Column: EACOM president wants continued government investment in forestry roads: Access roads provide lifeline to remote northeastern Ontario communities.

Author:Edgson, Kevin
Position:NEWS - Column
 
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Northern Ontario is known for its vast forests, many lakes, and outdoor adventure offerings.

Since 2005, the Ontario government has invested in the construction and maintenance of forest access roads across the province.

Distances are long in Ontario. Thunder Bay is 1,400 kilometres from Toronto. That is 15 hours of driving, and you are just starting to get remote.

The forest access roads program expands on the provincial highway network to strengthen multi-use public infrastructure. Thanks to this government infrastructure program, many roads, bridges, and water crossings are maintained, repaired, and replaced annually.

A well-known example is the Sultan Road, a 115-kilometre road connecting Chapleau to Sudbury that saves motorists hours off that east-west trip and provides land access to recreationists.

EACOM's Woodlands team makes sure to have it groomed each spring before the May long weekend traffic and looks after its year-long maintenance.

In remote areas, one road can also be the lifeline of a community--its only connection to its distant neighbours and a vital supply line of food, medication, and other goods.

Northwest of Sudbury, the 160-kilometre West Branch Road provides access to the Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation's Ritchie Falls Resort and many cottage owners.

The year 2018 marked Ontario as the hottest wildfire season in recent memory.

Forest access roads provided a critical link for emergency services during the fire known as North Bay 72, which grew to more than...

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