Bushplanes fill the sky over Ignace

The Ignace Airways seaplane base was a busy place last Wednesday (June 13) as nine aircraft from across Northwestern Ontario arrived for a meeting with government officials on issues facing the remote tourism industry.
More than 80 tourism operators met with the ministries of Natural Resources, Tourism, and Northern Development and Mines to discuss issues affecting investment and growth in the tourism industry.
Participants exchanged ideas on how to maintain and enhance the quality of the fishery on remote lakes, as well as issues around Crown land leases and land use permits.
The meeting, organized by NOTO, the industry association of tourist operators, and the ministries of Natural Resources and Tourism, saw Sheila Larmer, director of the tourism branch of the Ministry of Tourism, Charlie Lauer, regional director of the MNR, and a variety of other regional government staff meet with representatives of the Northern Ontario tourism industry.
Tourist operators came from as far away as Sudbury to attend.
“We had some of the most experienced, progressive tourist operators in the industry in the room,” noted Doug Reynolds, executive director of NOTO.
“They really underscored how important it is for us to manage the quality of the fishery if we want tourism to grow and prosper,” he added.
In their opening remarks to the operators, Larmer outlined the economic significance of tourism to the region and province while Lauer underscored the importance of the MNR and tourism industry working together to enhance resource management.
When asked by one of the tourist operators how many businesses placed stricter conservation limits on guests than required by provincial fishing regulations, virtually every hand in the room went up.
Throughout the meeting, individual tourist operators frequently shared the practices they use to help enhance the fishery quality in the lakes where they operate, including self-imposed camp policies such as “conservation limits only,” “all trophies released,” and “no fish taken home.”
At the conclusion of the meeting, both NOTO and government reps indicated the ideas and recommendations discussed would be taken forward into further discussions both regionally and provincially.