Ontario's Ring of Fire

Discussion in 'Canada' started by John F, Mar 10, 2020.

  1. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    In another thread planning a ride up past Pickle Lake Ontario and around Lake Nipigon (yes, I know over the top is probably out of the question) I was made aware of a mining development in northern Ontario:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_of_Fire_(Northern_Ontario)

    It seems that they're planning an all-weather gravel road to service this mining project, as well as to connect a bunch of First Nations communities up that way. From what I can glean from the web, the mine will be serviced by a rail link from Aroland and an all-weather gravel road from Route 599 about 40 miles north of Pickle Lake. Also planned are branches to the First nations communities of Eabametoong, Neskantaga, Marten Falls, and Webequie. One map even shows a road link to Kingfisher Lake 110 miles north of Pickle Lake. Some planning maps also show another all-weather gravel road alongside the planned rail line down to Aroland. This would open up a pretty awesome link over the top of Lake Nipigon, about 160 miles from Route 599 to the mine, another 220 miles from the mine to Route 11 east of Lake Nipigon, not to mention all the side roads (and all the logging roads, too).

    Best I can tell, a supply road between the mine near McFaulds Lake and the First Nations community of Webequie is pretty much a done deal (unknown if construction has started yet), and the Province of Ontario has agreed to move forward with a road linking this supply road to the First Nations community of Marten Falls. I can't tell what the timeline is for this, or for connecting to the other First nations communities or to the outside world.

    If anybody has any more information on the status of these roads, such as approval status, construction/opening timelines, etc., it would be greatly appreciated. This area is on the ragged edge of what I can manage from New England during a one-week vacation. After a few more years exploring Quebec I'm going to have to turn my attention further west. (And even further west than Ontario is going to have to wait until retirement.)
    #1
  2. fredgreen

    fredgreen let's take it apart....

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    You should turn your attention east to Newfoundland. There are new "Resource Roads" as they are called all across Newfoundland now. They were built as part of the Muskrat Falls energy project, opening up a lot of backcountry. Newfoundland is simply stunning, and an easy ride out of New England.
    #2
  3. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    I did the TLH in 2016 and was blocked by snow up the Esker Road, so I *will* be going back. I also have to ride the Orma Lake Road while I'm up there. And I will definitely check out any new roads that fall out of the Muskrat Falls project. I saw some talk a while back on some trails along a power line between Muskrat and the straits. Any maps would be greatly appreciated. I've got plenty of riding out this way, and it's going to be years before any of these Ring of Fire roads are rideable. I just thought I'd start collecting information.
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  4. fredgreen

    fredgreen let's take it apart....

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    I did 6 years in Winnipeg with the Air Force and spent a lot of my spare time in Eastern Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario. There wasn't much available for motorcycle, but I mountain Biked all over abandoned mine roads and logging roads. incredibly remote, but the scenery and fishing were spectacular. I've attached a link to a site built by a fellow bluenoser to chronicle his ATV trips to Newfoundland. I've ridden a lot of the trails and it never gets old. His map is a quite a piece of workmanship.
    https://www.crossingnewfoundlandbyatv.com/gps-maps
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  5. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    prospectiong in the Hudson Bay Lowlands, including the area now known as the Ring of Fire, has been ongoing for a century. there wasn't much publicity about various ventures beyond the stake holders, but now that various mineral deposits have proven viable, the mine owners have gotten tired of the expense of flying everything in, including heavy equipment and fuel. the all season road network into the area has been negotiated off and on for decades, it will costly, including some good sized bridges.

    from the area know as the Little North, my friend Chuck recording UTMs in the logbook and our mapsets. we kept two sets of records which had to be kept updated and in sync. about 25 miles north of this location we expectantly came upon a prospector camp, unoccupied, but only conveniently accessed by float plane. the site was complete with core sample racks, and i don't envy them the effort it would take to transport a portable core drill through the bush. we were collecting data for a project that took us up to the Albany River, then east, before turning back south. when i got back, i checked with another guy in reference to the prospecting, and he sent me a link to mineral claims in the area. sure enough, there were claims which completely blanketed the entire area even though way out in the bush, roadless and off the grid, nothing even close.

    [​IMG]

    lots of bushwhacking, there was a trail here, it just hadn't been used for about 100 years.

    [​IMG]
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  6. fredgreen

    fredgreen let's take it apart....

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    Hey there young fella! Long time, no see. When I used to mountain bike those trails and prospecting roads I used to find racks of core samples at the least likely places. I used to wonder how much work it must have been drilling them out and stacking them. I’m sure most of the test drilling was for nought, so lots of work goes into finding those deposits.
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  7. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    hey, my man, i thought we were going to meet up again when i was supposed to deliver that new 12GS to St. John three years ago, but the owner had a neck injury and couldn't ride, so the trip got cancelled.

    we were traveling when Chuck asked "Can you get a compass reading?", when i checked my compass, it was jumping back and forth across a quadrant just like his...hmmmm, we must be over a big deposit of something. not long after, i pointed way out ahead of us and asked Chuck "What the heck am I seeing, it looks like something on top of a rock out in the water". we hadn't seen the prospector camp yet up in the trees, but we were looking at a satellite dish they had anchored to the rock. technology in the bush. i didn't see their drill rig, but knew what they looked like after seeing a few in the Yukon. maybe they flew it out. i thought that the area we were in was protected, as within a park boundary, but apparently not. as you say, a least likely place.

    earlier we had found survey ribbon which we thought marked a trail we were looking for, ended up wasting a bunch of time, and later decided that the ribbon must have marked a claim boundary.
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  8. fredgreen

    fredgreen let's take it apart....

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    It’s too bad that trip got cx’d. One of these days our paths will cross. Trying to get down to Ricks Rendezvous this year in NC.
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  9. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    mild winter in the Mid Atlantic, it's full on spring, you'll enjoy the ride, get out of the great white...plus fuel below $2USD/gal. currently $1.70 in the Shenandoah, $1.97 local.
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  10. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    Although it seems as though the Ring of Fire will be in operation tomorrow, the same has been said for the past several decades... So, do not hold your breath.

    If a road were to open up, it would likely be a direct route to and from the mine(s) and perhaps the First Nations... I'd guess this would be around a decade or more away.

    The roads here are very different than in the US. Not only is the population density extremely low compared to all the US, but the topography is very difficult and expensive to navigate due to the lakes, so there are not a lot of well used (or even semi-maintained) branch roads like those found in the western US. All the access in the far north of Ontario happens during the short winter road season, or by air. So, if you see settlements or roads and developments on the map, think winter road.
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  11. Smashy

    Smashy Been here awhile

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    Looks like they're serious this time, an agreement has been signed: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/province-signs-ring-of-fire-road-deal-1.5482883

    Although I'm still unclear on where this road will be. The map shows a connection going northeast from pickle lake up to the ring of fire area, then back down south to hwy 11.
    #11
  12. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    They're inching forward, year by year, that's for sure. But if you read the fine print, they are still years away from even breaking ground.
    #12