comments received through public meeting.
“This decision will not be reviewed at the end of the 10 year timeline and snowmobiling within the original park boundary (the portion that was regulated in 1983) will be prohibited as of 2027,” she added in a letter to park users on Nov. 29.
Over the past two years area snowmobilers have lobbied against the impending shutdown.
On Oct. 11 stakeholders gathered in Red Lake to review the options of either continuing with the phase out or extending the access for 10 years through Paishk Lake with no extension review at the end of the designated time. The more than 20 residents in attendance supported the extension.
Young says park regulations are still in effect and that permits are required to snowmachine in the temporary Knox Lake access zone as well as in the regulated park additions of Sydney/Rowdy Lake and Foley Lakes.
Woodland Caribou is a wilderness class park and encompasses 470,000 hectares of land to the west of Red Lake. The park was designated in 1983 and with expansions added in the 1990s and the 2000s.