First Nation aims to preserve camping hotspot
Trout Lake Conservation Association says property shouldn't be private property of the Algonquin
Posted: Jan 24, 2013 9:07 AM ET
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2013 9:00 AM ET
Two groups are fighting over the right to protect an island and popular camping destination near North Bay.
The Algonquins of Ontario have included Camp Island in a land claim to preserve the island from development. But a local group believes it would be safer in public trust.
Camp Island in Trout Lake was sold to the provincial government more than 40 years ago for only $5 — but under the condition the government preserves the land.
The Trout Lake Conservation Association argues the island was meant for public use and shouldn't be the private property of the Algonquins of Ontario.
"They may decide they want nobody on it,” group spokesperson Jean-Marc Filion said.
“They may decide they want no camping on it, no campfires."
The Algonquin say the island is being mismanaged by the crown, however, and the principle negotiator for the First Nations group said there are complaints of excessive partying.
"There may be heritage pieces and artifacts … that are part of that landscape,” Robert Potts said.
He noted the Algonquin are taking extra steps to make sure the public will be consulted as work on the land claim continues. Potts added it's likely the public would still be able to use the island.
"Once they sit down with the people I represent who are their neighbors — people living in their own communities — I think they are going to find that their interests are parallel,” Potts said.
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